Pink Japan Books

Japan Pink Books I

ARAKI by ARAKI

Araki by Araki
by Nobuyoshi Araki

Kodansha International

ISBN: 4-7700-2938-1
407 pp

Self-described “photo-maniac” and pink trade voyeur, Nobuyoshi Araki is modern Japan’s best-known photographer. This selection is an autobiographical recording of the artist’s career from 1963-2002. It chronicles in black-and-white and color the whims of the enfant terrible of the Japanese art scene — and the changes in Japan as well. Reviled by feminists for his frequent use of ropes and other implements to bind women, Araki remains unrepentant and upbeat. If that and his documentation of Japanese brothels is not your cup of tea, his lovely color shots of exotic flowers may be more appealing. They bring to mind some of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work. However, it is the recurring motifs of rope, lizard, yukata, tatami, Tokyo street scenes, and above all the ever-present Japanese female nude that appear most often in this book. Also, Araki provides commentary (“Notes of a Photomaniac”) on each picture, which has been translated into English.

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Sex Secrets of an American Geisha

Sex Secrets of an American Geisha
Sex Secrets of an American Geisha

by Py Kim Conant

Hunter House

ISBN: 0897934903
240 pp

Lucky Richard. That would be Richard the Husband and Bedmate of Author and Sex Expert Py Kim Conant.

Sex Secrets is part How to, part super market pop psychology. The book plugs itself as a “practical woman’s self-help book about discovering and experiencing your beauty, femininity, and sexuality while on a journey to love and marriage with a Good Man.”

I’m not sure how popular this would be among the chattering classes and in certain English Departments around the country, but Conant delivers what she promises: a roadmap for the single woman who wants to get married. Based on her own experiences — both sad and fulfilling — Conant tries not to replicate the Japanese geisha style and skill set in the US, but rather incorporate that which will succeed in an American setting.

From an overweight period in her 20s, during which she felt inadequate and not sexual, to an awakening in her mid-30s, Conant uses her knowledge in a way that is honest and open. The awakening was simple enough: she would have to become “attractive and feminine” in order to win in love. (I can hear the distinct sound of feminist hair being pulled out of feminist scalp in fury.)

And Conant herself admits as much: she does not aim to be politically but practically correct.

Conant begins with the basic premise that men and women are different, and that we should embrace that. In chapter two, she takes the reader on a guided tour of “self-love” sessions. She then outlines what exactly an “American Geisha” is. In chapter four, she advocates giving all credit for your orgasm to that simple sweaty creature gyrating on top of (behind, on the side, etc.) you. The next section is a primer on spraying — i.e., female ejaculation. And on through to weight control and marital happiness.

Perhaps Conant’s underlying point is that, in the battle of the sexes, we have forgotten what separates and what binds us, what makes us different and therefore attractive to each other.

And those are points worth remembering and repeating.

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Ero Samurai

Ero Samurai
by David D. Duff Jr.

iUniverse

ISBN: 0595374565
138 pp

The subtitle of this work just about says it all: “An Obsessed Man’s Loving Tribute to Japanese Women.”

Ex-Marine, former dope dealer, and current English-teaching, softball-playing (and apparently married) current long-time resident of Kyoto, David Duff has no fear. What many would say and do say among friends, perhaps at a bar, in private, he has immortalized with his tome Ero Samurai.

It is no secret that one of the reason many (men) find Japan attractive is because of the women. From the Dutch at Dejima down to Duff-san, many a Western man has found the long black hair, the brown skin, and oval eyes lovely.

It is also no secret among those long resident in Japan that Japanese women are by no means weak; outside of politics and business, much of Japanese life is controlled by women. “Elegant, ladylike, and imposing they are; obedient they aren’t,” notes Duff.

Duff then takes us on his personal journey — footnoted with Shinran and Heian Monogatari, James Michener and Boye de Mente, and countless others — from young grunt to middle-aged white man closing in on nirvana in modern-day Kyoto.

This book, however, would cause angry protests outside of its publisher’s offices were it published in any other country. For starters, women’s groups would decry it as sexist and paternalistic. In his list of 29 reasons why he loves Kyoto, #27: “Kyoto girls scream and holler joyously when you give them the big weenie.”

Worse, though, is the racism in the same list. Reading the book, one suspects: white guy of a certain age who is a little bit bitter about things in the US, maybe having trouble getting laid and making money, moves to Japan, and is now a “big man” teaching English and regaling co-eds with nonsense. In the same list, at the end of the book, those reasons become all too clear:

  • #8 “no black or hispanic gangbangers”;
  • #15 “Anglo-Saxons treated with respect.”

