The Naked Director
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|The Naked Director|
Promotional release poster
|Based on||Zenra Kantoku Muranishi Toru Den |
by Nobuhiro Motohashi
|Country of origin||Japan|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||39–54 minutes|
|Picture format||4K (16:9 UHDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||August 8, 2019 –|
The Naked Director (Japanese: 全裸監督, Hepburn: Zenra Kantoku) is a Japanese semi-biographical comedy-drama web television series co-directed by Masaharu Take. Based on the non-fiction novel Zenra Kantoku Muranishi Toru Den (全裸監督 村西とおる伝) by Nobuhiro Motohashi, it tells the story of Japanese adult video director Toru Muranishi. The series premiered on Netflix on August 8, 2019. It stars Takayuki Yamada as Muranishi, alongside Shinnosuke Mitsushima and Tetsuji Tamayama. On August 15, 2019, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.
The Naked Director follows the story of "Muranishi's unusual and dramatic life filled with big ambitions as well as spectacular setbacks in his attempt to turn Japan's porn industry on its head."
Cast and characters
- Takayuki Yamada as Toru Muranishi
- Shinnosuke Mitsushima as Toshi Arai
- Tetsuji Tamayama as Kawada
- Ryo Ishibashi as Ikezawa, head of the largest pornography company
- Lily Franky as Takei, a high-ranking police officer
- Misato Morita as Megumi/Kaoru Kuroki
- Jun Kunimura as Furuya, a yakuza
- Takenori Goto as "Rugby"
- Tokio Emoto as Kosuke Mitamura
- Sairi Ito as Junko
- Koyuki as Kayo, Megumi's mother
- Kimiko Yo as Kozue Muranishi, Toru's mother
- Pierre Taki as Wada
- Nanami Kawakami as Miku
- Ami Tomite as Naoko
- Takato Yonemoto as Jimmy
- Itsuji Itao as Ono
- Jade Albany Pietrantonio as Allison Mandy
- Ruri Shinato as Sachiko (Toru Muranishi's first wife)
English version dubbing cast
- James McCauley as Toru Muranishi
- David Blue as Toshi Arai
- Christopher Swindle as Ikezawa
- Eric Tiede as Kawada
- JJ Dunlap as "Rugby"
- Curt Mega as Kosuke Mitamura
- Siera Casey as Junko
- Keith Silverstein as Takei
- Maurice LaMarche as Furuya
- Miranda Parkin as Naoko
- Mark Hildreth as Ono
- Mimi Torres as Miku
- Dahlia Salem as Kayo
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"The Hidden Side"||Masaharu Take||Yoshitatsu Yamada, Eiji Uchida, Kosuke Nishi & Kana Yamada||August 8, 2019|
|On the verge of losing his job in 1980 Sapporo, Toru Muranishi finally finds his knack selling English encyclopedias after learning from a senior salesman. However, he discovers his wife sleeping with another man as he fails to satisfy her sexually. He then partners up with Toshi, a peddler of audio recordings featuring unsuspecting couples having sex at a hotel, to utilize his salesman skills.|
|2||"Uncensored"||Eiji Uchida||Yoshitatsu Yamada, Kosuke Nishi & Kana Yamada||August 8, 2019|
|Muranishi and Toshi decide to start selling pornographic magazines and open up their own chain of bookstores throughout Hokkaido. However, they then partner with a man named Kawada to publish their own uncensored magazine, which is illegal in Japan. Although they initially pay the police off with bribes, cops eventually try to arrest Muranishi at his house, but he escapes.|
|3||"Shake Things Up"||Masaharu Take||Eiji Uchida, Yoshitatsu Yamada & Kosuke Nishi||August 8, 2019|
|Muranishi and Toshi managed to keep their company running while on the run from the police. However, after returning to Sapporo in 1982, they are arrested after being set up by their employees. Upon being released and seeing the success of videocassette recorders and pornographic home videos, they reunite with Kawada and decide to make their own films in 1984 Tokyo.|
|4||"The Real Thing"||Eiji Uchida||Yoshitatsu Yamada & Kosuke Nishi||August 8, 2019|
|After learning that Ikezawa had him arrested, Muranishi steals an actress from his company to star in a film based on Muranishi's own sexual encounter. It is made with the actors having unsimulated sex, unheard of in Japanese porn. Ikezawa has the actress arrested and Muranishi's company, Sapphire Pictures, blacklisted in the industry.|
|5||"Blossoming"||Masaharu Take||Yoshitatsu Yamada, Eiji Uchida & Kosuke Nishi||August 8, 2019|
|Things are looking even more grim for Muranishi and Sapphire when Ikezawa and other porn companies form the Japan Video Regulation Commission to self-regulate the industry. However, the young Megumi contacts him wanting to star in a film after liberating herself from her strict mother. That same day Muranishi makes an unconventional porno with her under the stage name Kaoru Kuroki, utilizing a whistle, sadomasochism and himself as her co-star. However, Megumi's mother enlists the commission and sues, with Muranishi willingly agreeing to stop sale of the tape.|
|6||"Delusions of Grandeur"||Hayato Kawai||Kosuke Nishi, Yoshitatsu Yamada & Eiji Uchida||August 8, 2019|
