Back in the 1970s, the names of Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto were on everyone’s lips. Hailed as the “queens of porno”, they not only became exploitation cinema royalty but burst through into mainstream pop culture. If you bought any random issue of Heibon Punch, Weekly Playboy, or one of the countless other men’s magazines from this era, you were pretty much guaranteed to find at least one appearance of either star.
Despite their extreme popularity, it’s not that easy to find much direct information about either actress – though this was all by design. Part of their star power came from uncertainty; with audiences desperate to know more about them, it is natural that rumours spread like wildfire. The media knew exactly how to stoke this interest and only fed into these rumours. One scandalous rumour was that Reiko Ike had lied about her age when she landed her first role and was only 16 when she appeared nude in Hot Springs Mimizu Geisha. To this day, her exact birth year is still officially unconfirmed.
The media at the time tended to shy away from direct interviews with stars, preferring for fans to make their own conclusions based on the scant rumours drip-fed to them. It was assumed that, in real life, Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto were basically just like the delinquent women they were so well known for portraying. For example, most articles about Reiko Ike make her out to be some kind of nymphomaniac, with photographers claiming that she answered her door to them naked in preparation for a photoshoot. However, for its February 1972 issue, the magazine Oh! Pocket Punch finally let Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto speak for themselves. Being such a rare find, I felt that it was only right to translate the interview in its entirety.
The interview consists of a roundtable conversation between author Sokun Kawakami and the two actresses, where they openly discuss their sex lives. Whilst it doesn’t really provide us with any new information about Reiko Ike or Miki Sugimoto, it does give us an unparalleled look into their personalities. Contrary to their violent and sex-crazed screen counterparts, each woman is actually very down-to-earth, and most surprisingly, Reiko Ike even seems to be quite shy!
▽How Do You Feel a Woman Who Isn’t Feeling It?
Sokun: Have you had sex recently?
Reiko: How obscene! (She laughs) I haven’t been having any at all.
Sokun: I don’t think it’s particularly obscene. Surely it’s natural to have sex?
Miki: (Looking at Reiko) I’ve been busy, so it’s been a while.
Sokun: So you’re saying you were very active before?
Miki: I wouldn’t say so – sensei is such a pervert.
Sokun: Hey, I’m only going by what you said. (He laughs) By the way, how much experience do you have?
Miki: I’ve been with maybe… four men.
Reiko: I’ve been with two or three.
Sokun: Do you know what pleasure is?
Miki: I don’t think I understand?
Sokun: How old are you?
Sokun: These days, there are many women who feel it, even if they are 18 years old.
Miki: It’s not something I’m interested in at the moment.
Sokun: Women don’t think about it that much, unlike men. But when you are in the right mood, when you are touched, an atmosphere is created, and you feel desire. That’s how it works right?
Miki: I don’t think so. I just take a quick look and think “This person is nice,” but I don’t feel that way.
Sokun: But surely if you’re in a situation like that, you would feel something? Even if you’re not necessarily in the mood, surely you would still get wet? Even though I do not share your sensitivity, it is possible to feel that way on its own; to put it in a philosophical way.
Sokun: Come to think of it, a stripper I saw when I went to Brazil didn’t feel it at all. I’ve been with a lot of women in my life, but this was my first time with a woman like that. We’re doing it (he stretches out a finger), and she’s just looking at her manicure. (He suddenly changes his tone) She looked at me as if to say ‘You’re doing something funny.’ I stopped midway through because I got annoyed – no matter what I did, she didn’t feel anything. Halfway through, I started whistling to myself (he laughs).
Reiko: So she wasn’t a slut?
Sokun: No, she was in good shape; well, not especially. Anyway, although her consciousness was going in a completely different direction, her body itself was almost like a separate being. So, just like yourself (and Miki), I can understand that, just because you’re wet, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re feeling good. But in your case, I don’t think you’ve given yourself enough preparation. For example, even during foreplay, don’t you feel it just a bit?
Miki: No, that’s not how it works.
Sokun: You might feel like your body is becoming naturally wet, or you might be breathing heavily. What makes you feel it the most?
Miki: I like to kiss and stuff.
Sokun: It seems that you like kissing. My neck in particular is sensitive. Isn’t it sensitive from the area around the back of your ear?
