Oniroku Dan

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Oniroku Dan ( 団鬼六 ) is a Japanese author who has been called, "the most celebrated writer of popular SM novels in Japan." Many of his stories have been filmed, most notably by Nikkatsu studio in their Roman Porno series. Dan had a close professional association with actress Naomi Tani throughout her career.

Life and career

Early life

Born in Shiga Prefecture in 1931, Oniroku Dan's interest in the cinema was nurtured early in life because his parents owned a movie theater. Dan claims to have also discovered his interest in S/M very early in life. "I even liked this kind of thing in kindergarten. I remember we had a lovely young teacher in her early twenties. More than anything in the world, I wanted to tie her up."

Growing up during World War II, Dan learned English from American POWs. In the 1950s, he worked as a translator for English-language television programs, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In the 1960s, Dan taught English at a junior high school. While teaching he began writing scripts, under the pseudonym "Matsugoro Kuroiwa," for Pink films produced by small studios like Dokuritsu Productions. It was at Dokuritsu that Dan's long professional relationship with actress Naomi Tani began.


Oniroku Dan's S&M novel Flower and Snake, is the work which made him famous. In addition to a popular 1974 film, this novel would inspire a series of nine books, and a new series of Nikkatsu Roman porno films released between 1985 and 1987.

In 1974, after years of negotiations, Nikkatsu finally succeeded in recruiting Tani for their Roman porno series by agreeing to her request that her first film be based on Dan's Flower and Snake. Dan and Tani had objected to departures from Dan's story made in the film's script by director Masaru Konuma and script-writer Yozo Tanaka. The film, Flower and Snake, became a major hit for the studio and is credited both with starting the highly successful S/M genre of Nikkatsu's Roman porno films, and with establishing Naomi Tani as the third of Nikkatsu's Roman Porno Queens and the first "S/M Queen."

Still offended by the changes in his story for Flower and Snake, Dan refused to participate in the follow-up to that film, Wife to be Sacrificed. In interviews, Dan claims that this second film, which proved even more successful than Flower and Snake, was based on a story by him, but that he had insisted his name be removed from the credits. Director Masaru Konuma, however, says that it was an original story by Yozo Tanaka.

Nevertheless, Dan and Nikkatsu were able to settle their differences and Dan later gave the studio exclusive rights to his novels, many of which were filmed with Naomi Tani.Dan's association with Nikkatsu continued for more than a decade, even after Tani's retirement from the screen. Though sometimes criticized for their predictability, the formulaic structure he developed for most of his film scripts would become the model for Nikkatsu's successful and long-lived S/M Roman porno series.

Retirement and comeback

In the early 1990s, having by then written over two hundred S/M novels, Dan ceased writing and embarked on an ultimately unsuccessful business venture. After a break of nearly a decade, Dan returned to writing, publishing his autobiography, The Flower Must Be Crimson: The World of Oniroku Dan. Soon after coming out of retirement, his popularity was such that he was involved in eight serialized magazine novels and the writing of another book.

Oniroku Dan's style

A family man with children, Nicholas Bornoff describes Oniroku Dan as a "man with a genuine aura of rather tweedy, comfortable professorship." Dan has developed his own variation on S&M. But when asked if he ever acted on his S&M and bondage fantasies with his wife, Dan replied, "No way! She would beat my ass."

Director Masaru Konuma calls his own early S/M films "European type S/M," and says, "Later S/M developed in a very Japanese fashion. The Oniroku Dan way." Konuma says Dan describes three purposes of S/M: "for punishment, for confinement and for a sense of shame," and that "Oniroku Dan dislikes S&M as punishment... his novels and screenplays are centered around the 'humiliation' concept."

Dan confirms Konuma's view by observing, "My book editors often confuse S/M with cruelty and they want me to write some 'punishment tale' for them. This type of story is out of my realm. It just gives me the creeps. Rather, my concept of S/M is 'distorted sexual desire' or extreme disorientation. It's a male fantasy derived from love... from seeing a beauty suffer through the sense of shame. Therefore, my style contains a romantic, aesthetic, and sometimes decadent fragrance."

