Sadistic and Masochistic

Synopsis: Documentary on director Masaru Konuma, who dedicated his life to Japanese soft porn, directing more than 47 films in more than three decades and specializing in S&M.
Genre: Documentary
91 min

I worked with you on a total of three

films back then.


I noticed that during preproduction,

you were very mild,

very inoffensive.

I wasn't aware of that.

But I've noticed that for myself,

sometimes when I'm on the set,

I become sadistic.

I start getting aggressive

or being offensive.

What about you?

I don't do it on purpose.

The night before filming,

I do a "shoot" in my head.

It's amazing.

Everybody does exactly as I want them to.

The reality is quite different.

It tends to disappoint me.

Does that ever emerge

in your everyday life?

Do you ever become aggressive?


I've never picked a fight.

Maybe I would if someone

started shouting abuse at me,

or if told to "grin and bear it."

Not me. I don't. No way.

I find myself getting masochistic

on a shoot.

I'd have to say

sometimes I get that too.

A touch of masochism in my personality.


Fifteen years ago, in midsummer,

we shot Woman in the Box right here.

It was the hottest spell

of the entire summer.

Just here,

at the east exit of Shinjuku Station.

Record temperatures that day.

It got to 41 degrees centigrade.

Scorching hot.

The film had hardly any budget at all,

so I did something we're not supposed to do.


I dashed off to a pub

for ice water.

The cast and crew

were on the verge of heatstroke.

We parked the van just here.

Inside, they were filming

the sadistic sex scene.

The scene required the vehicle

to be parked here.

We put barriers all along here

to stop the passersby

from actually seeing inside.

The reason why we put curtains up

was to conceal the sex scene,

and also we wanted to shoot the passersby

with the station as a backdrop.

What was the director like?

On set, he was quite demanding.

He wanted aggressive acting.

I suppose you could say he was sadistic.

That was my only impression of him.

He considers love scenes

to be important to the story.

While we were shooting,

he came across as being irritated.


They can see everything.


It was 41 degrees-

no air conditioning.

It was hot.

But I've always loved the sauna,

so I didn't actually mind the heat.

I thought of it like a sauna.

Hello there.

Good to see you again.

Filming already?

Where were you born?

Up in Otaru, Hokkaido.

What's your family history?

My family?

I lived with my mother and father.

Then, as you know,

WWII started in 1941.

My father taught school before the war.

Then he got drafted into the army.

Within a year,

he was repatriated and died of TB.

I have no memories of him.

There was a festival

when I was six or seven.

The most erotic thing back then

was the film of a birth.

- A baby being born?

- Yeah.

They had this barker out front.

"Roll up and see everything!"

Then he'd give us a tiny glimpse

of what to expect.

It made us all the more eager

to watch the film.

We couldn't afford tickets.

So all of us kids

were hanging around outside.

We were so eager,

but could only catch the occasional glimpse.

In all, there were three films

on giving birth,

but you could hardly make out

what was on screen.

Maybe the producers did it on purpose,

but it looked like it was raining

on the screen.

Those prints would have

been ancient by then.

They'd been dragged around

the carnival circuit for years.

In his teens,

Konuma's mother remarried.

She told him to leave home.

She sent me off to Tokyo when I was 15.

In those days, there was no TV.

I had no idea about Tokyo.

It was as distant to me

as Africa or Alaska is to kids today.

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