A Showa Tale of the Post-War Pan-Pan Girls Starring Maki Hojo and Yuu Kawakami

Where We Learn the Difference Between Akasen and Aosen


A Showa Tale of the Post-War Pan-Pan Girls Starring Maki Hojo and Yuu Kawakami
with English Subtitles


“WW2 has ended only shortly ago and Japan is still in a manic period of rebuilding.  We shift our attention to a ‘blue line’ district--the nickname given to areas known for illegal prostitution outside of government sanctioned areas:  aka, ‘red light districts’.  Maki (MAKI HOJO) operates an illegal brothel and due to some exceptional circumstances regarding a husband who never came home, a new hire, YUU (YUU KAWAKAMI), is added to the roster and quickly becomes extremely popular.

Her fame is almost too much for Maki accept and soon enough a battle of the sexes—literally!--erupts between them, their patrons, the mob, and Japan itself during the nascent days of the American occupation.”

-Translation of the introduction of A SHOWA TALE OF THE POST-WAR PAN-PAN GIRLS

It's hard not to keep repeating myself when talking about ORGA movies, but when you're given the ability to work on titles produced at such a high quality level, it's hard NOT to praise them.  They're *that* good and deserve all the positive reactions one can muster.

Now I will be honest and say that as a company that many a time needs to find a risky balance between drama and JAV, the pendulum would predictably swing and remain towards the latter, but you'll also every so often see them mixing the secret sauce just right.  This was best shown in our first update by them, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (coincidentally starring the same two actresses and having the same director) and again in today's update, the balance between a darn good story and unbelievably great sex is achieved once again.

Although recently ORGA has been focusing more on titles that take place in the modern day and are heavily about 'masochist training', they still produce some Showa period movies via their owner and secondary director TEI JAGA.  For a company with such quality, it's actually surprising to know that they only have two directors running the show (update:  now they have more!).  The company itself is fully independent and smaller than you think.  Nevertheless, just like with many other JAV studios, staff for shooting is freelance and in terms of personnel numbers, ORGA does not slack!  A SHOWA TALE OF THE POSTWAR PAN-PAN GIRLS required 17 staff members + the acting cast.  That's an insane number of people for a JAV release and the quality speaks for itself.

The Pan-Pan prostitute phenomenon is something I admit not to knowing that much about.  I did read a great book that covers it for a time and from what I hear, it's on Martin Scorsese's short list for a future adaption.  If you've seen Memoirs of a Geisha, the 'Pumpkin' character pretty much becomes a Pan-Pan girl after WW2 ends (I don't recall if Pumpkin went the Pan-Pan route in the book hence only linking to the movie).

In a nutshell, post-WW2 Japan was a hectic place where its people were balancing lives while rebuilding and working with the occupying military from USA.  Prostitution for a time was totally legal in 'red light' districts, but given the demand, illegal 'blue light'--or aosen--districts also emerged and that's what today's update covers.

POSTWAR PAN-PAN GIRLS is a title we were on the fence with classifying.  On one hand, it stars YUU KAWAKAMI playing a wife whose husband was drafted for the war and never came home.  On the other hand, being at the end of the line, she puts herself in an extraordinary situation by literally whoring herself out in an illegal brothel run by MAKI HOJO.  We ended up putting this up as an Extreme Feats update because of this; after all, dire circumstances call for 'extreme' measures and selling oneself for survival is extremis at its core.

I'm no historian so I can't comment on how accurate the cast was at portraying their roles though I do think ORGA did a swell job at bringing forth the vibe of the earlier portions of the Showa period.  You had all the female cast wearing makeup that was extra gaudy (as Pan-Pan girls tried and often failed to emulate American women via these methods) and the studio and props did not give off a modern vibe in the slightest.  I'd say the only thing that felt 'wrong' with this title in terms of historical accuracy was how the mafia members--the gentleman actually played by one of ORGA's directors in the first scene--and JAV uber-actor MASAHIRO TABUCHI dressed.  From what I've read, Yakuza didn't start dressing that way for at least another decade.  During and right after WW2, you really couldn't tell them apart from an average Japanese person.

This by now is a rambling review and I'm very, very sorry for those who pushed themselves to reading this far (all 11 of you!).  It's not everyday we at ZENRA get the chance to work on a really neat historical title.  THE POST-WAR PAN-PAN GIRLS is fantastic and that conversion MAKI had with YUU outdoors by the river right before the final threesome will bring tears to pretty much anyone's eyes.

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