Q: Which film directors most influenced you?
A: Jean Luc Godard, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Sone. Especially Mr. Chusei Sone. I love him.
Q: Which directors were at Nikkatsu when you were there?
A: Chusei Sone especially, and Noboru Tanaka, Tatsumi Kumashiro, Toshiya Fujita, Shogoro Nishimura, etc... I shouldn't say this in front of a lady, but I was called a "prostitute on a busy pitch". A busy prostitue, it means... (laughs) It's an old and unattractive expression, but it was part of the jargon at the studio. They called me a prostitute on piece work because I worked on so many different shoots without any fixes schedule. Normally, one person worked for just one director as his assistant. But I wasn't given any particular director and had to work for everyone. I worked for Chusei Sone and Masaru Konuma more often than anyone else.
Q: (How was your relationship with them?)
A: We all had a good relationship with each other. We didn't have any money though. The wages were very low, it was almost half the average of a university graduate's salary at the time. And sometimes we didn't even get all that because the company had to borrow half of our wages. We couldn't even afford to eat outside, so we had to go to the staff canteen. And after work, someone would have to take me to a bar and buy me drinks. It really was like that. I couldn't even think of tomorrow, I just immersed myself in filmmaking.
Q: (How about screenplays?)
A: I worked on many screenplays. Well, in a roman porno, we shot 4 films a month and it came to 48 films a year. So even if the screenplay wasn't perect we just had to start shooting. Because the schedule was already fixed. Sometimes, if the director said the script was boring, I had to change it. I've rewritten many scripts. The release of all the films were already fixed in the program picture. It was a strict rule that the release date shouldn't be changed, so even if the script wasn't perfect, we just had to get on with shooting it. So I had to tidy up many scripts. The producers handled the budgeting side, and I was just given a certain period to complete the work, which was 2 weeks in the beginning. I was given 10 days for the last one I shot. Usually, shooting went on for 2 weels, but then came the actors' post-recording, so including the period we spent on sound, I guess it was about a month. Post-production took about 2 to 3 weeks.
Q: What do you think of Chusei Sone?
A: I was a screenwriter and an assistant director on the first "Angel Guts", which was shot by Chusei Sone. And I was also an assistant director on Tanaka's "Angel Guts". Funnily enough, it really was a coincidence. I can understand why he wanted to and why he had to make the series so extreme. That series definitely had an impact on Roman Porno history as well as on the audience. Chusei Sone is a genius. He really is a true genius. The three of us, me, Shinji Somai who has passed away, and Kichitaro Negishi were Chusei Sone's assistant directors. We were all tremendously influenced by him. Anyway he was incredible. It was indescribable. Somai and I normally waited for Chusei Sone in the morning to get the script we were going to work on that day. When he came in, he gave us the updated manuscript and sometimes whole pages were completely crossed out. Tremendous. Because we got to see the original script beforehand we also noticed how badly some scripts were written. As we were wondering what he was going to do about it he'd just turn up in front of us, and dramatically throw pages away. Of course, they prepared a new script immediately, but we then needed to get different cast members and sets in a rush. We were stunned, but at the same time had a deep admiration for his charisma and we were eager to assist him in anyway we could. He really was an amazing director. I miss him...