The unusual use of Pink
Japanese kamikaze pilots flew suicide missions in WWII in planes packed with explosives. Cherry blossoms (sakura) painted on the planes’ hulls served as an age-old Japanese homage to life’s transience. Just as the quick burst of a sakura’s petals drop to the ground, the thinking goes, so must warriors be ready to fall unquestionably in battle.
Self-sacrifice in wartime has a female face, too: Yamato Nadeshiko, the Japanese feminine ideal, named for the willowy-pink Nadeshiko flower native to the region. (Yamato is an ancient and soul-stirringly nostalgic name for Japan.) Normally lovely, silent, and submissive, Yamato Nadeshiko occasionally brandishes hertakeyari (bamboo spear) in WWII propaganda, ready to kill anyone who threatens her family or her honor.
Why are women drawn to pink, anyway? Because it matches their pudenda, says Esquire’s Answer Fella— not before enlisting professors at Emory, Colby College, and Harvard to back him up. Engorged tissue, orgasmic flush, and fertility are all conjured with a blush of pink. Then again, hoo-has aren’t universally cheery. Arty Japanese erotic movies called “pink films” (pinku eiga) were produced in response to censorship laws from the 1960s through the 1980s; since it was now forbidden to display either pubic hair or other “working parts” during sex, porn had to get viewers thinking dirtier instead. Pink films like Go, Go, Second Time Virgin; Flower & Snake; and Daydream are moody masterpieces of the genre, as alienated from a pink peek of vagina as you can get.