Spotlight on Koji Wakamatsu

Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969)

Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969)

Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969)
Images from Koji Wakamatsu’s Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969)

I recently reviewed Koji Wakamatsu’s impressive Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969) for Cinedelica. If you’re interested in Japanese avant-garde cinema and pink films, I highly recommend giving Koji Wakamatsu’s films a look. I’ve also recently been helping Michael over at his excellent French language Japanese film site Wildgrounds with his English translation of a French interview with director Koji Wakamatsu that is now available to read at his website.

The interview was originally published in the French cinema magazine Sex Star System in 1976 and now English audiences have the opportunity to enjoy the interview for the first time. Information about Koji Wakamatsu is hard to find so I’m very thankful that Michael took the time to translate this informative interview.

Coincidently Midnight Eye recently published an interview with the writer and filmmaker Masao Adachi who is one of Koji Wakamatsu’s most important collaborators and it’s also well worth reading. It’s wonderful to see Koji Wakamatsu and Masao Adachi’s complex, controversial and experimental work getting some much needed attention lately! Clip from Wakamatsu and Adachi’s Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969) below: More images from the film are available at my Go, Go Second Time Virgin Flickr Gallery.

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12 thoughts on “Spotlight on Koji Wakamatsu

  1. Richard Harland Smith says:

    I reviewed GO, GO SECOND TIME VIRGIN and ECSTASY OF THE ANGELS for Video Watchedog a bunch of years ago. People often compare it to BONNIE & CLYDE but the movie reminded me more of SID AND NANCY, with the no-hope hero and heroine preferring death because “it’s nice to have some place to go back to.” The rooftop setting also reminded me a little of WEST SIDE STORY. The whole number 7 fetish was interesting, too: there are 7 floors in the building, Poppo slaps Tsukio 7 times and there are 7 punks who rape Tsukio. There’s even specific references to the then-recent murders of Sharon Tate (and 6 others… 7 again), which maybe suggests an assumed inherent will-to-violence feared by Poppo, who at one point confesses “I want to die because I want to kill.” Grim, pessimistic and yet oddly poetic stuff

  2. M.S says:

    I’ve read somewhere the title (Go, go second time virgin) was found by Oshima. Wakamatsu have said it was quite hard to explain, it’s like a woman who becomes again virgin after an operation. I wonder what were thinking people when they went to see it (“hurrah, a real erotic hardcore film !” :p)

    I also like the video, it’s simple and it means a lot of thing. The light in the glasses, the roof with the barrier, the youth at the top of the city… Really like it. I must say, there’s always a good song in each Wakamatsu’s films, but this one is clearly my favourite (so sad).

    I hope their last movie (Wakamatsu & Adachi) will be soon available somewhere, and I’d love to know what are they thinking now of their movies from the 60s/70s. Maybe they still believe in anarchy or something like that…

    (& Thanks again for your help)

  3. Keith says:

    That was a great video clip. I’m definitely going to have to check some of these films out. I know little about this genre, so I’m intrigued to explore it in more detail.

  4. Robert Monell says:

    The only one of his films I’ve seen is the notorious VIOLATED ANGELS, made in direct reaction to the Richard Speck massacre of a group of nurses in the 1960s. A harrowing film, this restages the crime in Japan during a series of local roits. The killer is a quiet loner who bursts into a dormitory and murders the women one by one in grueling detail. The sexual nature of the murders is perhaps the most disturbing element. We get to know all the victims who tell their stories while pleading for their lives. The entire film is told from the killer’s POV and we see his fantasies and backstory in delirious, highly stylized montages. The film is about an hour in b&w which suddenly changes to color at the end. The film is structured like a poem with repeating stanzas and culminates with a lullaby by the one surviving woman. Minimalistic and highly experimental it also has a sociological/political context opening and closing with shots of the police repression of the student rebellion. What’s most daring about this film is that it shows considerable sympathy for the killer and deconstructs the pornography of violence. Not an easy film to watch. A horror film which really hurts as someone once wrote about Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE, which it reminds me of.