Miki: I don’t know… I just want to kiss the guy, but I don’t think ‘Oh, I want to do that.’ In any case, I just want a man to be there by my side, and I don’t want him to do anything, I just want him to sleep. And I don’t want them to touch me anywhere.
Sokun: Men can’t do that. I always get up quickly and get going… (he laughs). Most of the time, a man who stays still is just impotent.
Miki: It’s okay to be impotent. I love impotent men!
Sokun: Then go out and find an impotent man (he laughs). I’m not sure if you mean it when you say you like impotent men, but it’s pretty funny.
Miki: I don’t know what the future holds, but I don’t want to do it right now. I want someone that I can talk to. But I don’t want to be a pervert. I don’t want to do strange things and get tied up with ropes…
Sokun: What if he doesn’t do penetration, but he is good at foreplay? Would you like that?
Miki: At most a kiss.
Sokun: Maybe he’d be good at sucking your breasts, or stimulating other sensitive areas.
Miki: Then I feel sorry for that man. He’s going to be disappointed.
Sokun: There’s also cunnilingus. A man caressing you with his mouth. Surely you’ve experienced that?
Miki: No, never.
Sokun: So that’s why you don’t feel it. The secret is now clear. I may be a pervert, but I’m not doing it for you, so you’re out of luck. You’ll have to go to the police (he laughs). Your partners are all so immature. They have to be arrested. It’s a crime. What about you? (He looks at Reiko).
Reiko: Huh? What’s that?
Sokun: The man stimulates the woman’s genitals with his tongue. When a woman does it to a man, it’s called fellatio.
Reiko: I’ve never done it before, it sounds dirty. I’d have to take a bath beforehand and wash it with soap.
Sokun: Of course, I once asked an experienced man directly, he said: ‘No, no. If you wash it, the odour would go away, so you must never wash sashimi, nor that area.’ (he laughs) I was certainly lectured. ‘Would you wash sashimi?’ he asked me.
Reiko: I couldn’t do that. It’s disgusting. I wouldn’t feel comfortable.
Sokun: It’s ok if you want to wash it. Young women are usually bad at washing. It’s because we don’t have any bidets in Japan.
Reiko: What’s a pidet*?
Sokun: You have a toilet bowl where you shit. Hot water blows up from it. You straddle it…
*No, this isn’t a misspelling – Reiko Ike did actually think that he called it a “pidet”.
▽Teaching Women How to Wash
Miki: I’d use a bidet. I use a Tampax during my period; since dirt can get inside, it’s a hassle to keep having to go to the hospital to get it cleaned.
Sokun: I’ve heard that using a portable bidet is bad as bacteria can build up; it’s much better to wash it with just soap and hot water. Just put your fingers inside and wash it. Another important thing is that the lips on either side can become a bit smelly; it’s like there’s tofu residue on them (he laughs). In my experience, that happens a lot. Young women think that they’re washing themselves thoroughly, however, it’s still there. You should wash it carefully. Just wash it and you’ll be fine. You need a lot of cunnilingus to wake you up.
Miki: That’s why when you go to the bath house, you’ll see middle-aged women washing themselves like this (she stretches out her hands between her legs).
Sokun: In any case, you should wash it. It can prevent trichomoniasis.
Reiko: What’s trichomoniasis?
Sokun: It’s an infection like athlete’s foot. You have some vaginal discharge, but it smells really bad. I experienced a woman with trichomoniasis once. I didn’t want to turn her down, so I held my nose whilst I did it, but it didn’t stop the smell.
Reiko: What are the symptoms?
Sokun: Vaginal discharge.
Miki: Is that it?
Sokun: Then it gets really itchy.
Miki: It’s the kind of thing that men want…
Sokun: It’s not like that. However, I think there are a lot of female students with trichomoniasis. You should always be clean. (He takes a sip of beer) It’s not good to avoid cunnilingus. You can’t develop a sense of sexuality without experience.
Reiko: It doesn’t have to be that developed.
Sokun: I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s fine now because you’re young, but as you get older it becomes unnatural – you won’t know that yet.
Reiko: I think I’ll learn more and more as I get older. I’m fine as I am for now. I don’t have to do anything like that…
Sokun: Do you care whether or not you smell?
Reiko: I still think it’s a concern.
Sokun: Even though you’re young, people would notice quickly.
Reiko: When someone notices, they’d be instantly put off.
Miki: I think that’s definitely the case.
