Subuyan—frantically busy not quite successful professional pornographer of Osaka—is at heart a simple man who wants only to make world a little happier. He is a pornographer with a dream, doing his small best to alleviate the sorrows of mankind, as least insofar as they afflict the wealthy man and large corporations who are his clients (a humanistic point of view not shared by his chief cameraman, Banteki, who is a firm believer in Art for Art’s Sake).
Burdened by the eternal problems of the small business man (shoddy workmanship, equipment breakdowns, the difficulty of finding decent help, customers who won’t pay their bills), Subuyan and Bantaki struggle to maintain their moral and aesthetic standards in an immoral and careless world.
With ironic humor and a sharp compassion, The Pornographers follows its oddly endearing hero through a succession of tragicomic encounters—with the rich and sometimes treacherous clients to whom he purveys a bewildering diversity of artifacts and entertainments; with the synthetic schoolgirls he recruits from among Osaka’s thirteen Veteran Virgins; with infuriating technical problems (tape recorders more sensitive to the interference of ham radios than to the sounds of love-making in the adjoining apartment); with idiot film actors incapable of following the simplest script. But Subuyan’s cheerful humanism prevails against all frustrations—in a novel that is rich in comic invention, unflinching in its acceptance of life, a brilliant modern extravaganza in a classic tradition.