|In a last ditch effort to save Sapphire Pictures, Muranishi and his crew travel to Hawaii to film a Hollywood-like action porno with Western porn star Allison Mandy. The project was financed by Megumi returning her payment for her recalled debut film. However, the Japanese crew are arrested by the FBI at the wrap party.|
|7||"Don't Dream It's Over"||Hayato Kawai||Kosuke Nishi, Yoshitatsu Yamada & Eiji Uchida||August 8, 2019|
|In order to raise bail money for Muranishi, who was arrested on false visa fraud charges, Toshi has Furuya sell an uncensored version of their first film without telling the others, but in exchange must get involved in the yakuza life himself. At the same time, Megumi helps by allowing the legal sale of her debut film and publicly promoting it.|
|8||"A Sexual Revolution"||Hayato Kawai||Kosuke Nishi, Yoshitatsu Yamada & Eiji Uchida||August 8, 2019|
|Now famous, Megumi makes regular TV appearances giving her outspoken views on sex and society, with Muranishi eventually joining her. Due to Sapphire's success, the video commission lifts the ban on their videos and loosens their regulations to allow unsimulated sex. Toshi has become addicted to drugs, is put in charge of Furuya's uncensored porn racket, and is fired from Sapphire. He and Ikezawa are then arrested as the police crack down on crime at the end of the Shōwa era. Ikezawa commits suicide in jail, while Toshi is warmly greeted by Furuya upon his release and Sapphire Pictures expands as the new leaders of porn.|
Executive producer Kazutaka Sakamoto came across Nobuhiro Motohashi's Zenra Kantoku Muranishi Toru Den in early 2017. A director friend of his had been trying to adapt it, but gave up and hoped Sakamoto could make it happen at Netflix. Although mainly taking place in the 1980s, Netflix expected it to be universal and relevant to contemporary viewers, and that it be a compelling underdog story. After the production was green-lit, Sakamoto brought in Jason George, a producer on the Netflix series Narcos, as a consultant. He wanted George's advice on depicting an outlaw character that viewers can empathize with and how to make sure the sex scenes would not come across as gratuitous or disrespectful to women. The discussions were so fruitful that Sakamoto had George supervise the script too.
On October 25, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of eight episodes. It was the first production for Netflix's Japanese branch. The series is co-directed by Masaharu Take and co-written by Kosuke Nishi, Yoshitatsu Yamada and Eiji Uchida. Mark Schilling reported that with "a generous (but undisclosed) budget", the writing team spent nearly a year crafting the script. The Nikkei reported that The Naked Director is estimated to have cost 100 million yen per episode, in contrast to most Japanese TV shows which cost tens of millions of yen per episode.
Take stated that without Netflix, the project would not have been realized as it would have been hard to get it on Japanese television. He said that the story is a mix of true story and fiction, as Muranishi told them they could be as free with the facts as they wanted as long as it was interesting. Uchida wrote "I believe that Japanese films have to change. They have to look outward and overseas. This series was made with just that thought in mind."
On August 15, 2019, the series was renewed by Netflix for a second season. In January 2020, The Nikkei wrote that the season will follow Muranishi's downfall, mirroring Japan's economic slump of the early 1990s, and was expected to be released in 2021.
Alongside the initial series announcement, it was confirmed that Takayuki Yamada, Shinnosuke Mitsushima and Tetsuji Tamayama would star in the series. Take revealed that Yamada was attached to the show from the very beginning, and said that Misato Morita "totally became Kuroki in her mind. She didn't resemble her, but her voice became exactly the same." In July 2019, it was announced that Jade Albany Pietrantonio would star in the series.
On June 25, 2019, the official trailer for the series was released.
Describing the show as a "raucous sex comedy and action-packed underworld narrative in [a] tale of a pornographic revolution," Brenden Gallagher of The Daily Dot gave The Naked Director 3 1⁄2 out of 5 stars. He praised the show for immersing the audience in Japanese culture, Yamada's performance, and the writing for melding humor and emotion. However, he criticized some of the supporting cast for being unable to balance the seriousness and humor. Unlike Gallagher however, The Daily Beast's Jordan Julian called the show's switching between comedy and drama "whiplash-inducing at times" but said as the season progresses it begins to "feel more like a crime show than anything else—a Japanese interpretation of Breaking Bad." John Serba of Decider called the first episode "funny and colorful", Yamada a strong lead, and the supporting cast "mostly inspired", and recommended the show. Both Serba and Gallagher compared The Naked Director to Californication.