Sokun: I don’t agree. If it was a woman who liked me, I’d happily serve her.
Miki: It’s called fellatio… the woman will do it to the man as well. That’s it, that’s how it ends.
Sokun: It depends on the man, I don’t think it’s a big deal.
Miki: Would you have her swallow?
Sokun: Some women swallow, but they only swallow if they love you.
Reiko: It’s disgusting to conflate love with sex in that way.
Sokun: You’re still a child. For you, it’s more about licking soft-serve ice cream (he laughs).
Reiko: So does sensei like getting it done to him?
Sokun: I don’t mind having something like that done to me, but it’s not enough on its own.
▽Sharing Stories about Strange Sex Toys
Miki: I recently did a film for Toei called “Sex Up And Down”. Toru Yuri is the owner of a sex shop and I play his assistant. There were various toys in there, and one of them was called a “Goat’s Eye*”. I asked Yuri-san about it and he told me all sorts of things.
Sokun: You soak it in hot water. It becomes soft, stretches, and goes around the head of the man’s penis.
Miki: And once you get it on?
Sokun: I heard that once it’s inside (he reaches up and grabs the air) you have to use tweezers to… (he laughs). I’ve heard it’s not easy to get it out. I guess it’ll come out naturally.
Miki: I heard from Yuri-san that you should apply it to the base. If you put it at the tip you have to worry that it will fall off. If that happens, you have to start over, so the base is best…
Sokun: I understand now. I like the sound of this guy, is he a pervert?
Miki: I always bring my own medicine with me whenever I’m filming. He brought me some kind of a silver pill… ‘take this’, he said to me, ‘you’ll get excited after an hour.’ ‘There’s no way that will ever happen’, I replied. Yuri-san recommended that men take three tablets and women take two. I tried taking two tablets, but they didn’t work at all. Yuri-san said he always gets excited when he takes them.
Sokun: Maybe it all comes down to self-suggestion.
Miki: Actually it was the opposite. I had to go to the toilet after taking them, so I thought at first it might have worked…
Sokun: Speaking of “Goat’s Eyes”, I was once given one that was said to be an Indian “Goat’s Eye.” I was ripped off – no matter how much I boiled it, or what I did with it, it never became soft (he laughs). I soaked in hot water at work, and when I got home I tried soaking it in the bath, but it didn’t work at all. There are fakes out here.
Reiko: Since sensei seems to be such a pervert, he probably knew you’d buy it as soon as he showed it to you.
Sokun: No, it was given to me for free. The one that was sold to me was indeed a genuine one. When I used the real one, it fell off halfway through. I thought it had disappeared up inside her, but when I looked over, it had fallen onto the sheets (he laughs).
Reiko: There are some adult toys that have a moving tip, like a vibrator.
Sokun: That’s what women use. You press the switch, and the stimulation then depends on the position of the switch. Sometimes it stays still and vibrates, sometimes only the tip vibrates, and some become smaller if the tip is removed.
Miki: Do you put a condom over it?
Sokun: You don’t have to cover it, though maybe you should.
Miki: They say it feels more comfortable with a condom.
Sokun: I tried it with a woman in a hotel. At first, she was in pain, but she soon got used to it and started saying it wasn’t so good. She said it was best when it was bare.
Miki: The other year an actress said to me ‘Oh that sounds interesting. I wouldn’t need a man if I had one of those.’
Sokun: I don’t think you’ll need it. It’s still better to have a real man.
Reiko: But it feels like hard rubber to the touch.
Sokun: There is something like rubber, that would be a bit bigger.
Miki: There are about 4 levels and it’s very funny. Yuri-san was trying his best to hold it (he even made a gesture of violently shaking his wrists) and said something like ‘I’m so strong, so I’m level 5’ (she laughs). Then I said ‘What happens when you go past level 5?’, it was so funny to see it go like that.
Reiko: It’s very funny because Yuri-san is in this film too.
Miki: He once said to us ‘We’re going to be in trouble when the porno boom ends, so you should go and join a high-class Turkish bath right away. If you want to be a high-class Turkey Girl*, you’ll have to train yourself properly,’ Yuri-san would then let everyone touch him over his trousers and would say things like ‘my thingy moved.’
Sokun: How did that go?
Miki: I thought I was going crazy (she laughs). Another girl touched it and said ‘Oh! It moved’ (she laughs).
