December 30, 1937|
Otaru, Hokkaidō, Japan
Special Prize, Yokohama Film Festival for Nagisa (2000)|
Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix, Berlin International Film Festival for Nagisa (2000)
Life and career
Masaru Konuma was born in Otaru, Hokkaidō, on December 30, 1937. Konuma retains no memories of his father who was a teacher. Drafted into the army after the outbreak of World War II in 1941, Konuma's father became ill with tuberculosis within a year of the start his military service, and returned home where he died.
After the war, Konuma's mother remarried, and Konuma, then 15, was sent away to live in Tokyo. Konuma recalls, "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. I didn't want to go. I cried."
As a way of dealing with his loneliness and homesickness at this time, Konuma began going to the cinema. He majored in film studies in the Art Department of Nihon University. Soon after graduation, in 1961, Konuma went to work at Nikkatsu Studios, about the same time as producer Yuki and directors Kōyū Ohara and Noboru Tanaka. The quartet were known by their individual characters as, "Diligent Yuki, slovenly Ohara, faithful Tanaka, reckless Konuma." Konuma started as a "fifth" assistant director, which meant he was in charge of the clipboard. He endured this low position at the studio in the hope that eventually he would become a director. In his early career, he was the assistant director on such films as Nikkatsu's venture into the kaiju genre, Daikyojū Gappa (1967), which was released in the U.S. as Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. Seijun Suzuki was one of the few directors who impressed Konuma during these early years at Nikkatsu.
During the later 1960s, Nikkatsu began losing its audience to TV, and its film production dropped. At this time, assistant directors moved on to TV or non-film work. In order to find a new audience, Nikkatsu president Takashi Itamochi made the decision to put the company's high production values and professional talent entirely into the "pink-film" (softcore pornographic) industry, which had until then been made by independent and low-budget filmmakers like Kōji Wakamatsu. Many of Nikkatsu's staff either did not return to the studio or left, not wanting to make sex films. Konuma had no such reservations, however, later saying, "The pleasure of becoming a director was greater than anything else at that moment... I was just happy to be making movies."
Konuma's first assignment as director was Call of the Pistil in 1971. Two of his most popular films-- Flower and Snake and Wife to Be Sacrificed—were made for Nikkatsu in 1974, both with Naomi Tani. Though it was Konuma who brought Oniroku Dan's work to the mainstream through Flower and Snake, the author was reportedly never happy with Konuma's interpretation of his work or the SM genre. The success of Flower and Snake introduced the SM style to Roman Porno films as well as inspiring a Flower and Snake series which ran through the 1970s and returned in the mid-1980s.
In Konuma's nunsploitation film Cloistered Nun: Runa's Confession (1976), half-Japanese pop singer Runa Takamura made her Roman Porno debut. For Lady Karuizawa (1982), Konuma worked with the mainstream 1960s star, Miwa Takada in her first starring role in over a decade. The film was a variation on Lady Chatterley's Lover, with some added political intrigue. Corrida of Sex and Love a.k.a. In The Realm Of Sex (1977) was Nikkatsu's attempt to capitalize on the notoriety surrounding the domestic release of Ōshima's In the Realm of the Senses (1976).
Commenting on his association with the S/M subgenre of Nikkatsu's Roman Pornos, Konuma said, "In general, the roman porn audience wants to see something they can't experience in everyday life. These people get excited about seeing acts which they may - or may not want to do to their wives or mates. Things they would never be able to really do without ending up in jail or divorce. For example, I was often assigned to make movies with rape scenes. I am not a person who could possibly perform rape. I want to see a lady's happy face while having sex... Movies are fantasies. Sometimes they might be ugly, but they're still fantasies. I was the dreamweaver."
In 2000, director Hideo Nakata, who had served his apprenticeship at Nikkatsu under Konuma, made a documentary on his mentor entitled Sadistic and Masochistic. In 2001 Konuma was given an award at the Yokohama Film Festival for his career and his film Nagisa.
