Takashi Miike

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Takashi Miike

Born August 24, 1960
Yao, Osaka, Japan

Takashi Miike (三池 崇史 Miike Takashi?) (born August 24, 1960) is a highly prolific and controversial Japanese filmmaker. He has directed over sixty theatrical, video, and television productions since his debut in 1991. In the years 2001 and 2002 alone, Miike is credited with directing no fewer than fourteen productions.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Miike was born in Yao, Osaka, Japan. Although he claimed to have attended classes only rarely, he graduated from Yokohama Vocational School of Broadcast and Film (Yokohama Hoso Eiga Senmon Gakko) under the guidance of renowned filmmaker Shohei Imamura, the founder and Dean of that institution.

[edit] Career

Miike's first films were television productions, but he also began directing several direct-to-video V-Cinema releases. (These were purportedly financed as money-laundering operations for the yakuza, although there has never been any conclusive proof of this.) Miike still directs V-Cinema productions intermittently due to the creative freedom afforded by the less stringent censorship of the medium and the riskier content that the producers will allow.

Miike's theatrical debut was Shinjuku Triad Society (1995). The film showcased his extreme style and his recurring themes, and its success gave him the freedom to work on higher-budgeted pictures. Shinjuku Triad Society is also the first film in what is labeled his "Black Society Trilogy", which also includes Rainy Dog (1997) and Ley Lines (1999). He gained international fame in 2000 when his romantic horror film Audition (1999) and his violent yakuza epic Dead or Alive (1999) played at international film festivals. He has since gained a strong cult following in the West that is growing with the increase in DVD releases of his works.

[edit] Themes of his work

Miike has garnered international notoriety for depicting shocking scenes of extreme violence and bizarre sexual perversions. Many of his films contain graphic and lurid bloodshed, often portrayed in an over-the-top, cartoonish manner. Much of his work depicts the activities of criminals (especially yakuza) or concern themselves with non-Japanese living in Japan. He is known for his black sense of humor and for pushing the boundaries of censorship as far as they will go.

It should be noted that, despite his somewhat notorious reputation, Miike has also proven himself to be capable of directing lighthearted children's films (Zebraman, The Great Yokai War), touching period pieces (Sabu), and subdued, moving pictures such as the road movie The Bird People in China. His dabbling in every sort of genre and emotional range is a testament to his versatility as a director, though a lot of his output is genre-defying. For example, The Happiness of the Katakuris is an unconventional farcical musical-comedy-horror involving a bizarre claymation sequence, zombies and b-movie pastiches.

Other less controversial works include Ley Lines and Agitator, character-driven, serious crime dramas. Graveyard of Honor (2002) is a remake of the 1975 Kinji Fukasaku film by the same name. Andoromedeia, perhaps one of his less renowned films, is a teen drama starring the J-pop girl-band SPEED.

Critics have sometimes noted the puzzling discrepancy of Miike's artistic development noting that he appears to be simultaneously becoming more radical and more mainstream a director. Films like One Missed Call are his most commercial works to date while films like Izo and the "Box" segment in Three... Extremes are less accessible and target arthouse audiences and fans of extreme cinema.

Despite Miike's voluminous output, it would be erroneous to consider him a dilettante or a director for hire. Academics have recognized Miike as an auteur, noting much depth as well as stylistic and thematic consistency in his body of work. Reoccurring themes and imagery in his work include reincarnation, birds, family, chaos and order. Films like Visitor Q and Izo are highly philosophical beneath their violent, taboo-laden exterior. This mingled with his imaginative and often idiosyncratic cinematography makes his work instantly recognizable regardless of the genre he works in.

[edit] Controversies

Miike's style is often regarded by detractors as offensively misogynistic, though usually Miike's female characters retain ultimate power, which they use to overturn established principles of Japanese patriarchy (e.g. Audition (1999), Visitor Q (2001)).[citation needed]

One of his most controversial films was the ultra-violent Ichi the Killer (2001), adapted from a manga of the same name and starring Tadanobu Asano as a sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer. The extreme violence was initially exploited to promote the film: during its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2001, the audience received "barf bags" emblazoned with the film's logo as a promotional gimmick (one typically flamboyant gory killing involves a character slicing a man in half from head to groin, and severing another's face, which then slides down a nearby wall).

However, the British Board of Film Classification refused to allow the release of the film uncut in Britain, citing its extreme levels of sexual violence towards women. Many regarded this as inconsistency, as they had recently passed Irréversible (2002), a film featuring a nine-minute rape scene, uncut. In Hong Kong, 15 minutes of footage was cut. In the United States it has been shown uncut (although unrated). An uncut DVD was also released in the Benelux.