While both of these are true — trust me, there are no black gangbangers in Kyoto — they are breathtaking in their racism and underlying sense of superiority.

As a paean to Kyoto and its women, Duff has his points. A more clear eyed look, though, at Kyoto as a whole would find among other things: racism (towards Koreans and Burakumin and foreigners); concrete and telephone wires everywhere; a high percentage of elderly; a corrupt political culture; and, yes, many beautiful women.

And a more clear eyed look at Japanese women would discuss among other topics the prevalence of sexless marriages, the ubiquity of pornography, the sheer size of the sex industry — and, yes, the many attractive talented woman in Japan and Kyoto.

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Pheromone on the Street Corner

Pheromone on the Street Corner
by Yukio Yukimino

ISBN: 1590230078

Japanese adult graphic novel author, Yukio Yukimino is a well-known artist whose interests lie in creating incredibly unbelievably erotic material.

The material in his work includes S/M — “extremely tough love” is perhaps a nicer way of putting it — and is recommended for adults only.

Pheromone on the Street Corner is the latest by Yukimino in English. As in his other works, this book includes erotic short stories and the artist’s personal tips on voyeurism in Japan.

Pheromone also explores S&M and kinky public bathroom sex. Sex scenes are very frequent as the author has his characters engage in orgies, sex in public places, and kinky uses of bizarre objects.

Visually beautiful, this volume will appeal to a wide audience.

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Happy Mania, Book 1

Happy Mania
by Moyoko Anno

ISBN: 159182169X
192 pp

Happy Mania has an unusual take on romance. The main character, Shigeta, desires and is actively looking for a man who can both turn her on and do the dishes. The biggest obstacle to the above is staying “single” long enough to meet him — and dealing with her own insecurities.

Anno does the romance story, in the words of one reviewer, as an “action comic,” and what you get is a graphic novel that is much more involved than the usual chick fare. Shigeta is not a passive, doe-eyed dingbat so common in many Japanese manga. She fools around and keeps up a running commentary on this that is funny and insightful. She chooses men for the wrong reasons — and seems self-aware about it. One of her boyfriends, Takada, is little more than a nice piece. Another potential suitor may be The One–a passive, nice guy–but not just yet. A fun read.

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Pink Samurai: An Erotic Exploration of Japanese Society

Pink Samurai
by Nicholas Bornoff

ISBN: 0-586-20576-4
719 pp

This book could easily have been titled “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex In Japan, But Didn’t Know Where To Look,” as Bornoff, a journalist with 11 years experience in Japan, takes us on a tour of Japanese sexuality, both past and present, which leaves nary a door unopened or stone unturned. Going right back to the very beginning with Japan’s creation myths, on through the promiscuous Heian Period, on to the fabled “pleasure quarters” of Yoshiwara in Edo and right up to the contemporary scene, every period of Japanese history is covered to show the political, social, and religious factors that have contributed to the changing practices of, and attitudes towards, sex in Japan.

Marriage, romance, family relations, gender issues are all explored, as well as art, pornography and Japan’s huge pink (sex) industry (estimated to be worth 2.3 trillion yen annually). In the hands of anthropologists or other academics, even a subject as universally fascinating as sex can become dry, lifeless, and boring, but Bornoff manages to maintain pace and interest throughout the book while being very informative. The sections I found particularly interesting were on phallic symbols and fertility festivals, some of which are still maintained today, though on a much reduced scale than in former times, and the extensive coverage of Japanese “Strip Clubs” which bear a closer similarity to gynecological exams than to strip clubs in the west.

As well as being read as a broad study of sex, the book can also be read as a history of Japanese society using sexuality and the erotic as the narrative. The rendering of Japan’s creation myth being one of the most succinct I have read. Published in 1991, most of the research for the book was conducted during the 80’s, so the information and statistics about the laws relating to sex have been superceded somewhat by recent changes in the pornography and prostitution laws. Also recent phenomena such as the spread of Enjo Kosai (schoolgirl prostitution) are not covered, plus being a nation obsessed with quickly changing fashions and fads, coupled with the economic downturn of the 90’s, the sex industry has continued to invent novel ways to attract custom, but in essence the book is fundamentally up-to-date. If you need to have a grasp of Japanese society and history and you only have time to read one book, you could do much worse than this one.

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High School Ghosthustlers

High School Ghosthustlers

ISBN: B000056VZ1

This is one of the crazier live-action series to come out of Japan in recent years — and that is saying something.

High School Ghosthustlers is a weird combination of Ghostbusters (hence the allusion in the title) and much of the campy fare that rolls off the anime factory line in Japan.

