Kinji Fukasaku

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Kinji Fukasaku
深作 欣二
Born (1930-07-03)3 July 1930
Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
Died 12 January 2003(2003-01-12) (aged 72)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Film director
Years active 1961–2003
Spouse(s) Sanae Nakahara
Awards See below

Kinji Fukasaku (深作 欣二 Fukasaku Kinji?, 3 July 1930 – 12 January 2003) was a Japanese film director and screenwriter.

He is known for directing the Japanese portion of the Hollywood film Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), yakuza films including the seminal Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973), samurai period pieces such as Shogun's Samurai (1978), and his controversial final film Battle Royale (2000). He was also known for his trademark shaky camera technique, which he used extensively in many of his films from the early 1970s.[1][2]

In 1997, he received the Purple Medal of Honor from the Japanese government for his work in film.[3]

Early life

Kinji Fukasaku was born in 1930 in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture as the youngest of five children.[4] When he was 15 years old, Fukasaku's class was drafted, and he worked as a munitions worker during World War II. In July 1945, the class was caught in artillery fire. Since the children could not escape artillery fire, they had to dive under each other in order to survive. The surviving members of the class had to dispose of the corpses[5] After the war, he spent much of his time watching foreign films.[6]


Fukasaku studied cinema at Nihon University, in the country's first film department, before switching to the literature department for scriptwriting his junior year. There he studied under Kogo Noda and Katsuhito Inomata. After graduating in 1953, Fukasaku became an assistant director at Toei in June 1954, where he worked under people such as Masahiro Makino and Yasushi Sasaki.[4]

Fukasaku made his directorial debut in 1961 with the two featurettes Wandering Detective: Tragedy in Red Valley and Wandering Detective: Black Wind in the Harbor, starring Sonny Chiba. His first feature length, for the New Toei subsidiary was High Noon for Gangsters that same year.[4] His first film for the Toei Company proper was The Proud Challenge the following year starring Kōji Tsuruta. He had his breakthrough hit in 1964 with Ken Takakura starring in Jakoman and Tetsu.[4] From 1966 to 1971, he created several modern gang films for Toei usually starring Tsuruta, such as Kaisanshiki (1967), Bakuto Kaisanshiki (1968) and Nihon Boryokudan: Kumicho (1969).

Thanks to a non-exclusive contract, he also directed Black Lizard, based on Yukio Mishima's stage adaptation of the Edogawa Rampo novel, and Black Rose Mansion for Shochiku both of which starred the transvestite actor Akihiro Miwa. In 1968 he directed The Green Slime, a United States-Japan science fiction co-production.[4]

In 1970, Fukasaku was recruited to direct the Japanese portion of another US-Japan film, Tora! Tora! Tora!, after Akira Kurosawa pulled out. Using his pay from the project, he bought the rights to adapt Under the Flag of the Rising Sun. The movie was critically acclaimed, even being selected as Japan's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 45th Academy Awards in 1972, although it was not accepted as a nominee. That year also saw the release of Street Mobster starring Bunta Sugawara, which resulted in Toei producer Koji Shundo selecting Fukasaku to direct a groundbreaking yakuza film.[4] Battles Without Honor and Humanity was released in 1973. Up to this point, Japan's many yakuza films had usually been tales of chivalry set in the pre-war period, but Fukasaku's ultra-violent, documentary-style film took place in chaotic post-War Hiroshima. A commercial and critical success, it gave rise to seven sequels by Fukasaku and three movies that are based on the series but directed by others. After directing several more yakuza films, Graveyard of Honor (1975), Cops vs. Thugs (1975), Yakuza Graveyard (1976), and Hokuriku Proxy War (1977), Fukasaku left the genre.[4]

He focused on historical epics; Shogun's Samurai (1978), The Fall of Ako Castle (1978), Samurai Reincarnation (1981); and science fiction; Message from Space (1978) and Virus (1980). Virus was Japan's most expensive production at the time, and became a financial flop. However, two years after it he directed the highly acclaimed comedy Fall Guy, winning both the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year and Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film of the Year. Fukasaku was chosen to direct 1989's Violent Cop, but a scheduling conflict caused him to pull out and Takeshi Kitano took over in his first directorial role.[7]