In 2005, Miike was invited to direct an episode of the Masters of Horror anthology series. The series, featuring episodes by a range of established horror directors such as John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and Dario Argento, was supposed to provide directors with relative creative freedom and relaxed restrictions on violent and sexual content (Some violent content was edited from the Dario Argento-directed episode Jenifer). However, when the Showtime cable network acquired the rights to the series, the Miike-directed episode Imprint was apparently too graphic and disturbing for the network. Showtime cancelled it from the broadcast lineup even after extended negotiations, though it was retained as part of the series' DVD release. Mick Garris, creator and executive producer of the series, described the episode as "amazing, but hard even for me to watch... definitely the most disturbing film I've ever seen".[1]

While Imprint has yet to air in the United States, it has aired on Bravo in the UK and on FX in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. Anchor Bay Entertainment, which has handled the DVD releases for the Masters of Horror series in the US, released Imprint on R1 DVD on September 26, 2006.

[edit] Personal life

Miike is almost never publicly seen without wearing sunglasses.

He wrote the foreword to Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto by Tom Mes and provided a commentary for his segment "Box" from the film "Three Extremes" on the Region 1 DVD release.

Miike claims Starship Troopers to be his favorite movie.[2] He admires film directors David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and Paul Verhoeven.[3]

[edit] Filmography

[edit] Director

Year English title Japanese Romanization Type
1991 (Rasuto ran: Ai to uragiri no hyaku-oku en - shissō Feraari 250 GTO) (unknown) Rasuto ran: Ai to uragiri no hyaku-oku en - shissō Feraari 250 GTO
Last Run: Ai to uragiri no ¥10 000 000 000 - shissō Ferrari 250 GTO
(Toppū! Minipato tai - Aikyacchi Jankushon) 突風! ミニパト隊 アイキャッチ・ジャンクション Toppū! Minipato tai - Aikyacchi Jankushon Video
(Redi hantā: Koroshi no pureryuudo) レディハンター 殺しのプレュード Redi hantā: Koroshi no pureryūdo Video
1992 A Human Murder Weapon 人間兇器 愛と怒りのリング Ningen kyōki: Ai to ikari no ringu Video
1993 Bodyguard Kiba ボディガード牙 Bodigādo Kiba Video
(Oretachi wa tenshi ja nai) 俺達は天使じゃない Oretachi wa tenshi ja nai Video
(Oretachi wa tenshi ja nai 2) 俺達は天使じゃない2 Oretachi wa tenshi ja nai 2 Video
1994 Shinjuku Outlaw 新宿アウトロー Shinjuku autorou Video
(Shura no mokushiroku: Bodigādo Kiba) 修羅の黙示録 ボディーガード牙 Shura no mokushiroku: Bodigādo Kiba Video
1995 (Daisan no gokudō) 第三の極道 Daisan no gokudō Film
(Shura no mokushiroku 2: Bodigādo Kiba) 修羅の黙示録2 ボディーガード牙 Shura no mokushiroku 2: Bodigādo Kiba Video
Osaka Tough Guys なにわ遊侠伝 Naniwa yūkyōden Video
Shinjuku Triad Society 新宿黒社会 チャイナ マフィア戦争 Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensō Film
1996 (Shin daisan no gokudō: boppatsu Kansai gokudō sensō) 新・第三の極道 勃発 関西極道ウォーズ!! Shin daisan no gokudō: boppatsu Kansai gokudō sensō Video
(Shin daisan no gokudō II) 新・第三の極道II Shin daisan no gokudō II Video
(Jingi naki yabō) 仁義なき野望 Jingi naki yabō Video
(Piinattsu: Rakkasei) ピイナッツ 落華星 Piinattsu: Rakkasei Video
The Way To Fight 喧嘩の花道 大阪最強伝説 Kenka no hanamichi: Ōsaka saikyō densetsu Video
Fudoh: The New Generation 極道戦国志 不動 Gokudō sengokushi: Fudō Film
1997 (Jingi naki yabō 2) 仁義なき野望2 Jingi naki yabō 2 Video
Young Thugs: Innocent Blood 岸和田少年愚連隊 血煙り純情篇 Kishiwada shōnen gurentai: Chikemuri junjō-hen Film
Rainy Dog 極道黒社会 RAINY DOG Gokudō kuroshakai Film
