‘The Naked Director’ is one of Netflix‘s many forays into documenting Japanese culture, and the streaming platform has chosen a unique topic to do so, that is, pornography. The eight-episode series attempts to track the culture of pornography in Japan through the 80s while showing how the culture of excess colored people’s perception towards what was acceptable or unacceptable within the porn industry.
Truth be told, the pornographic industry is a nebulous area for most of us, and though the end products are easily available and accessible, not much is known about what goes on behind the scenes. This is further compounded by Japan’s conservative culture, where pornography is heavily censored by the government. ‘The Naked Director‘ does not hesitate to shine a light on this, while tracing the astronomical rise of the porn director, Toru Muranishi, who not just revolutionized Japan’s porn industry, but one could say, revolutionized society as well, changing the thoughts about how adult videos should be viewed.
Here we take a closer look at what ‘The Naked Director’ tries to portray while trying to unpack how much of the story is true, and how much of it is the stuff of legends. Needless to say that the following section will contain SPOILERS, as we attempt to explain the ending of ‘The Naked Director’ and the possibility of a sequel.
Summary of the Plot
‘The Naked Director’ is just about the porn industry in Japan; it is much more than that. The first thing that we come to realize is that our protagonist, Toru Muranishi, is a salesman. His job might be to sell encyclopedias, but any salesman worth their salt has to learn quickly that it is not a product they are selling, but a dream. Muranishi is a quick study and swiftly rises through the ranks of his company when he unlocks the key to appealing to people’s desires and selling them their dreams. However, all this comes crashing down when it is implied that his jealous mentor frames him in an office robbery, and to top things off, he finds out that his wife is having an affair with another man since she does not feel pleasured by him.
When he is at his lowest, he meets a man named Toshi, who operates on the fringes of Japan’s porn industry, recording and selling tapes of people having sex. I believe ‘The Naked Director’ keeps making the point that Muranishi is a salesman above all else. He immediately recognizes this as an opportunity to sell an irresistible dream to the people by tapping into one of humanity’s strongest desires- the sexual desire. Although he starts off with tapes, he soon expands to include censored porno magazines (bini-bon) in his business. For those unaware, the ‘bini-bon’ magazines were a rage at that time since an alluring magazine would be wrapped in plastic, making one curious to find out what was inside. It was a marketing stroke of genius and Muranishi realized this.