Fukasaku Kinji (深作欣二)
Kinji FUKASAKU (July 3, 1930 – January 12, 2003) was a Japanese movie director. He was from Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture. The actress Sanae NAKAHARA was his wife. The movie director Kenta FUKASAKU is his biological son.
His colleagues referred to him with the nickname 'Saku-san.'
Brief Personal History
Fukasaku graduated from Ibaraki University, Faculty of Education, attached to a Junior High School. After graduating from Mito No. 1 High School, he graduated from Nihon University Faculty of Arts.
In 1953, Fukasaku enters into Toei.
In 1961, Fukasaku debuts as a director with the movie "Furaibo Tantei - Akaitani no Sangeki" ("Wandering Detective - Tragedy in Red Valley") (Starring JJ Sonny CHIBA). He attracted attention with "Hokoritakaki Chosen" ("The Proud Challenge") (starring Koji TSURUTA). After that, he produced great pieces such as "Jakoman and Tetsu" and "Gunki hatameku motoni" ("Under the Flag of the Rising Sun").
When Akira KUROSAWA as the Japanese-side director of the US-Japan joint movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" decided to drop out in 1970, Toshio MATSUDA as the successor of Kurosawa strongly appeals to Kinji to a accept joint directorship.
In 1973, the series "Jingi naki tatakai" ("Battles Without Honour and Humanity") (script by Kazuo KASAHARA and starring Bunta SUGAWARA) becames a great hit, leaving Fukasaku's mark in movie history and consolidating his position as a leader of 'jitsuroku eiga' (actual filming movies). Later on as well, many of his pieces such as the television drama "Kizudarake no tenshi" ("Wounded Angel") (directing two parts), and the movies "The Shogun's Samurai : Yagyu Clan Conspiracy," "Kamata koshinkyoku"("Fall Guy") and "Battle Royale" became highly-discussed works.
In 1997, Fukasaku is awarded the Shiju hosho (medal of honor with purple ribbon).
During 2002, as the director of filming (in this case motion capture filming), Fukasaku finished the CG animation for the Playstation 2 game "Clock Tower 3" (the finished product becoming his posthumous work).
On January 12, 2003, Fukasaku dies from a transition of prostate cancer to the spine. He was posthumously awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, Fourth Class.
Fukasaku rejected the administration of anti-tumoral agents. Because he was worried that the side effects would lower his male functions.
After his death, the directing of the unfinished work, "Battle Royal II: Requiem," was taken over by Fukasaku's son, Kenta, who had been the producer of the film.
Fukasaku is often defined as a director of violent movies, triggered by the excessive violence that he experienced in war. The underlying idea, however, is that by depicting violence, Fukasaku was trying to renounce bloodshed and certainly not affirming it. It is believed that this is why he never changed his style even after received various criticisms.
He is often thought of as an action movie director, but he has left pieces in various fields such as the film adaptions of "Fukkatsu no hi" ("Virus"), originally by Sakyo KOMATSU, "Kataku no hito," originally by Kazuo DAN, historical pieces such as "The Shogun's Samurai : Yagyu Clan Conspiracy" and "Makai tensho" ("Samurai Reincarnation"), and "Omocha" ("The Geisha House"), ranging from literary works to science fiction.
These films are not only popular in Japan but also overseas. "Gamma daisan go: Uchu dai sakusen" ("The Green Slime") was distributed by MGM, and "Uchu kara no messeiji" ("Message from Space") was distributed by United Artists in the U.S. "Battle Royale" attracted attention in France and the UK and recorded top box offices sales in Hong Kong. Famous directors such as Quentin TARANTINO and John WOO have clearly stated how they admire Fukasaku.
It should be noted that other than "Omocha," all of Fukasaku's filmography is comprised of movies containing death scenes, suggesting that he was fascinated with death during his life.
