Daisuke Itô – Hangyakuji AKA The Conspirator (1961)



During an era of civil wars, in the 7th year of Tenso, Yoshimoto Imagawa was overthrown by Oda Nobunaga with the help of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Ieyasu’s wife, Lady Tsukiyama, was of the ruined Imagawa clan. She was basically abandoned by Ieyasu lest his fealty with Oda Nobunaga be doubted. Ieyasu’s son, half Tokugawa & half Imagawa, was married to Oda’s first daughter Tokumine Gozen, to further assure Oda that there would be no attempt at revenge over the downfall of the Imagawa clan. Continue reading

Yasuo Furuhata – Eki Station aka Station (1981)


A very beautiful film. This is a Ken Takakura vehicle, and as such follows his formula. Takakura plays to type as the laconic brooder who suffers multiple tragedies with manly stoicism. While the variety of his film varied greatly, his films with director Yasuo Furuhata were always of the highest quality, and this is no exception. Takakura is a cop training to be a sharpshooter for the Olympic games, he divorces his wife and abandons his daughter when he discovers she’s had an affair. Later his coach is gunned down by a fleeing criminal. Years later Takakura returns to his snowy hometown and starts an affair with a middle-aged bar owner. The story is a bit thick, with a number of subplots, yet it is extrordinarily melancholic, as Takakura seems to regret everything he’s done in his life and is made over and over again to relive his mistakes. There is very little “action” as such, and no yakuzas of any kind; but beyond that this is one of the most lushly beautiful and emotional films you can see (if you can see it), with an excellent score by Ryudo Uzaki. Continue reading

Yasuo Furuhata – Gokuchu no kaoyaku AKA Prison Boss (1968)


Ken Takakura stars in yet another bad-ass Prison film, in “Prison Boss”. Here, rival gangs battle it out over ownership of a bicycle race track. The outside life for the yakuza mimics prison life in two respects,…. First, there are rules that must never be crossed and second, when opportunity arises, the rules will always be broken. Continue reading

Claude Gagnon – Keiko (1979)


Keiko is a 23-year-old lonely virgin who lives in a tiny room, and hopes to meet someone in the cafe she frequents. After a bad affair with one of the other diners, she vows to give up men. She then begins a happy lesbian relationship with her co-worker Kazuyo. However she is under constant pressure from her father to marry. Continue reading

Hisayasu Sato – Rafureshia AKA Sukebe-zuma: otto no rusu ni (1995)

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From The Director Of Survey Map Ofia Paradise Lost And Love-Zero=Infinity

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the sledgehammer style of Hisayasu Sato helped redefine Japanese erotic cinema with carefully constructed characters that would walk the fine line between decadence and innocence. Known for his guerrilla techniques, using a style born out of constricted budgets, Sato’s raw camerawork accurately depicts the reality of modern life.

Rafureshia, or as it is also known, Wife in Heat: While Husband Is Away, is the darkly humorous story of three very different women and their search through their sexuality into the freedom that lies beyond it. Continue reading

Teruo Ishii – Bôhachi bushidô: Poruno jidaigeki AKA Bohachi: Clan of the Forgotten Eight [+Extras] (1973)

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To die is hell, but to live is also hell.

Japanese cult movie guru Teruo Ishii (HORROR OF MALFORMED MEN; BLIND WOMAN’S CURSE) directs this deranged, over-the-top adaptation from the original manga by Kazuo Koike (creator of LONE WOLF AND CUB, LADY SNOWBLOOD and RAZOR HANZO) about a privileged samurai gang in charge of recruiting women for prostitution in old Edo’s pleasure quarter. It’s a perfect match for unapologetically decadent, phantasmagorical, softcore sex and bloody, sword-swinging sadism. Fascinating, brilliant and amoral, a tour through an ancient subculture obsessed with cruel, violent death and cruel, violent sex. Tetsuro Tanba (ZERO WOMAN: RED HANDCUFFS, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) is a standout as the hardboiled mercenary swordsman caught in the middle between the sex slave business, the corrupt Shogunate and rival gangs. When he goes into action, blood sprays, and heads and limbs fly! Continue reading

Yuuji Makiguchi – Tokugawa onna keibatsu-emaki: Ushi-zaki no kei aka Shogun’s Sadism aka Joy of Torture 2: Oxen Split Torture (1976)

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a review
by Ian Jane

I don’t know what it is with Japanese cinema and it’s affinity for violence and cruelty, but man, when they pull out all the stops they sure do a damn good job of grossing me out. This movie, Shogun’s Sadism (Ushiaki No Kei), is one of those times.

Essentially what we have are two stories, totally unrelated to each other, that exist for the soul reason of piecing together assorted scenes of torture. You see, back in the sixties there was a very popular series of films entitled The Joy Of Torture (Tokugawa Onna Keibatsu-Shi) directed by Teruo Ishii. This series ran for a total of eight volumes and proved to be quite successful. Toei Studios cashed in with this film, directed by Yuji Makiguchi (which some people believe was a pseudonym for Tereo Ishii) and gave it a similar title – the film is also known as Oxen Split Torturing. Continue reading