Near the end of his life, Fukasaku branched out into the world of video games by serving as the director of the Capcom/Sunsoft survival horror game Clock Tower 3. In 2000, Battle Royale was released. The highly controversial film received positive critical praise and became a major financial success, grossing ¥3.11 billion domestically.[8][9]

Fukasaku announced he had prostate cancer in September 2002.[3] In late December 2002, shortly after filming began on Battle Royale II: Requiem, he was hospitalized when his condition worsened. Fukasaku died at a Tokyo hospital on January 12, 2003, aged 72.[3] Having directed only a single scene, his son, Kenta took over the film.


Year Title Japanese Romanization
1961 Wandering Detective: Tragedy in Red Valley
aka Duel in The Valley
風来坊探偵 赤い谷の惨劇 Fūraibō tantei: akai tani no sangeki
Wandering Detective: Black Wind in the Harbor 風来坊探偵 岬を渡る黒い風 Fūraibō tantei: Misaki wo wataru kuroi kaze
Vigilante With a Funky Hat
aka Man with The Funky Hat
ファンキーハットの快男児 Fankii hatto no kaidanji
Vigilante With a Funky Hat: The 20,000,000 Yen Arm ファンキーハットの快男児 2千万円の腕 Fankii hatto no kaidanji: Nisenman-en no ude
High Noon for Gangsters
aka Villains in Broad Daylight
白昼の無頼漢 Hakuchu no buraikan
1962 The Proud Challenge 誇り高き挑戦 Hokori takaki chosen
Gang vs. G-men ギャング対Gメン Gangu tai Jii-men
1963 League of Gangsters ギャング同盟 Gyangu domei
1964 Jakoman and Tetsu
aka One-eyed Captain and Tetsu
ジャコ万と鉄 Jakoman to Tetsu
Wolves, Pigs and People 狼と豚と人間 Okami to buta to ningen
1966 The Threat 脅迫 Odoshi
The Secret of the Diamond / The Kamikaze Guy
Kamikaze Man: Duel at Noon
カミカゼ野郎 真昼の決斗 Kamikaze yarō: Mahiru no kettō
Rampaging Dragon of the North 北海の暴れ竜 Hokkai no Abare Ryū
1967 Ceremony of Disbanding 解散式 Kaisanshiki
1968 Gamblers' Ceremony of Disbanding 博徒解散式 Bakuto kaisanshiki
Black Lizard 黒蜥蝪 Kurotokage
Blackmail Is My Life 恐喝こそわが人生 Kyokatsu koso waga jinsei
The Green Slime ガンマ3号 宇宙大作戦 Gamma daisan go: Uchu dai sakusen
1969 Black Rose Mansion 黒薔薇の舘 Kurobara no yakata
Japan's Most Violent Gangs: Boss
aka Japan's Organized Crime Boss
日本暴力団 組長 Nihon boryokudan: Kumicho
1970 Bloodstained Clan Honor
aka Bloody Gambles
血染の代紋 Chizome no daimon
If You Were Young: Rage 君が若者なら Kimi ga Wakamono nara
Tora! Tora! Tora! トラ・トラ・トラ! Tora Tora Tora!
1971 Sympathy for the Underdog 博徒外人部隊 Bakuto gaijin butai
1972 Under the Flag of the Rising Sun 軍旗はためく下に Gunki hatameku moto ni
Street Mobster 現代やくざ 人斬り与太 Gendai yakuza: Hitokiri yota
Outlaw Killer: Three Maddog Killers 人斬り与太 狂犬三兄弟 Hitokiri yota: Kyoken san kyodai
1973 Battles Without Honor and Humanity
aka The Yakuza Papers (Volume 1)
仁義なき戦い Jinginaki tatakai
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima
aka The Yakuza Papers: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima (Volume 2)
仁義なき戦い 広島死闘篇 Jinginaki tatakai: Hiroshima shitō hen
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War
aka The Yakuza Papers: Proxy War (Volume 3)
仁義なき戦い 代理戦争 Jinginaki tatakai: Dairi senso
1974 Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Police Tactics
aka The Yakuza Papers: Police Tactics (Volume 4)
仁義なき戦い 頂上作戦 Jinginaki tatakai: Chojo sakusen
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Final Episode
aka The Yakuza Papers: Final Episode (Volume 5)
仁義なき戦い 完結篇 Jinginaki tatakai: Kanketsu hen
New Battles Without Honor and Humanity 新仁義なき戦い Shin jinginaki tatakai
