Only porn theater in Tohoku reopens after earthquake

Shukan Post July 22-29

Shukan Post July 22-29

There have been very few upbeat stories emerging from the Tohoku area following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11. However, weekly tabloid Shukan Post (July 22-29), happily reports that the region’s only porn theater, in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, reopened for business on June 20.

The two-screen Ishinomaki Nikkatsu Pearl Cinema has 260 seats and was heavily damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Yet in spite of resuming operations, it is not exactly business as usual.

A man in his 60s who visited the cinema early in July tells Shukan Post, “While I heard about the reopening from a friend, I came here to actually to confirm that as the schedule was not appearing in the newspaper. I was worried, but I am so delighted that it has reopened.”

According to the patron, the schedule typically appears three times a month in the local Ishinomaki Kahoku newspaper. However, no ad has appeared since the reopening. “The owner told me that ads were rejected,” the man says.

A person in the ad department at the Ishinomaki Kahohu explains, with a bit of sadness: “We are refraining from listing titles of such films. It is not appropriate to list them along with obituaries.”

The owner of the cinema is 84-year-old Tahei Kiyono, who handles the day-to-day operations entirely himself — from taking the tickets to the actual film projection. He has been placing ads in the paper for the last three decades. “I understand the situation,” says Kiyono. “The titles are too provocative. What are we showing now? ‘Beautiful Ass Ecstasy: The Pleasure Hole in the Afternoon 美尻エクスタシー 白昼の穴快楽’ and three others.”

There used to be five adult cinemas in Ishinomaki, but the Nikkatsu Pearl is the only one remaining. “When ‘roman porno’” — a genre of adult films made by the Nikkatsu studio between 1971 and 1988 that emphasized somewhat broad story lines to go with the erotic activities unfolding atop the tatami — “was in it’s golden era, most towns with commercial areas had adult cinemas,” Kiyono says. “Now this cinema is the only one left in Tohoku. I have a sense of duty to continue operating.”

The proprietor was at the cinema on March 11, when the tsunami sent mud flowing inside its doors. All the films stored on the first floor were completely destroyed. The projection machine on the second floor, however, was not damaged.

“I thought about closing the cinema,” he says. “But then I started to think about reopening and began cleaning up. Volunteers who were here helped me, too.”

When Nikkatsu shifted its focus to the roman porno genre in the early 1970s, the Nikkatsu Pearl converted its building from a single 400-seat theater to the current two-screen arrangement. Kiyono seems fond of those days, invoking the title of a famous Nikkatsu yakuza film “Otoko no Monsho,” from 1963 and starring actor Hideki Takahashi, to summarize his feelings for his work.

“It is a real ‘emblem of manhood,’” he says. (A.T.)

Source: “Kokoku kyohi ni mo megenai poruno eigakan ro-oonaa otoko no kunsho,” Shukan Post (July 22-29, page 144)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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Posted by on July 14, 2011. Filed under Japan Smut Portal,Yakuza. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One Response to Only porn theater in Tohoku reopens after earthquake

  1. Pingback: Osaka art-house theater under fire for 'roman porno' screenings | The Tokyo Reporter

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