What is Pink film? An easy intro to Japanese erotic cinema culture

Posted on by Jeffrey

Sora Aoi in Pink Eiga, Tsumugi

With 15 new films added to our streaming catalog recently, all being identified as “Pink films,” we at Japan Flix thought it important to clarify what pink film is. First off, let me say it is for adults, hence the age verification page. There is sex and there is some violence, but mostly sex. However, Pink film is also culturally and historically relevant.

Pink Eiga, an artistic playground for budding filmmakers in Japan

Academy Award winning director, Yojiro Takita, also got his start in Pink Film

Pink film is a type of erotic cinema that started in the 60′s after laws regarding nudity in film were loosened. Since then there has been a steady stream of pink film released in Japan and some of Japan’s best modern directors have gotten their start in pink film. For example, Kiyoshi Kurosawa whose 2003 film, Bright Future, was nominated for the prestigous Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and whose 2008 film, Tokyo Sonata, won Un Certain Regard Jury Prize also at Cannes got his start in Pink! Also 2008 Academy Award winner Yojiro Takita (Departures) was given his first shots in film with Pink!

What separates pink film from other erotic film is the style of production. A producer would find a filmmaker and task him with making a movie around 60 minutes in length, with about six sex scenes, and must come in under their tiny $30K budget and 1 week schedule. Otherwise, the filmmakers were given full free rein to tell the stories they wanted to about the characters they wanted to create.

“Pink Eiga is not just about the act of having sex”


If you are new to pink cinema, a couple titles that exemplify the best of pink cinema in our catalog are Tsumugi and Anarchy in (Ja)Panty. In Tsumugi, famous actress Sora Aoi plays a high school girl who seduces her teacher, then her classmate as she herself struggles to find her place in the world. While that one-line description may make the film sound base, there is an honesty to all the characters that makes the story come alive.

Anarchy in (Ja)Panty

The same thing can be said for Anarchy in (Ja)Panty. Anarchy tells the story of a misfit couple, raising a kidnapped child under difficult economic circumstances. Director Takahisa Zeze prides himself on developing characters and relationships in his films.

In an interview with Midnight Eye, Takahisa said:

“I try to show relationships, I make films about love. It’s not just about the act of having sex, but what leads up to it and what comes after. What are the feelings of the people before, while they do it and after they did it? It’s this development that interests me. I don’t care very much about rape, because it’s very one-sided and doesn’t allow for this kind of development… I don’t want to depict characters as having sex, but as making love.”

It’s always interesting to see how directors like Hidekazu Takaharu (Tsumugi, 2004) and Takahisa Zeze will combine the guidelines of pink film with the stories they want to tell. There is no doubt though, because of the freedom these filmmakers have enjoyed, pink film has been responsible for some of the most exciting films to come out of Japan in the last 50 years.


, ,

Leave a comment

Comment with your username or create one if you don't have one!

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>