PSYCHOTRONIC PERSONAS: MEIKO KAJII
I have only actually seen the diminutive but powerful Meiko Kaji in a couple films but am in the process of correcting that. I saw her in three of the four Female Scorpion films she starred in and the second of the Lady Snowblood movies that served as a (not “the”) inspiration for the Quentin Taratino Kill Bill films. She is my favorite of the Pinky Violence Big Four (Meiko Kaji, Ike Reiko, Oshida Reiko and Sugimoto Riki) but maybe only because I have seen her in more films than the others. I am trying to get as many of these films as I can and see if that opinion changes later. I selected her to begin this new series/category called Psychotronic Personas since I had just seen Lady Snowblood II and got a collection of 60’s/70’s Japanese film music that featured her among the various artists. I also have a collection featuring Ike Reiko and I seem to prefer the recordings I have of Meiko Kaji because all the tracks on the Ike Reiko album have some orgasmic moaning sounds in the background ground on every track. While cool for one track it wore thin after five or six. And that is one of the reasons I would prefer Kaji over someone like Ike Reiko whose delinquent films roles blurred over into her private life resulting in runs with the law eventually. Kaji showed some restraint and prudence in her judgments and performances that I admire.
Like many Japanese actors and actresses her acting career paralleled a successful singing career. I have uploaded three sample songs of her singing style. (NOTE: Those songs are temporarily unavailable and I will try to get them up soon.) Two of the songs are from the Kill Bill soundtracks and the third is from a collection I have here of Japanese film songs. After the 80’s Kaji’s career shifted to television roles and she has experienced a bit of a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Tarantino films and the availability of her old Nikattsu and Toei films on DVD. She created some dark and strong female characters who seemed more concerned with revenge and justice than pleasures of the flesh. She was beautiful and alluring but somehow one does not see her as a sex object. She is sexy but aloof and seemingly uninterested in romance. Like a true lone wolf.
BLOSSOMING NIGHT DREAMS TITLE SONG