1975 Graveyard of Honor 仁義の墓場 Jingi no hakaba
Cops vs. Thugs
aka Police vs. Violence Groups
県警対組織暴力 Kenkei tai soshiki boryoku
Gambling Den Heist 資金源強奪 Shikingen godatsu
New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head 新仁義なき戦い 組長の首 Shin Jinginaki tatakai: Kumicho no kubi
1976 Violent Panic: The Big Crash 暴走パニック 大激突 Boso panikku: Dai gekitotsu
New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Last Days 新仁義なき戦い 組長最後の日 Shin Jinginaki tatakai: Kumicho saigo no hi
Yakuza Graveyard
aka Yakuza Burial: Jasmine Flower
やくざの墓場 くちなしの花 Yakuza no hakaba: Kuchinashi no hana
1977 Hokuriku Proxy War 北陸代理戦争 Hokuriku dairi senso
Doberman Detective ドーベルマン刑事 Dōberman deka
1978 Shogun's Samurai
aka Yagyu Clan Conspiracy
柳生一族の陰謀 Yagyū ichizoku no inbō
Message from Space 宇宙からのメッセージ Uchū kara no messeiji
The Fall of Ako Castle 赤穂城断絶 Akōjō danzetsu
1980 Virus 復活の日 Fukkatsu no hi
1981 The Gate of Youth 青春の門 Seishun no mon
Samurai Reincarnation 魔界転生 Makai Tenshō
1982 Dotonbori River 道頓堀川 Dotonborigawa
Fall Guy 蒲田行進曲 Kamata koshin kyoku
1983 Theater of Life (directed one of three segments) 人生劇場 Jinsei gekijo
Legend of the Eight Samurai 里見八犬伝 Satomi hakkenden
1984 Shanghai Rhapsody 上海バンスキング Shanghai bansu kingu
1986 House on Fire 火宅の人 Kataku no hito
1987 Sure Death 4: Revenge 必殺IV 恨みはらします Hissatsu shi: Urami harashimasu
1988 A Chaos of Flowers 華の乱 Hana no ran
1992 The Triple Cross
aka The Day's Too Bright
いつかギラギラする日 Itsuka giragira suru hi
1994 Crest of Betrayal
aka Loyal 47 Ronin: Yotsuya Ghost Story
忠臣蔵外伝 四谷怪談 Chushingura Gaiden: Yotsuya kaidan
1999 The Geisha House おもちゃ Omocha
2000 Battle Royale バトル・ロワイアル Batoru Rowaiaru
2003 Battle Royale II: Requiem (directed one scene) バトル・ロワイヤル II: レクイエム 【鎮魂歌】 Batoru Rowaiaru: "Rekuiemu"



  1. Berra, John (2010). Directory of World Cinema: Japan (1 ed.). Bristol, UK: Intellect Books. p. 115. ISBN 1-84150-335-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Jane, Ian (30 January 2004). "Battle Royale II (Region 3)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 23 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Renowned director Fukasaku, of 'Battle Royale' fame, dies". The Japan Times. Retrieved 24 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Schilling, Mark (2003). The Yakuza Movie Book: A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films. Stone Bridge Press. pp. 43–45. ISBN 1-880656-76-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Kinji Fukasaku profile,; accessed 20 October 2014.
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  7. Schilling, Mark (2003). The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films. Stone Bridge Press. p. 39. ISBN 1-880656-76-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Violent movie opens despite protest". The Japan Times. Retrieved 24 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. J.T., Testar (June 2002). "Japan Goes to the Movies" (PDF). The Journal. p. 1. Retrieved 8 January 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 "Awards for Battle Royale (2000)". IMDB. Retrieved 24 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "12TH HORROR AND FANTASY FILM FESTIVAL (2001)". History Awards. San Sebastian Horror & Fantasy Film Festival. 2001. Retrieved 28 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links