by Chris MaGee
It wasn't just a classic actor that we lost recently. On May 6th Oniroku Dan, the author of some 120 erotic and sadomasochistic novels and short stories including the popular "Flower and Snake" series, lost his battle with esophageal cancer. He was 79.
Dan was born Yukihiko Kuroiwa in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture. He would attend Kwansei Gakuin University, graduating with a degree in law, but Dan wouldn't spend much time in a court room. Instead he took a pen name based around the family name of actress Reiko Dan and "oni-roku", or "demon-sixth" as Dan felt he was possessed when he wrote, and the "sixth" because he was born in Showa 6 (1931).
Dan's first work appeared in the S&M-themed journal "Kitan Club" in 1961. Shortly thereafter he published "Flower and Snake, the novel that would cement not only his literary legacy, but his cinematic legacy as well. "Flower and Snake" would spawn a total of eight feature film adaptions and sequels directed by the likes of Masaru Konuma, Takashi Ishii and Yusuke Narita. Dan's work also formed the basis of such films as Kinji Fukasaku's "House on Fire" and Ryuichi Hiroki's "I Am an S&M Writer", to name only a few. Dan would also come to form close friendships with the actresses who portrayed the heroine's of these films. These included Naomi Tani and Aya Sugimoto who described the author as "a true gentleman, who brimmed over with love and eroticism and humor and genius."
A great loss indeed, and our deepest condolences go out to Dan-san's family and friends during this time. Thanks to The Tokyo Reporter for the details on Dan's life; and we leave you know with the trailer for the most recent sequel to "Flower and Snake" directed by Yusuke Narita.