Journey to Japan (1973)
- Also known as
- Poruno no joô: Nippon sex ryokô
- Takeo Kaneko, Sadao Nakajima
- Sadao Nakajima
- Ichirô Araki, Christina Lindberg
Any time I sit down to watch a film for review, there’s a risk I’ll sit there ninety minutes later staring at an blank notebook page and nothing interesting to say about the film. Usually, I just move on to the next film, but I thought I’d make an exception for Journey to Japan, just to see if I can find anything to say about it that isn’t either boring or obvious. Let’s see.
The film stars Christina Lindberg (whom regular readers will remember from such films as Exposed and Thriller – en grym film) as Ingrid, a young Swedish girl who comes to Japan to deliver a package for some legitimate business men. Unfortunately, Ingrid steps into the cab of nebbishy Ichirô Araki, an emotionally and socially stunted young man, whose days are spent looking at porn and building bombs. Araki takes her to his apartment and rapes her. He keeps her chained up, but she manages to escape and falls into the clutches of a strange group (one of whom speaks Swedish, commenting on Sweden being free because it’s a welfare state) who gang rape her. After which she moves back in with Araki and they fall in love.
One of the few things I scribbled down during Journey to Japan was “Rape is love”. While Journey takes the long way to “love”, via guilt and remorse, that’s still the basic jist of the film. I will say this for the Journey to Japan: by virtue of trying to combine bad comedy with rape fantasy, and by trying to make the viewer sympathise with a rapist, it does at least manage to be strange. But there’s not really any plot here, and the characters are all broadly drawn ciphers, leaving no place for the weirdness to go.