Kinji Fukasaku (深作 欣二, Fukasaku Kinji, 3 July 1930 – 12 January 2003) was a Japanese film director and screenwriter who rose to prominence with a series of yakuza films. He directed the Japanese portion of the Hollywood war film Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), yakuza films including Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973), samurai period pieces such as Shogun's Samurai (1978), the space opera Message from Space (1978), the fantasy film Samurai Reincarnation (1981), and his final film Battle Royale (2000). He used a cinema verite-inspired shaky camera technique in many of his films from the early 1970s.
|Born||3 July 1930|
Mito, Ibaraki, Japan
|Died||12 January 2003 (aged 72)|
|Awards||Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year|
1982 Dotonbori River & Fall Guy
1987 House on Fire
1995 Crest of Betrayal
In 1997, he received the Purple Medal of Honor from the Japanese government for his work in film. Fukasaku's films inspired American film director Quentin Tarantino, most notably the inclusion of the Battles Without Honor and Humanity theme in Kill Bill. He was also an inspiration for director William Friedkin.
Kinji Fukasaku was born in 1930 in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture as the youngest of five children. 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 bombing. Since the children could not escape the bombs, they had to dive under each other in order to survive. The surviving members of the class had to dispose of the corpses. After the war, he spent much of his time watching foreign films.
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.
Fukasaku made his directorial debut in 1961 with the two featurettes Drifting Detective: Tragedy in the Red Valley and Drifting Detective: Black Wind in the Harbor, starring Sonny Chiba. His first feature-length film for the New Toei subsidiary was High Noon for Gangsters that same year. His first film produced in color was Gang vs. G-Men (1962). 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. From 1966 to 1971, he created several modern gang films for Toei usually starring Tsuruta, such as Kaisanshiki (1967), Bakuto Kaisanshiki (1968) and Japan Organized Crime Boss (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.
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. 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.
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 later he directed the acclaimed comedy Fall Guy, which won 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 Violent Cop (1989), but a scheduling conflict caused him to pull out and Takeshi Kitano took over in his first directorial role.
In 2000, Battle Royale was released. The film received positive critical praise and became a major financial success, grossing ¥3.11 billion domestically. It became a cultural phenomenon, creating the battle royale genre, a fictional narrative genre and/or mode of entertainment in which a select group of people are instructed to kill each off until there is a triumphant survivor. 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 (2002).
Fukasaku announced he had prostate cancer in September 2002. 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 12 January 2003, aged 72. Having directed only a single scene, his son, Kenta took over the film.
|1961||Drifting Detective: Tragedy in the Red Valley
a.k.a. Duel in the Valley
|風来坊探偵 赤い谷の惨劇||Fūraibō tantei: akai tani no sangeki|
|Drifting 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|
|Hepcat in the Funky Hat
a.k.a. Man with the Funky Hat
|ファンキーハットの快男児||Fankii hatto no kaidanji|
|Hepcat in the 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
a.k.a. 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||Gyangu tai Jii-men|
|1963||League of Gangsters
a.k.a. Gang Life
|1964||Jakoman and Tetsu
a.k.a. One-Eyed Captain and Tetsu
|ジャコ萬と鉄||Jakoman to Tetsu|
|Wolves, Pigs and Men
a.k.a. Wolves, Pigs and People
|狼と豚と人間||Okami to buta to ningen|
|Kamikaze Man: Duel at Noon
a.k.a. The Kamikaze Guy
|カミカゼ野郎 真昼の決斗||Kamikaze yarō: Mahiru no kettō|
|Rampaging Dragon of the North
a.k.a. North Sea Dragon
|北海の暴れ竜||Hokkai no Abare Ryū|
|1967||Ceremony of Disbanding||解散式||Kaisanshiki|
|1968||Gambler's Farewell||博徒解散式||Bakuto kaisanshiki|
|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 Organized Crime Boss||日本暴力団 組長||Nihon boryoku-dan: Kumicho|
|1970||Bloodstained Clan Honor
a.k.a. 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 Killers: Three Mad Dog Brothers||人斬り与太・狂犬三兄弟||Hitokiri yota: Kyoken san kyodai|
|1973||Battles Without Honor and Humanity
a.k.a. The Yakuza Papers (Volume 1)
|Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima
a.k.a. 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
a.k.a. 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
a.k.a. 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
a.k.a. 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
a.k.a. Police vs. Violence Groups
|県警対組織暴力||Kenkei tai soshiki boryoku|
|Gambling Den Heist
a.k.a. Cross the Rubicon!
