Shōjo Tsubaki (少女椿, "The Camellia Girl") was a stock protagonist of kamishibai during its revival in early Shōwa period Japan attributed to a creator known as Seiun, though the plagiarism and retelling in sundry variants that was the norm for popular-proving tales make its origin uncertain.
The comics and film's version of the story follows the misadventures of a girl called Midori who, after losing her mother, joins a funfair freak show. She is harassed, abused and humiliated by everyone else in the show, until the appearance of a dwarf magician-hypnotist. Generally speaking, the character is a stereotypical adolescent or preadolescent ingénue, a daughter of a penniless family who goes from selling camellias on the streets to being sold, forced to perform in a revue show.
The character is known to western, and indeed contemporary Japanese, audiences predominantly by way of Suehiro Maruo's ero guro reinterpretation in comics including a graphic novel of the same name published in English translation as Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show and Hiroshi Harada's film based on Maruo's version, screened at film festivals and released on DVD-Video with English subtitles as Midori.
The graphic novel is considered a classic of Maruo's 1920s-inspired brand of ero guro and its out-of-print English edition has become much sought-after; the film is also infamous in itself and for the elaborate expanded cinema presentations it was originally only shown in, though it has been allowed to screen in conventional movie theaters and even released on home video outside Japan. A live action film adaptation of the manga was released in Japan in May 2016.