When John Samson makes a crude (and racially loaded) pass at Michiko after his own dream experience, Michiko retorts with a reference to someone named “Abe Sada.” And who was Sada?
A real person, it turns out, whose activities were in fact significant enough for her to have a movie made about her, just as Michiko says. (The historical Sada is depicted in the picture to the left, after her arrest in 1936.) The movie is indeed called In the Realm of the Senses, made in 1976 by Nagisa Oshima. Sada is a former prostitute who starts a torrid affair with her boss, an inn-owner in 1930s Japan. In the movie she’s played by Eiko Matsuda.
Sada conducted a torrid affair with her employer, an inn owner named Kichizo Ishida (played in the movie by Tatsuya Fuji). Things apparently got pretty kinky and erotic asphixia got into the game.
…and eventually strangled him to death. (You have been warned that these practices are dangerous.)
Sada probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that much celebrity had it not been for what she did after asphixiating her lover.
She carried it with her for three days.
So implicitly, Michiko is responding to Samson’s crude overture with a suggestion that he be castrated. (Don’t mess with Michiko!) Sadly, Samson has been spending his life learning how to kill people and listening to talk radio, so he doesn’t get this rather subtle cultural reference.
I’m pleased, by the way, to be able to tell you that In the Realm of the Senses is now available in fine new editions from the Criterion Collection, so by all means give it a look in.