Konuma says of Dan's female characters, "In his novels, he's searching for the beauty of women. He creates an ideal woman and proceeds to sell an S/M 'fantasy' to his readers." According to Naomi Tani, Dan's perfect film actress must "look good in a kimono; she needs to have long jet-black hair; she must have a certain amount of body fat, so the bondage rope makes a clear impression on her skin; and she has to be graceful under torture, with strong facial expressions."

Dan says that Naomi Tani fit all these conditions, and that he used her as the model for several of the women in his novels. Commenting on Tani's sudden retirement at the height of her popularity in 1979, Dan says, "I went into shock. It was the end of the Golden Duo. I almost decided to quit writing."

In summing up Dan's work, Bornoff coments, "Dan has the knack of making sadism respectable." On the growing cult popularity of his Nikkatsu Roman porno films in the United States, Dan acknowledges the differing ways of cultural and artistic expression between the two countries. He comments, "I understand some aspects of the pink film are not acceptable in America. But ultimately, if the American people recognize the special quality [of] Oniroku Dan's world through his sex films - then I am more than happy."

Partial filmography

  • Flower and Snake (Hana To Hebi) director: Masaru Konuma; starring: Naomi Tani (1974)
  • Lady Moonflower (Yugao Fujin) aka Flower Of The Night director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Naomi Tani (1976)
  • Fairy in a Cage (Ori No Naka No Yose) director: Koyu Ohara; starring: Naomi Tani (1977)
  • Fascination: Portrait of a Lady (Genso Fujin Ezu) director: Koyu Ohara; starring: Naomi Tani (1977)
  • Skin of Roses (Dan Oniroku Bara No Nikutai) director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Naomi Tani (1978)
  • Rope Hell (Nawa Jigoku) director: Koyu Ohara; starring: Naomi Tani (1978)
  • Rope Cosmetology (Dan Oniroku Nawagesho) director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Naomi Tani (1978)
  • Lady Black Rose (Kurobara Fujin) aka Madam Black Rose director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Naomi Tani (1978)
  • Rope and Skin (Dan Oniroku Nawa To Hada) director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Naomi Tani (1979)
  • Bridal Doll (Dan Oniroku Hanayome Ningyo) director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Asako Kurayoshi (1979)
  • White Uniform in Rope Hell (Dan Oniroku Hakui Nawa Jigoku) director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Junko Mabuki (1980)
  • Blazing Bondage Lady (Dan Oniroku Joen Fujin) aka Madam Rope Flame director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Junko Mabuki (1980)
  • Image of a Bound Girl (Dan Oniroku Shoujo Shibari Ezu) director: Masaru Konuma; starring: Kumiko Hayano (1980)
  • Secretary Rope Discipline (Dan Oniroku Onna Hisho Nawa Chyokyo) director: Hidehiro Ito; starring: Junko Mabuki (1981)
  • Office Lady Rope Slave (Dan Oniroku OL Nawa Dorei) aka Oniroku Dan's OL Rope Slave director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Junko Mabuki (1981)
  • Female Teacher in Rope Hell (Dan Oniroku Onna Kyoshi Nawajigoku) director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Junko Mabuki (1981)
  • Girl and the Wooden Horse Torture (Dan Oniroku Shoujo Mokuba-zeme) director: Fumihiko Kato; starring: Serina Nishikawa (1982)
  • Blue Woman (Dan Oniroku Aoi Onna) director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Izumi Shima (1982)
  • Dark Hair Velvet Soul (Dan Oniroku Kurokami Nawa Fujin) aka Black Hair Velvet Soul, aka Rope Lady Black Hair director: Mamoru Watanabe; starring: Izumi Shima (1982)
  • Female Beautician Rope Discipline (Dan Oniroku Onna Biyoshi Nawa Shiiku) director: Hidehiro Ito; starring: Junko Mabuki (1982)
  • Beauty in Rope Hell (Dan Oniroku Bijo Nawajigoku) director: Genji Nakamura; starring: Miki Takakura (1983)
  • Beauty Rope Cosmetology (Dan Oniroku Bijo Nawagesho) director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Miki Takakura (1983)
  • Snake Hole (Dan Oniroku Hebi No Ana) director: Katsuhiko Fujii; starring: Izumi Shima (1983)
  • Best of S&M (SM Daizenshu) aka Oniroku Dan Presents The Best Of Nikkatsu SM director: Fumihiko Kato; (1984)
  • Rope Torture (Dan Oniroku Nawazeme) director: Ikuo Sekimoto; starring: Miki Takakura (1984)
  • Female Bondage Torture (Dan Oniroku Reijou Nawazeme) aka Hanging Lust director: Satoru Kobayashi; starring: Yui Maisaka (1984)
  • Double Rope Torture (Dan Oniroku Kinbaku Manji-zeme) director: Ikuo Sekimoto; starring: Miki Takakura (1985)
  • Beautiful Teacher in Torture Hell (Oniroku Dan: Bikyoshi Jigokuzeme) director: Masahito Segawa; starring: Ran Masaki (1986)
  • Snake and Whip (Dan Oniroku Hibe To Muchi) director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Ran Masaki (1986)
  • Wife to be Molested (Dan Oniroku Hitozuma Naburi) director: Shuji Kataoka; starring: Shihori Nagasaka (1987)
  • Sisters to be Sacrificed (Dan Oniroku Ikenie Shimai) director: Shogoro Nishimura; starring: Minako Ogawa (1987)
  • Exotic Mask in Hell (Dan Oniroku Yoen Nomen Jigoku) director: Fumihiko Kato; starring: Yoshimi Kashiwagi (1988)