Full Metal Yakuza FULL METAL 極道 Full Metal gokudō Video
1998 The Bird People in China 中国の鳥人 Chûgoku no chôjin Film
Andromedia アンドロメデイア andromedia Andoromedia Film
Blues Harp BLUES HARP n/a Film
Young Thugs: Nostalgia 岸和田少年愚連隊 望郷 Kishiwada shōnen gurentai: Bōkyō Film
1999 Audition オーディション Ōdishon Film
Man, A Natural Girl (unknown) "Tennen shōjo Man" (unknown)
Ley Lines 日本黒社会 Nihon kuroshakai Film
(Silver: shirubā) シルバー SILVER Silver: shirubā Video
Dead or Alive DEAD OR ALIVE 犯罪者 Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha Film
Salaryman Kintaro
White Collar Worker Kintaro
サラリーマン金太郎 Sarariiman Kintarō Film
Man, Next Natural Girl: 100 Nights In Yokohama
N-Girls Vs Vampire
(unknown) Tennen shōjo Man next: Yokohama hyaku-ya hen TV
2000 The Making of 'Gemini' (unknown) Tsukamoto Shin'ya ga Ranpo suru TV documentary
MPD Psycho 多重人格探偵サイコ "Tajū jinkaku tantei saiko: Amamiya Kazuhiko no kikan" TV miniseries
The City of Lost Souls
The City of Strangers
The Hazard City
漂流街 THE HAZARD CITY Hyōryū-gai Film
The Guys from Paradise 天国から来た男たち Tengoku kara kita otoko-tachi (unknown)
Dead or Alive 2: Birds
Dead or Alive 2: Runaway
DEAD OR ALIVE 2 逃亡者 Dead or Alive 2: Tōbōsha Film
2001 (Kikuchi-jō monogatari: sakimori-tachi no uta) 鞠智城物語 防人たちの唄 Kikuchi-jō monogatari: sakimori-tachi no uta (unknown)
(Zuiketsu gensō: Tonkararin yume densetsu) (unknown) Zuiketsu gensō: Tonkararin yume densetsu (unknown)
Family FAMILY n/a Film
Visitor Q ビジターQ Bijitā Q Film
Ichi the Killer 殺し屋1 Koroshiya 1 Film
Agitator 荒ぶる魂たち Araburu tamashii-tachi Film
The Happiness of the Katakuris カタクリ家の幸福 Katakuri-ke no kōfuku Film
2002 Dead or Alive: Final DEAD OR ALIVE FINAL n/a Film
(Onna kunishū ikki) おんな 国衆一揆 Onna kunishū ikki (unknown)
Sabu SABU さぶ Sabu Film
Graveyard of Honor (unknown) Shin jingi no hakaba Film
Shangri-La (unknown) Kin'yū hametsu Nippon: Tōgenkyō no hito-bito (unknown)
Pandōra (unknown) Pandōra (unknown)
Deadly Outlaw: Rekka
Violent Fire
(unknown) Jitsuroku Andō Noboru kyōdō-den: Rekka Film
(Pāto-taimu tantei) (unknown) Pāto-taimu tantei TV series
2003 The Man In White (unknown) Yurusarezaru mono (unknown)
Gozu 極道恐怖大劇場 牛頭 GOZU Gokudō kyōfu dai-gekijō: Gozu Film
Yakuza Demon 鬼哭 kikoku Kikoku Video
Kōshōnin (unknown) Kōshōnin (unknown)
One Missed Call
You've Got a Call
着信アリ Chakushin Ari Film
2004 Zebraman ゼブラーマン (unknown) Film
(Paato-taimu tantei 2) (unknown) Paato-taimu tantei 2 (unknown)
Box segment in Three... Extremes 三更2 Saam gaang yi Segment in feature film
Izo IZO IZO Film
2005 Ultraman Max ウルトラマンマックス "Urutoraman Makkusu" Select episodes from TV cartoon series
The Great Yokai War 妖怪大戦争 Yokai Daisenso Film
2006 Big Bang Love, Juvenile A
4.6 Billion Years Of Love
46億年の恋 46-okunen no koi Feature film
Waru (unknown) Waru Film
Imprint episode from Masters of Horror n/a n/a TV episode
(Waru: kanketsu-hen) (unknown) Waru: kanketsu-hen Film
Sun Scarred (unknown) Taiyo no kizu Film
2007 Sukiyaki Western: Django (unknown) (unknown) Film

[edit] Actor



  • Neighbour No. 13


[edit] Producer



  • Ryu ga Gotoku

[edit] Quotes

"I go to the dentist, not a shrink." (interview with Daniel Robert Epstein[4])
"Me, a 'Master of Horror'? I'm the guy that made 'Salaryman Kintaro'!" (Miike about his movie for the Masters of Horror series)

[edit] References

  • Mes, Tom. Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike. Godalming: FAB Press, 2003. ISBN 1-903254-21-3
  • Williams, Tony. "Takashi Miike's Cinema of Outrage." cineACTION 64 (2004): 54-62
  • "Izo: Takashi Miike's History Lesson." Asian Cinema 16.2 (2005): 85-109.

[edit] Footnotes

[edit] External links