Nikkatsu director Koretsugu Kurahara. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Today, I attended a special dinner event featuring two prominent alumni from Nikkatsu Studios during the 1970s. I attended a similar dinner earlier in the year, but with the addition of another fascinating guest, namely director Koretsugu Kurahara, I was quite interested to join.
Born in 1935, Kurahara-san became a director at Nikkatsu in 1971 and made several of the risque films that Nikkatsu was famous for during that period. I enjoyed speaking with Kurahara-san about California (particularly La Jolla!) and even American politics (including our current president). Suffice it to say, it was a fun and lively discussion.
Nikkatsu actress Mari Tanaka. Photo by Brett Homenick.
The other featured guest was Nikkatsu actress Mari Tanaka, who made her name in many of the controversial Nikkatsu films of the 1970s. Born in 1951, Tanaka-san joined Nikkatsu in the late 1969, but she didn't appear in the studio's more erotic films until 1971, which is where she made her name.
She also guested on several of Japan's most popular TV series at the time, such as Key Hunter (1968-73) and G-Men '75 (1975-82). As I wrote just after meeting Tanaka-san for the first time earlier in the year, it's hard for me to believe that she starred in anything remotely controversial. Still, that just makes her story all the more intriguing.