  • "Pink Samurai: An Erotic Exploration of Japanese Society; The Pursuit and Politics of Sex in Japan" by Nicholas Bornoff < ISBN:0586205764 > on Amazon.com
  • Oniroku Dan Interviewed by Hamamoto, Maki. (1999). "15 minute interview with S&M Guru Oniroku Dan at Naomi Tani's party," Asian Cult Cinema, #23 (2nd quarter, 1999), p.20-25.
  • The Complete Index to World Film
  • Oniroku Dan at the Internet Movie Database

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Directors Kaoru Adachi Hideto Aki Tarō Araki Sachi Hamano Yasuharu Hasebe Toshiharu Ikeda Takashi Ishii Teruo Ishii Shunya Ito Satoru Kobayashi Kazuo "Gaira" Komizu Masaru Konuma Kiyoshi Kurosawa Tatsumi Kumashiro Yoshimitsu Morita Giichi Nishihara Koyu Ohara Kazuhiro Sano Hisayasu Sato Toshiki Sato‎ Chūsei Sone Masayuki Suo Norifumi Suzuki Tetsuji Takechi Yojiro Takita Noboru Tanaka Kōji Wakamatsu Takahisa Zeze
Notable films Angel Guts Assault! Jack The Ripper Cloistered Nun: Runa’s Confession Daydream (1964) Daydream (1981) Ecstasy of the Angels The Embryo Hunts In Secret Entrails of a Virgin Erotic Diary of an Office Lady‎ Flower and Snake The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai Go, Go Second Time Virgin In the Realm of the Senses Kage no Hikari Rafureshia School of the Holy Beast Sex & Fury Shogun's Joys of Torture Slave Widow Tattooed Flower Vase Terrifying Girls' High School Ukiyo-e Cruel Story Wife to be Sacrificed A Woman Called Sada Abe Woman with Red Hair Women... Oh, Women! Zoom In: Rape Apartments
Writers Oniroku Dan Kazuhiko Matsumoto Koichiro Uno
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