  5. Ed Hardy, Jr. says:

    A haunting and beautiful clip–and quite a beautiful song. (I loved the Norman Mailer reference.) Minutes after watching it this film was at the top of my Netflix queue.

  6. M.S says:

    Robert Monell> Just to add something on your post, the change to color is interesting, because usually pinku director would do that for a sex scene to let the audience enjoy it. But here, in Violated Angels, it’s to shown the final massacre of all the “angels”. In the same idea, at one moment, the actor is face to the camera, holding a gun, spectators become like the poor scared “angels”. Wakamatsu knew how to play with the “pinku” audience. Quite funny! (same thing happen in Go go second time virgin, when the violated girl is telling her awful life to… the spectator).

    And for Violated Angels, the actor, Juro Kara (also seen in Oshim’s Diary Of a Shinjuku Thief) was only paid with… a lobster (a story from Wakamatsu himself)! That’s amazing! (

  7. Jonathan Lapper says:

    The clip has the simple black and white feel of the kitchen-sink dramas of the sixties from Britain that I like so much. Another fascinating subject choice to write about, Kimberly.

    And now an obtuse question. You mention that you’re helping M.S. with translation to english of a french interview yet he has comments here that are in english. Was the translation from japanese to french to english? Just how many languages do you speak? How versatile are you anyway? If you keep revealing hidden talents you’re going to start making the rest of us look bad. Sadly, though raised by a bi-lingual mother I only speak english, but, hey, at least that’s one more language than our President speaks.

  8. M.S says:

    Jonathan Lapper> I may speak english, but i’m not a native speaker. That’s why Kimberly helped me, to improve the original translation, to be less «french english».
    So the original interview was in French, yes sir!

    Robert Monell > «The film is structured like a poem with repeating stanzas and culminates with a lullaby by the one surviving woman»

    Btw, I’ve put the famous lullaby on my site, you can listen it here. I haven’t put the video for one simple reason, it’s at the end of the film (the very last minutes, no dialogue, just this song). Hope you’ll enjoy it!

  9. cinebeats says:

    Thanks for all the comments! I hope people who are interested in Wakamatsu’s work will give his films a look, but don’t let the very low-key moment shown in the clip I posted fool you. The film is very dark and complex.

    AR – Interesting review you posted. I’m not sure I really understand what he’s trying to say and I don’t really agree with all his views about the film, but he seemed to like the movie.

    Richard – I wish I could read your reviews of Wakamatsu’s films. I only get to pick up Video Watch Dog about once a year, but I don’t think I have the issue you mentioned. I’ll have to pull out my old issues and give them a look soon. Hopefully I have it somewhere. I enjoyed your observations and agree that the “7 fetish” you pointed out is fascinating! I noticed that numbers seemed to play an important part in the film, but I hadn’t connected all the dots.

    M.S. – You’re more than welcome! Thank you for translating the interview. I wish more of their films from the ’60s and ’70s were easily available.

    Keith – I hope you’ll give some pink films a look soon. They’re very unlike anything produced in the west in my opinion.

    Robert – I haven’t seen Violated Angels, but it sounds really fascinating. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the film! Hopefully I’ll be able to see it soon.

    Ed – I hope you’ll enjoy the movie! I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts about about it which I hope you share in your own blog.

    Johnathan – I think you’ll find that Pinku films are a lot more subversive and transgressive than films from the British New Wave (or kitchen sink dramas). I really wish I could speak Japanese and French! Sadly – as M.S. pointed out above – I’m only fluent in English and even that’s debatable. 😉

    My father spoke Italian, but he passed away before teaching me anything. My mom and dad were both 1st generation Americans (My mom’s family was British/Irish) and at family get-togethers my grandparents would speak Italian and English with a thick British accent so I sort of grew up with an International mindset in some ways I suppose.

  10. AR says:

    I should have explained that Goranson doesn’t really write traditional reviews, but is trying to pick apart elements that relate to his theory on narrative “folding.” His particular language and way of seeing makes more sense the more comments you read (and is actually more sensical than Derrida or Zizek, who ceaselessly manage to confound me). I don’t always agree with what he sees either, but I will say his concepts have made me much more aware of certain elements in my own viewing.

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