The GhostHustlers are three killer (in every sense of the word) female students: super hot models Kyoko, Mayu, and Emi. They spend their school daze fighting off evil spirits. One day, however, the school is invaded by “Erotomaniac Spirits” that reduce the female student body into a panting, out of control libidinous frenzy.

For the guys at the school, life doesn’t get any better — gentlemen, start your engines. Our heroines, however, will do whatever it takes to save their school.

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Japan’s Sex Trade: A Journey Through Japan’s Erotic Subcultures

Japan's Sex Trade: A Journey Through Japan's Erotic Subcultures
by Peter Constantine

ISBN: 4-900-73700-3
207 pp

This book is about as subtle as its title. Japan’s Sex Trade is in essence a catalog of the amazing variety of services offered by Japan’s huge sex industry. Known variously as the “Pink Trade” or the “Ejaculation Industry”, the business of sex is Big Business in Japan, operating openly and shamelessly. How is this possible given that Japan has laws outlawing prostitution? The answer lies in the fact that all the prostitution law is concerned with is “genital to genital connection” which leaves anal sex, oral sex, and a host of other practices outside of the domain of the law. There are three basic types of businesses offering sexual services in Japan. Soaplands, Health Massage, and Pink Salon. Constantine delves into the history and development of each type of business, showing how competition, the pressures from changes in laws and their enforcement, and the insatiable desire of the Japanese consumer for the new, combine to create a seemingly endless variety of “products”. In fact, numerous magazines exist solely to keep customers informed of the very latest trends in this reputedly oldest profession in the world. Constantine also covers the gay sex trade and the burgeoning growth of S & M clubs and services, as well as a chapter on pornography that I found to be the most interesting and informative of all the chapters. Constantine came to this area of study from his previous work on Japanese street slang, which brings us to the meat of the book, where each section has a “dictionary” of the services offered. Those who enjoy euphemisms will revel in the terminology used to label what is, in essence, a limited number of acts. From ANARU ZEME (anal attack) to TEMAKI ZUSHI (hand rolled sushi) to ZENSHIN MITCHAKU (full-body adhesion) each service on the menu is graphically described with relevant pricing guidelines. A fascinating little book that is part history, part guide book, offering no psychology, anthropology, sociology, or any other -ology, but which is nevertheless educational and informative.

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Rhapsody

Rhapsody
by Yuuki Ryoh

ISBN: 159023006X

And now something for the ladies.

Japanese adult graphic novel artiste, Yuki Ryoh delves into such erotic themes as incest, bondage, and lesbian sex.

Rhapsody consists of five darkly erotic short stories, starting with a sexual relationship between brother and sister.

This is followed by equally erotic and taboo stories about lesbian stalking, group bondage, and sex that involves “non-traditional” sex-toys.

Beautifully illustrated.

Disturbing.

Just what you need.

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Erica Sakurazawa: Between the Sheets

Erica Sakurazawa: Between the Sheets
by Erica Sakurazawa

ISBN: 4-900-73700-3
192 pp

Sakurazawa’s single-volume graphic novella is about two young women in their early 20s. Saki is a beautiful bottle blonde, Minako her not quite as lovely brunette pal. As the story opens, the women suck face in a nightclub to put off a man who is trying to hit on them. However, unbeknownst to Saki, Minako has developed feelings for her that cross the line well beyond friendship. The theme in this work is friendship among women — with a strong undercurrent of lesbianism, or at least a leaning in that direction. This is an adult manga — in both senses of the word. Sakurazawa eschews the symbols and tone of usual romance manga; it is looser and more mature. The emphasis in places is less on the visual than on emotional and sexual growth of the women. Yet, visually it is very appealing. As Saki and Minako’s friendship dissolves, the women flit from one destructive and shallow encounter to the next. It reads like a tele-novella and will keep the reader enthralled until its denouement.

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Ultra-Gash Inferno

Ultra-Gash Inferno

by Suehiro Maruo

ISBN: 1840680393
216 pp

The founder of the ero-guru (“erotic-grotesque”) style of manga, Suehiro Maruo creates works like nothing found in the West.

Maruo combines extreme sex and extreme violence.

This is his first work to be translated into English. This will appeal to a niche audience.

This book is for adults only.

To read this from a Western perspective does not do justice to Maruo’s art and world.

Odd.

Perverse.

Disturbing.

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Secret Comics Japan: Underground Comics Now

Secret Comics Japan

Edited by Hyoe Narita

ISBN: 1569313725
200 pp

A freaky collection of tales that range from the ethereal, abstract “Swing Shell” – which is about a young girl coping with incest – to the surreal “Punctures,” a totally weird take on modern society.