Reiko: When you say ‘buy me an apartment,’ they’ll immediately reply with something like ‘yes, I’ll buy you a mansion’ (she laughs).
*A “Goat’s Eye” appears to be a thin silicone cockring with “lashes” around it to stimulate the woman’s vagina.
*Turkey Girls are women who work in Turkish baths AKA soaplands.
▽A Virgin’s Mystique is Like a Petal
Sokun: Did either of you play doctor when you were young?
Reiko: I never did that.
Miki: I have played the doctor before, I never wanted to be the patient.
Sokun: Did you play it with a girl?
Miki: It seems both boys and girls did it. I used to stare at them.
Reiko: By the way, when was your first time?
Sokun: I was almost 20 years old, so it was late.
Reiko: Was she older?
Sokun. Younger. Probably about the same as you.
Reiko: Was it her first time too?
Sokun: I think it was her first time; I couldn’t get it in. It looked complicated. It looked like flower petals, and I didn’t have a clue where I was meant to be going (he laughs).
Reiko: Did it look like a chrysanthemum? (She laughs)
Sokun: It was a rose flower if anything. There were quite a lot of petals.
Reiko: What was it like?
Sokun: She was upset, so she was like a murderer.
Miki: My eyebrows just raised… (she laughs).
Sokun: It was early in the morning. I was absolutely exhausted. I slept for a while, then woke up and started again…
Reiko: Put an alarm clock under your pillow…
Sokun: I’m not going to put a clock there (he laughs). In the end, neither of us finished, so she must have been a virgin.
Reiko: Does sensei like virgins?
Sokun: No, I don’t like virgins. I have had a lot of experience with virgins, but I don’t like it because there’s no reaction.
Miki: My friend who’s 18 started dating a 24-year-old man back when she was 15. She said he was a virgin. Somehow he ended up between her legs; apparently, he was in a hurry and thought it had gone in. Three years have passed since then and she says that he’s still not managed it… (she laughs).
Sokun: Doesn’t he know?
Miki: Surely they must know, I’ve come to think that that’s just the way it is between them.
Sokun: That’s strange. You should be able to see it properly.
Miki: She said he fumbles around when it comes to that.
Sokun: Will your friend ever get a proper seeing to?
Miki: She doesn’t really like the guy, but one day she had a baby. She had the child with another man, but he went with her to the hospital and even paid for the baby to be delivered; I feel sorry for him. I heard that they only do foreplay; after that, when it gets further, it just doesn’t seem to work.
Sokun: That probably happened to the guy the first time, but after that, he started to prefer the feeling of that, rather than what he would feel inside her, that’s what happened. I see that a lot with young men who are into Turkey Girls.
▽How to Fill the Emptiness in Each Other’s Lives
Reiko: So sensei, can you tell if the other person is faking it?
Sokun: I feel like I can usually tell. I think I’ve been fooled a few times, but acting is just acting. For example, the feeling of blood vessels, and the feeling of the arteries in your neck pulsating when you bend over, are not something that can be done through acting. Or when the lower half of your body is numb and you can’t stop shaking – that’s something you can’t do with acting.
Reiko: Is that like a seizure?
Sokun: It’s totally different from a seizure (he laughs). I’m just shaking because it feels so good; it’s nothing to worry about.
Reiko: Do you go to Turkish baths as well? How much does it cost to go with a Turkey Girl?
Sokun: Probably 6000 or 7000 yen.
Miki: How many girls do you visit a day?
Sokun: At most, three girls. After three, I have to take a break…
Reiko: Why do you need to rest?
Sokun: It’s still tiring.
Miki: Even if it’s just business, would you really want to be with a woman who has already slept with other men, one after the other?
Sokun: I don’t like it. In such cases, I go as early as possible. I don’t go to Turkish baths very often, but the same goes for geishas. So early hours are best, preferably during the daytime.
Miki: You probably thought that she was aroused, but it was just a souvenir from the guy who went before you.
Sokun: That might be possible. That could happen when there might have been someone in front of you. Have you ever had it leak out while you were walking?
Miki: Only my period.
Sokun: I wonder if it ever leaks out when they wake up the next morning. For example, I was asleep and suddenly the phone started ringing as soon as I got up. It was the woman from the previous night calling…
Reiko: I’ve never called you, it couldn’t have been me (she laughs).
Sokun: Do you use condoms?
Reiko: I don’t like condoms!
