Satoru Kobayashi (director) - Life and Career - Flesh Market

Flesh Market

When Shintoho declared bankruptcy in 1961, Kobayashi was forced to seek work elsewhere. After a year out of the director's chair, Kobayashi wrote and directed the independent sex-film Flesh Market (1962). Shintoho's female pearl-diver films with actress Michiko Maeda had become notorious in the 1950s as the first Japanese films with nude scenes. Flesh Market was the first Japanese film to show breasts on screen. The film was released on February 27, 1962, and shut down by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department the next day. It became the first post-World War II movie to be accused of obscenity. When the film was cleared for release the next year, seven scenes had been cut. Flesh Market was an independent and underground film, and played only in "Adult" theaters. Nevertheless, perhaps because of the controversy surrounding the release of the film, Flesh Market was a box-office success. Made for only 6-8 million yen, the film brought in over 100 million yen, a huge profit for an independent release. The success of this film started the pink film genre, which was to become one of the most vital genres of Japanese domestic cinema for the next 40 years. The star of the film, Tamaki Katori, would go on to appear in over 600 pink films during the 1960s, earning the nickname "The Pink Princess." Today only 21 minutes of Flesh Market survive, preserved in the National Film Centre.

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