This is an adults-only graphic novel. Keep it on the top shelf of a bookcase in a locked room in a shed that the kids are afraid to go in.

Highly recommended for the level of its artwork and the seriousness of its themes. Unlike almost anything being done in the US. Among others, the highly acclaimed Junko Mizuno is featured.

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Trash

Trash
by Amy Yamada

ISBN: 1568360185
384 pp

Best-selling author Amy Yamada’s first novel to be translated into English, Trash is a work primarily about relationships. The protagonist Koko is living with her African-American lover Rick and his thirteen-year-old son, Jesse. The novel opens with Koko bloody and handcuffed to a bed in her New York apartment. The first part of the book is about her relationships with Rick and Jesse – occasionally drifting back to the still handcuffed Koko. The second half begins when Koko leaves Rick and the life they had.

As in much of Yamada’s work, the themes of race and power – or, in the case of Japanese women, lack thereof – are prominent. In Japan itself, she has been accused of sensationalism and vapidity. In reply, she has very publicly and openly ridiculed the sexuality of Japanese men (too small, deballed by society) who have leveled the above criticism at her.

As in many of Yamada’s works, in Trash the two first meet in a bar. After a few twists and turns and drinks, they end up back at his place. Predictable enough but for the child sleeping in the next room: Jesse. The couple’s relationship is troubled throughout as Rick drinks heavily, is abusive, and often does not return until morning. While things with Rick are always rocky, Koko comes to bond with Jesse as the two try to inject and maintain normalcy in their family life.

However, when she finally can’t take it any more – and has fallen in love with someone else – Koko resolves to leave Rick. She makes one final trip to the apartment to gather her belongings and say goodbye. At this time Rick beats her and handcuffs her to the bed. In a scene that is painful to read, Jesse sees them lying together on the bed after Rick has raped her — only to misinterpret that Koko has returned.

For those with an interest in Japanese chick-lit, Amy Yamada and Trash are as good a place to start as anywhere.

C. Ogawa

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Comics Underground: Japan

Comics Underground: Japan
Edited by Kevin Quigley

ISBN: 0922233160

Kevin Quigley serves as a tour guide on a trip to the underside of Japanese manga available in English. It’s not pretty, you’re not in Kansas, and the kiddies shouldn’t get a peek at this one. Some of the works are irrevocably offensive — intentionally so — others merely bizarre. Suehiro Maruo’s “Planet of Japs,” for example is set in post-war Japan and serves as commentary on the (horrible) quality of life under the American Occupation. This is not a perspective on history you will often read or see or find or hear on the US side of the Pacific. It is the history as told from the loser’s perspective. Other equally disturbing pieces featured in this collection include “Future Sperm Brazil,” “Bigger and Better,” and “Laughing Ball.” This is not mainstream manga; it is work that is pushing the envelope of what is possible in Japan — which is the Wild East compared to the self-censoring US. From a sociological and artistic view, this is highly recommended.

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Princess Mermaid

Princess Mermaid
by Junko Mizuno

ISBN: 1591161177

Junko Mizuno is one of most popular manga artists working in Japan today. Her drawing fuses the ubiquitous kawaii (the cult of excessive, mind-numbing cuteness that reigns in Japan: think Hello Kitty) with sinister plots. On top of this, nudity is common throughout her work. Princess Mermaid is the tragic story of three mermaid sisters who have no interest in becoming human; rather, they live with the constant fear of what floats upon the surface: the massive industrial fishing rigs that hope to net and sell them as food. Mizuno’s portraits are lovely if frightening portrayals of demons and monsters, plague and death, that bring to mind the great Japanese wood block print artists. These co-exist with modern imagery in a world that is hopeless and familiar: stupidity, greed, violence punctuate and define the world around the cute but fierce mermaids. Mizuno’s thesis seems to be something along the lines of, The world is crap but it’s all we’ve got. And thus the mermaids struggle to survive. Princess Mermaid is profound and highly recommended.

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Destiny (La Blue Girl: The Original Manga, Book 1)

Destiny (La Blue Girl: The Original Manga, Book 1)
by Toshio Maeda

ISBN: 1586648713

This is one of the sexiest and most graphic books on the market.

A must have for hentai fans everywhere.

The illustrations in LA Blue are excellent.

This is absolutely for adults only. Repeat: no one under…18 should look at this.

Destiny (La Blue Girl: The Original Manga, Book 1) comes courtesy of one of the founders of the “erotic grotesque” school of manga.

Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the rides.

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