|Call of the Pistil
Kashin No Izanai
|Love Hunter: Hot Skin
Koi no karyudo: atsui hada
|Headlights In The Rain
|Three Wives: Wild Nights
Tsuma San-nin: Kyoran No Yoru
|Afternoon Affair: Kyoto Holy Tapestry
Hirusagari no joji Koto-mandara
|Erotic Journey: Love Affair In Hong Kong
Shikijo Ryoko: Hong Kong Bojo
|Female Teacher: Sweet Life
Onna Kyoshi: Amai Seikatsu
Kashin No Takamari
|Lost Love: Oil Hell
Lost Love: Abura Jigoku
|Flower and Snake
Hana to hebi
|Wife to Be Sacrificed
|Lesbian World: Ecstasy
Lesbian No Sekai: Koukotsu
|Female Teacher: Boy Hunt
Onna Kyoshi: Shonen-gari
|Great Edo: Secret Story Of A Female Doctor In Trouble
Oedo: Maruhi Onna Isha Arashi
|Cloistered Nun: Runa's Confession
Shudojo Runa no kokuhaku
|Wet Vase a.k.a. Wet Tattooed Vagina
|Getting Raped a.k.a. Raped
|Tattooed Flower Vase
Kashin no irezumi: ureta tsubo
|Erotic Diary of an Office Lady
aka Office Lady Lusty Journal: "Ah, There's Something Inside Me!"
OL kanno nikki: Ah! Watashi no naka de
|In The Realm Of Sex
Seito ai no corrida
Yumeno Kyusaku no shoujo jigoku a.k.a. Kasei no onna
Kifujin shibari tsubo
|Wandering Lovers: Dizziness
さすらいの恋人 眩暈 めまい
Sasurai no koibito: memai
Kinyo-bi no shinshitsu
|Sometimes... Like A Prostitute
Toki niha Shoufu no youni
|College Girls On Friday
Izumi Daihachi no joshidaisei no kinyobi
|Mr Dilemma Man (Dilemman): Lunatic For Lust
Mr- Dilemman: shikijo-garu
|Image Of A Bound Girl
Dan Oniroku shoujo shibari ezu
|Uptown Lady: Days Of Eros
Yamanote fujin: seiai no hibi
|Wife's Sexual Fantasy: Before Husband's Eyes
Tsumatachi no seitaiken: otto no me no maede ima
|Woman Who Exposes Herself
|Woman Who Is Used
|Fallen Angel Gang
|Rope and Breasts
Nawa to chibusa
|Female Prisoner: Cage
|Madam Scandal - Final Scandal: Madam Likes It Hard
Final scandal: okusama wa okatai no ga osuki
Stewardess scandal: kemono no youni dakishimete
|Woman In The Box: Virgin Sacrifice
Hako no naka no onna: shojo ikenie
|Woman In The Box 2 a.k.a. Captured For Sex 4
Hako no naka no onna II
|雀鬼 裏麻雀勝負！ ２０年間無敗の男||1992-12-01|
|XX: Beautiful Hunter
XX: Utsukushiki karyuudo
|雀鬼５ 完結篇 ひとりだけの引退試合||1995-02-24|
Kairakusatsujin: onna sousakan
- Masaru Konuma quoted in Hideo Nakata (2000). Sadistic and Masochistic (included with Wife to Be Sacrificed DVD) (Motion Picture/DVD). Event occurs at Chapter 1, 5:30.
- Konuma quoted in Sadistic and Masochistic, Chapter 1, 7:20.
- Masaru Konuma biography at NAGISA at berlinale.de (pdf file)
- Konuma quoted in Sadistic and Masochistic, Chapter 3, 15:34.
- Konuma, Masaru. (1998). Interviewed by Thomas and Yuko Mihara Weisser on November 6, 1998, in Asian Cult Cinema, #22, 1st Quarter, 1999, p.19.
- Konuma Interviewed by Thomas and Yuko Mihara Weisser, p.19.
- Macias, Patrick. (2001). "Nikkatsu's Roman Porno" in TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. Cadence Books, San Francisco. ISBN 1-56931-681-3, p.187-188
- Konuma Interviewed by Thomas and Yuko Mihara Weisser, p.23.
- Sharp, Jasper (2008). Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema. Guildford: FAB Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-1-903254-54-7.
- Sharp, p. 127.
- Sharp, p. 144.
- Sharp, p. 142.
- Sharp, p. 191.
- Konuma Interviewed by Thomas and Yuko Mihara Weisser, p.26.
- Sharp, p. 236.
- Filmography from "小沼勝 (Konuma Masaru)". Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- Konuma, Masaru. (1998). Interviewed by Thomas and Yuko Mihara Weisser on November 6, 1998, in Asian Cult Cinema, #22, 1st Quarter, 1999, p. 19-28.
- "小沼勝 (Konuma Masaru)". Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- "Masaru Konuma". Allmovie. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "MASARU KONUMA". The Complete Index to World Film. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- Masaru Konuma on IMDb
- Masaru Konuma at nytimes.com