The Naked Director received criticism for depicting Kaoru Kuroki under her actual stage name without her permission. Kuroki retired from public life in 1994 and has successfully sued publishers for privacy infringement. Netflix stated that neither Kuroki nor Muranishi were involved in the production and that the series is merely an adaptation of Motohashi's book.
Masae Ido of Gendai Business criticized the series for depicting Muranishi as a sexual liberator and advocate for women despite his real-life opinion, such as a tweet that said "The women lawyers who spearhead the feminist movement on the forced porn appearance issue all look like they attract no men", which she found "divergent" from the depiction. Iku Okada of Newsweek Japan found advertisements for the series to be "glorifying the sex industry of a period where unjust exploitation was commonplace", and said that the character of Muranishi "never reflects on his own shameful revenge or the misogyny that can be felt behind it".
- Li, Nicolaus (August 17, 2019). "Netflix Renews 'The Naked Director' For Second Season". Hypebeast. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
- "Man who revolutionised Japan porn industry subject of new Netflix series". AsiaOne. June 13, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Gallagher, Brenden (January 18, 2020). "Netflix's taboo-busting 'Naked Director' upends Japan TV industry". The Nikkei. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- ""I'm going to be an AV director Takayuki Yamada" delivered by "Future Director" Netflix drawn by half of Toru Muranishi". Natalie (in Japanese). October 25, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Schilling, Mark (October 26, 2018). "Netflix's 'Naked Director' to Star Japan's Takayuki Yamada". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Salvi, Pooja (June 30, 2019). "'The Naked Director': Release date, plot, cast, trailer, and everything else you need to know about the Japanese original series". Meaww. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- Snowden, Heather (June 25, 2019). "The Full 'Naked Director' Trailer Gives Us an Insight to the Japanese Porn Industry". High Snobiety. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Schilling, Mark (September 12, 2019). "With 'The Naked Director,' Japan scores a global Netflix hit". The Japan Times. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Schilling, Mark (August 7, 2019). "'The Naked Director': A story of naked ambition and dubious morals". The Japan Times. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
- White, Peter (July 16, 2019). "'American Playboy's Jade Albany Pietrantonio To Star In Netflix's Japanese Original 'The Naked Director'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Chin, Mallory (June 25, 2019). "Netflix Drops Full Trailer for 'The Naked Director'". Hypebeast. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
- Gallagher, Brenden (August 6, 2019). "'The Naked Director' is a raucous, gritty tale of Japan's pornographic revolution". The Daily Dot. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Julian, Jordan (August 9, 2019). "Netflix's 'The Naked Director': The Life of Toru Muranishi, the Notorious Pornographer Who Scandalized Japan". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Serba, John (August 9, 2019). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'The Naked Director' on Netflix, a Lurid and Funny Japanese Porn Story". Decider. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Nakagawa, Toshiko (September 2, 2019). 実在の人物を出す重み ドラマ「全裸監督」 元AV女優に映像化の同意を得たのか. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Machi, Kanko (August 19, 2019). 話題沸騰、山田孝之主演ドラマ『全裸監督』黒木香さんの同意は？Netflixに聞いてみた. Joshi Spa! (in Japanese). Fusosha. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Kuboki, Rin (October 22, 2019). 伝説のAV女優・黒木香は「全裸監督」ヒットに何を思うのか…過去には出版社相手の裁判も. Bengo4.com (in Japanese). Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Ido, Masae (September 9, 2019). 大ヒットドラマ「全裸監督」の重要論点〜AV産業は昭和を引きずり…. Gendai Business (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Okada, Iku (October 24, 2019). 話題作『全裸監督』が黙して語らぬ、日本のミソジニー（女性憎悪）. Newsweek Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- Ikemori, Rizenu (December 26, 2019). 【森下くるみ×伊藤和子弁護士対談】『全裸監督』黒木香さんから考える「AV女優の人権」とは. Cyzo Woman (in Japanese). Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- "Ex-porn star wins settlement in Japan". UPI. April 14, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
- 村西とおる [@Muranishi_Toru] (June 3, 2019). AV強要問題でフェミニズム運動の先陣をきっている女性弁護士のどちらさまも、男性には縁のなさそうな人たちに見える。セクシャルハラスメント反対を訴えたりもしているのだが、男性側からすれば「冗談言うな、お前さんなんかに触れるわけないだろう」のタイプ。男が悪い、に美人がいないのが悩ましい (Tweet) (in Japanese) – via Twitter.