Fukasaku was very energetic when it came to film making, and it is said that words such as 'Go!' 'Do it' and 'Die!' were almost all he said during the production of "Jingi naki tatakai." Fukasaku left a tradition of taking actors out to drink for months on end, even after long filming sessions that ended late at night, then continuing to film the next morning. Actors such as Bunta SUGAWARA, who had a strong constitution for alchohol fared well, but many actors who were not strong to alcohol had a hard time keeping up with Fukasaku. Sleep-deprived actors would use cold towels in attempt to relieve their swollen faces and wear sunglasses to hide their puffy eyes in order to continue with filming. Fukasaku was not a morning person, feeling better at night, and because filming continued until early hours, it was said that the 'Fuka-saku group' stood for 'Shinya-Sagyo group' ('late night work').
Fukasaku is also famous for choosing Hideo MUROTA, who had been deprived of any chance to appear on television, and Takuzo KAWATANI and Masaru SHIGA, who had been buried in supporting cast roles and making them known as the 'Piranha Platoon.'
Fukasaku was a fan of THE BLUE HEARTS and thought that their songs were similar in style with his movies. He especially liked 'The 1001 Violins' and this song was played during his funeral.
Events Surrounding His Death
Metastasis of prostate cancer to the spine is publicly announced. The production of "Battle Royale II" (tentative title) is announced.
Democratic Party of Japan (1998-) Diet member Koki ISHII, who had been vocal about the release of the previous movie, dies in front of his house after being knifed by a right-wing activist.
"Battle Royale II" (tentative title) filming begins.
Fukasaku is hospitalized for irradiation therapy two days earlier than scheduled because of pain from metastasis to the bone.
Receives scheduled irradiation therapy.
Catches pneumonia as a complication of a cold due to decreased strength.
Breathing on his own becomes difficult and he goes onto an artificial respirator. Temporarily put in critical condition.
Recovers to a temporary lull.
Filming restarts with Kenta FUKASAKU as substitute director.
Kenta FUKASAKU is officially appointed as substitute director.
The Toei Company President and Kenta FUKASAKU jointly appear to make comments. The president announces that he wants Kinji FUKASAKU to restart filming in early Febrary.
Fukasaku's condition worsens in the evening. Fukasaku's wife Sanae NAKAHARA, his son Kenta, and Bunta SUGAWARA visit him in the hospital. Keiko OGINOME asks to attend, but Fukasaku's wife Nakahara declines her request.
Fukasaku dies at 1am.
In the afternoon, a funeral and memorial ceremony are held at Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple. Bunta SUGAWARA delivers the memorial address. About 1100 fans and actors attend the ceremony. Around 1000 condolence telegrams are sent from people such as John WOO.
Filming restarts at Toei Studios in Higashioizumi.
The government makes the decision to award Fukasaku with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, Fourth Class.
Film set in Nishisonogi-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture is opened to the media.
Film set where Beat Takeshi participates in a scene is opened to the media.
A tunnel scene is filmed within the 'Seifukuji kanrozuido' sewage facilities owned by Taura-cho, Yokosuka City.
Filming scenes with actors finishes.
Press conference is held at Toei headquarters to announce the finish of filming. Plans are announced to film countryside scenes in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan.
Eight days of filming begin in Afghanistan. Filming is changed to city scenery. The staff comprised of five members, and although director Kenta was scheduled to go, he did not accompany them.
The movie rating for "Battle Royale II: Requiem" is announced.
Contracts for airing the film in eight European countries concludes at the exhibition of the Cannes International Film Festival. Together with the five countries that already had contracts, the total adds up to 13.
Advertisement posters of the movie with the line, 'The teacher said, "Go and kill!"' are hung up at stations and in front of schools.
An announcement is made regarding a change to the advertisement poster due to there being 'too many complaints.'
Posters are taken down.
The film premieres at the Tokyo Koseinenkin Kaikan in Shinjuku.
Pre-prenight festival is held at Shibuya Toei. Kinji FUKASAKU's birthday.
The film is released in 261 movie theaters throughout Japan. Kenta FUKASAKU announces that there will be no production of part III. President Okada announces that he predicts the box office to reach 4 billion yen.
The eighth day after release. Viewers exceed 500,000.