Under the Carp Banner (1992) from Tuna

This film is also known as: Chikan Waisetsu Nozoki

Kazuhiro Sana and his girlfriend Kanako Kishi decide to steal a car and go to visit her relatives at a country resort. The two are the epitome of westernized Japanese youth. They visit a hot tub resort in the off-season. Kishi's sister and her husband live there with their son, who has never matured past the day when he fell off the roof. He now spends all of his time waving a carp banner. The brother-in-law is impotent, and has decided that he is a water spirit, and speaks only in a made up language. His wife devotedly has learned this language. Our two heroes decide to show Tokyo to the carp boy, which proves to be a big mistake.

"Under the Carp Banner" is a Pinku, or Japanese Pink film made specifically for the porno houses. It was written, directed by, and starred Kazuhiro Sano, one of four prominent Pinku directors for Kokuei Company Ltd. Don't confuse these with the Pinky Violence films, which were more elaborate productions and part of the earlier "Roman Porn" movement. These Pinku films were shot in three days with a minuscule budget, and were made in two weeks. They were typically around an hour long, and had a sex scene every ten minutes.

A certain type of critic invariably finds some deep meaning in these, and this was no exception. From the back of the case:

"Under the Carp Banner interweaves stories, comic, bizarre and tragic, concerning the sexual alienation, violence and social disintegration, whose relevance has never been greater than it is today."

I agree completely with the above statement -- in other words, I didn't understand it either. Expert Jasper Sharp in his commentary cautions against people who find deep meaning in these, pointing out that they are porn films, not profound art films. He goes on to explain that this one does does have many homages to Japanese literature and culture, and does compare modern, urban, westernized Japanese youth to the more traditional people who live in the country.

Had I understood more of the literary allusions, and not been struggling with subtitles, I might have liked it better. As it was, I admired some of the visuals, but admit to being glad when it was over. Still, it gets credit for being the first of the Pinku films to be released in the US.  Now that this film is enjoying a US DVD release, we may start seeing more of them. 



  • there is a full-length commentary from an expert


  • Kanako Kishi, who was a favorite of Sano, shows breasts and buns in sex scenes and a pretty imaginative fellatio scene.

  • The unidentified actress playing the rural sister shows breasts in her two sex scenes. You should see what she does with a cucumber.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews on file


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb has a page for the film, but it is essentially blank
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, the genre is obscure Japanese erotica, and this is a C-.

Return to the Movie House home page