Sokun: I don’t like condoms either. We’re on the same page, right?
Miki: When I was younger, I didn’t know what condoms were for, so when I found some in a bedroom drawer I blew them all up like balloons and just left them there. My mother got really angry at me. Since the condoms were quite old, they quickly burst.
Sokun: She must have been using cheap ones.
Reiko: I think that they’re fine if you’re used to them, but they’re not great for foreplay. If you’re in the middle of foreplay and you have to start rustling around with them to put them on, it kills the mood.
Sokun: I agree, before I got a vasectomy I used to use a contraceptive gel. The mood was building nicely, but I had to put the gel in a pistol-like applicator. ‘You’ll have to wait up’ I said to her… (he laughs). After that, I sounded like a bit of a cuckold and she said ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’
Miki: Whilst I’m waiting for them, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to pass the time.
Sokun: I feel the same way when I go to a love hotel where there’s a maid who has to bring you tea. You can’t just walk into the room and start kissing straight away – it’s the same thing. So I think those types of hotels probably shouldn’t serve tea.
Miki: Even when I go to a love hotel knowing that, I don’t know how to act or what to say when the man is undressing me. I don’t like it, I’m just used to undressing myself.
Sokun: You’re overthinking it. I think it’s best for each person to just take off their own clothes. After that, we take a quick bath. I bear in mind the other person’s feelings and take those into account – it’s not right to be annoyed and moody, it’s best just to be as nice as possible.
Reiko: Whilst giggling and laughing?
▽A Woman’s Crisis is Always Waiting
Sokun: Where was your first time?
Reiko: With the first guy, we did it at his house. The second was at a motel and I got dizzy with all the bouncing and spinning around on the rotating bed. But motels are scary. For example, you might fall asleep in the back of a taxi – if the driver decides to take you to a motel, you’re done for.
Miki: That happened to me. I fell asleep, and when I woke up, we were parked near a motel by the Daisan Keihin. The driver said to me ‘I’m tired and I won’t drive any further, so I’m going to sleep here. If you don’t sleep with me, please find another taxi.’ I was so scared that I ran away from the motel.
Reiko: Me too, it was a snowy day around New Year and I couldn’t find a car, so I took a white taxi*. Then they took me to Kokubunji (her home is in Omori). They said they had to stop the car because it had run out of fuel – there were motels all around us. The car had four doors, so I was able to escape out the back. If it had been a two-door car, I wouldn’t have stood a chance. After that, I walked for miles and miles until I found a taxi rank.
Miki: I had a similar experience a year ago. I was riding in a white taxi and it stopped by the seashore. I was sitting in the front, so I took out the keys and threw them outside. Whilst the driver was looking for them, I fled into a pine forest and lay face down for a long time.
Sokun: Did he go looking for you?
Miki: He was looking for me. He was saying things like ‘that fucking bitch’ and ‘damn it’…
Sokun: I guess that sort of thing must happen with young women a lot. There are many people out there who are cunning.
Reiko: People just don’t bother going to the police, I think most girls won’t report it.
Sokun: I’ve learnt from our roundtable discussion with the two of you, that you are both very serious, especially compared to high school girls who engage in prostitution. Maybe it’s because movie actresses are so busy, but it’s very different from how the rest of the world sees them.
Miki: We’re just a bunch of mimidoshimas*.
Sokun: But filmmakers are libertines, they have to push the boundaries further and further, even with sex. Talking of sex – if you want some, how about tonight?
*White taxis are unlicensed cars.
*This word has no direct translation. It literally means “old ears” and refers to inexperienced young women who have a wealth of knowledge about sex mainly gleaned from hearing and reading about it.
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The work of artist Mark Gagne strongly resonated with me on first impression, particularly the placing of shadow figures into a decayed landscape through photography. ‘Shadow people’, have become a…
Thomas Burke is an award-winning filmmaker and editor based out of Austin, Texas. He has spent over the last decade freelancing in various production roles including film directing, acting, producing…
After premiering at Tribeca Film Festival last year, Samantha Aldana’s psychological body horror Shapeless starring Kelly Murtagh is now available on demand from Lightbulb Film Distribution. For anyone who has struggled…
When considering currently acclaimed Japanese filmmakers there are several names that can readily spring to mind. From the exhaustively prolific creations of Takashi Miike to the bombastic and arresting works…
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