|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: Last Days of the Boss||新仁義なき戦い 組長最後の日||Shin Jinginaki tatakai: Kumicho saigo no hi|
a.k.a. 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 Cop||ドーベルマン刑事||Dōberman deka|
a.k.a. 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|
a.k.a. Lovers Lost
|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
a.k.a. The Day's Too Bright
|いつかギラギラする日||Itsuka giragira suru hi|
|1994||Crest of Betrayal
a.k.a. Loyal 47 Ronin: Yotsuya Ghost Story
|忠臣蔵外伝 四谷怪談||Chushingura Gaiden: Yotsuya kaidan|
|1995||The Abe Clan||阿部一族||Abe ichizoku|
|1997||The Eaters||20世紀末黙示録 もの食う人びと||Yogoshitakunakattara hoteru puraza ni atsukau ka na ikotta nā|
|1998||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"|
Episodes of television seriesEdit
- 1974 Kinema Junpo Reader's Choice Award for Best Film - Battles Without Honor and Humanity
- 1976 Blue Ribbon Award for Best Director - Graveyard of Honor, Cops vs. Thugs
- 1982 Hochi Film Award for Best Film - Fall Guy
- 1983 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year - Fall Guy, Dotonbori River
- 1983 Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year - Fall Guy
- 1983 Blue Ribbon Award for Best Film - Fall Guy
- 1983 Blue Ribbon Award for Best Director - Fall Guy
- 1983 Mainichi Film Award for Best film - Fall Guy
- 1983 Mainichi Film Award for Best Director - Fall Guy
- 1983 Mainichi Film Award Reader's Choice Award - Fall Guy
- 1983 Kinema Junpo Reader's Choice Award for Best Film - Fall Guy
- 1983 Kinema Junpo Reader's Choice Award for Best Director - Fall Guy
- 1983 Kinema Junpo Reader's Choice Award for Best Film - Fall Guy
- 1985 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year - Legend of the Eight Samurai, Shanghai Rhapsody
- 1987 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year - House on Fire
- 1987 Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year - House on Fire
- 1987 Kinema Junpo Reader's Choice Award for Best Film - House on Fire
- 1993 Yokohama Film Festival Special Prize - career
- 1994 Nikkan Sports Film Award for Best Director - Crest of Betrayal
- 1995 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year - Crest of Betrayal
- 1995 Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year - Crest of Betrayal
- 1999 Nikkan Sports Film Award for Best Director - The Geisha House
- 2001 Japan Academy Prize Popularity Award - Battle Royale
- 2001 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year (Nomination) - Battle Royale
- 2001 Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year (Nomination) - Battle Royale
- 2001 Blue Ribbon Award for Best Film - Battle Royale
- 2001 Sitges Film Festival for Best Film (Nomination) - Battle Royale
- 2001 San Sebastián Horror & Fantasy Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film - Battle Royale
- 2003 Japan Academy Prize Special Award - career
- 2003 Blue Ribbon Award Special Award - career
- 2004 Mainichi Film Award Special Award - career
- "Kinji Fukasaku • Retrospective". Time Out Paris. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- Berra, John (2010). Directory of World Cinema: Japan (1 ed.). Bristol, UK: Intellect Books. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-84150-335-6.
- Jane, Ian (30 January 2004). "Battle Royale II (Region 3)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- "Renowned director Fukasaku, of 'Battle Royale' fame, dies". The Japan Times. 13 January 2003. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "Kinji Fukasaku • Retrospective". Time Out. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- "William Friedkin on Kinji Fukasaku". YouTube. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- Schilling, Mark (2003). The Yakuza Movie Book: A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films. Stone Bridge Press. pp. 43–45. ISBN 1-880656-76-0. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007.
- Kinji Fukasaku profile, midnighteye.com; accessed 20 October 2014.
- "Kinji Fukasaku, 72; Japanese Director of Edgy, Violent Films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Schilling, Mark (2003). The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films. Stone Bridge Press. p. 39. ISBN 1-880656-76-0. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007.
- "Violent movie opens despite protest". The Japan Times. 17 December 2000. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- J.T., Testar (June 2002). "Japan Goes to the Movies" (PDF). The Journal. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- "The Japanese Thriller That Explains 'Fortnite' and American Pop Culture in 2018". The Ringer. 19 July 2018.
- "Awards for Battle Royale (2000)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "12TH HORROR AND FANTASY FILM FESTIVAL (2001)". History Awards. San Sebastian Horror & Fantasy Film Festival. 2001. Retrieved 28 March 2012.