Yōichi Sai (崔 洋一, Sai Yōichi, 6 July 1949 – 27 November 2022) was a Korean film director who worked in Japan.[3][4] He was the president of the Directors Guild of Japan.[5]

Yōichi Sai
Born(1949-07-06)6 July 1949
Died27 November 2022(2022-11-27) (aged 73)[1][2]
Tokyo, Japan
OccupationFilm director
Korean name
Revised RomanizationChoe Yang-il
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Yang'il

Life and career


Sai was born on 6 July 1949 in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. His mother was Japanese and his father was Zainichi Korean.[6]

Sai won the Best Screenplay award at the 11th Yokohama Film Festival for A Sign Days.[7]

In 1999, he shot The Pig's Retribution, a film set in the lavish natural scenery of Okinawa, inspired by the 1996 Akutagawa Prize-winning eponymous novel by Eiki Matayoshi. The film won the Don Quixote prize at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1999.[citation needed]

Sai directed Blood and Bones, a film starring Takeshi Kitano.[8] He has also directed films such as Marks,[9] Doing Time,[10] Quill,[11] Soo[12] and Kamui Gaiden.[13]

As an actor, Sai appeared in Nagisa Oshima's 1999 film Taboo[14] and Masahiko Nagasawa's 2003 film The Thirteen Steps.[15]

Sai's 2004 film Blood and Bones won four Japanese Academy Awards, including two for Sai himself, for Best Director and Best Screenplay. He had previously received two nominations in the same categories for All Under the Moon.[citation needed]

Sai died of bladder cancer at his home in Tokyo, on 27 November 2022, at the age of 73.[6]



As director




As actor

  • Taboo (1999)
  • The Thirteen Steps (2003)


  1. ^ "OBITUARY of Sai Yoichi". 35th Tokyo International Film Festival. 22 November 2023.
  2. ^ Shimbun, Yomiuri (28 November 2022). "Film director Yoichi Sai dies of cancer at 73". The Japane News.
  3. ^ "[추모] 최양일 감독: 폭력으로 세상에 맞서다" (in Korean). 씨네 21. 8 December 2022.
  4. ^ Hartzheim, Bryan (1 June 2010). "Midnigth Eye interview: Yoichi Sai". Midnight Eye.
  5. ^ "An Interview with Sai Yōichi, President of the Directors Guild of Japan". Directors Guild of Japan. Spring 2007. Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  6. ^ a b "'90s Japanese film "All Under the Moon" director Yoichi Sai dies". Kyodo News. 27 November 2022. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  7. ^ 第11回ヨコハマ映画祭 1989年日本映画個人賞 (in Japanese). Yokohama Film Festival. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  8. ^ Hoover, Travis Mackenzie (October 2007). "Blood and Bones - Directed by Yoichi Sai - DVD Reviews - exclaim.ca". Exclaim!.
  9. ^ Eisner, Ken (19 November 1995). "Marks - Variety". Variety.
  10. ^ Mack, Andrew (22 November 2006). "DVD Review: Sai Yoichi's 'Doing Time' R1 Disc - Twitch". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  11. ^ Lindsay, Cam (June 2005). "Quill - Directed by Yoichi Sai - Film Reviews - exclaim.ca". Exclaim!.
  12. ^ Elley, Derek (4 October 2007). "Soo - Variety". Variety.
  13. ^ Scilling, Mark (18 September 2009). "'Kamui Gaiden' - The Japan Times". The Japan Times.
  14. ^ Smith, Neil (23 July 2001). "BBC - Films - review - Gohatto (Taboo)". BBC.
  15. ^ Klein, Andy (2 February 2003). "The Thirteen Steps". Variety.