Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike
三池 崇史

Miike at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival
Born August 24, 1960 (1960-08-24) (age 51)
Yao, Osaka, Japan
Occupation Director, producer, writer, actor

Takashi Miike (三池 崇史 Miike Takashi?, born August 24, 1960) is a highly prolific and controversial Japanese filmmaker. He has directed over seventy theatrical, video, and television productions since his debut in 1991. In the years 2001 and 2002 alone, Miike is credited with directing fifteen productions. His films range from violent and bizarre to dramatic and family-friendly.



Early life

Miike was born in Yao, Osaka, Japan, an area inhabited by the working class and immigrants. His family was originally from Kumamoto Prefecture. During World War II, his grandfather was stationed in China and Korea, and his father was born in Seoul. His father worked as a welder and his mother as seamstress.[1] 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.[2]


Miike's first films were television productions, but he also began directing several direct-to-video V-Cinema releases. 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 the film The Third Gangster (Daisan no gokudô).[3] However it was Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) that was the first of his theatrical releases to gain public attention. 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) his violent yakuza epic Dead or Alive (1999), and his controversial adaptation of the manga Ichi the Killer 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. His latest film Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai premiered In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

Themes of his work

Miike has garnered international notoriety for depicting shocking scenes of extreme violence and 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.

Despite his notorious reputation, Miike has also directed movies in a range of genres. He has created lighthearted children's films with (Zebraman and The Great Yokai War), period pieces (Sabu), subdued pictures such as the road movie The Bird People in China, a teen drama (Andoromedeia) and farcical musical-comedy-horror in The Happiness of the Katakuris. Other less controversial works include Ley Lines and Agitator, which are character-driven crime dramas.

While Miike often creates films that are less accessible and target arthouse audiences and fans of extreme cinema, such as Izo and the "Box" segment in Three... Extremes, he has created several mainstream and commerical titles such as One Missed Call and The Great Yokai War.

Miike claims that Starship Troopers is his favorite movie.[5] He admires film directors David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and Paul Verhoeven.[6]


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[7] (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. In Hong Kong, 15 minutes of footage were cut. In the United States it has been shown uncut (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 deemed too 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".[8]

While Imprint has yet to air in the United States, it has aired on Bravo in the UK, on FX in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela, on Nelonen in Finland and on Rai Tre in Italy. 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.



Year English title Japanese Romanization Type
1991 (Shissō Feraari 250 GTO / Rasuto ran: Ai to uragiri no hyaku-oku en) 疾走フェラーリ250GTO/ラスト・ラン~愛と裏切りの百億円 Shissō Feraari 250 GTO / Rasuto ran: Ai to uragiri no hyaku-oku en
Shissō Feraari 250 GTO / Rasuto ran: Ai to uragiri no ¥10 000 000 000
(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 - Aikyatchi 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 天然少女萬 Tennen shōjo Man TV
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
天然少女萬NEXT 横浜百夜篇 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 Film
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 Film
(Zuiketsu gensō: Tonkararin yume densetsu) 隧穴幻想 トンカラリン夢伝説 Zuiketsu gensō: Tonkararin yume densetsu Film
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 新・仁義の墓場 Shin jingi no hakaba Film
Shangri-La 金融破滅ニッポン 桃源郷の人々 Kin'yū hametsu Nippon: Tōgenkyō no hito-bito Film
Pandōra パンドーラ Pandōra Music video
Deadly Outlaw: Rekka
Violent Fire
実録・安藤昇侠道(アウトロー)伝 烈火 Jitsuroku Andō Noboru kyōdō-den: Rekka Film
Pāto-taimu tantei パートタイム探偵 Pāto-taimu tantei TV series
2003 The Man In White 許されざる者 Yurusarezaru mono Film
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 交渉人 Kōshōnin TV
One Missed Call
You've Got a Call
着信アリ Chakushin Ari Film
2004 Zebraman ゼブラーマン Zeburāman Film
Pāto-taimu tantei 2 パートタイム探偵2 Pāto-taimu tantei 2 TV
Box segment in Three... Extremes BOX(『美しい夜、残酷な朝』) 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 Episodes 15 and 16 from TV tokusatsu series [9]
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 Film
Waru WARU Waru Film
Imprint episode from Masters of Horror インプリント ~ぼっけえ、きょうてえ~ Inpurinto ~bokke kyote~ TV episode
Waru: kanketsu-hen Waru: kanketsu-hen Film
Sun Scarred 太陽の傷 Taiyo no kizu Film
2007 Sukiyaki Western: Django スキヤキ・ウエスタン ジャンゴ Sukiyaki wesutān jango Film
Crows Zero クローズZERO Kurōzu Zero Film
Like a Dragon 龍が如く 劇場版 Ryu ga Gotoku Gekijōban Film
Zatoichi 座頭市 Zatōichi Stageplay
Detective Story 探偵物語 Tantei monogatari Film
2008 God's Puzzle 神様のパズル Kamisama no pazuru Film
K-tai Investigator 7 ケータイ捜査官7 Keitai Sōsakan 7 TV
2009 Yatterman ヤッターマン Yattaaman Film
Crows Zero 2 クローズZERO 2 Kurōzu Zero 2 Film
2010 Thirteen Assassins 十三人の刺客 Jûsan-nin no shikaku Film
Zebraman 2 ゼブラーマン -ゼブラシティの逆襲 Zeburāman -Zebura Shiti no Gyakushū Film
2011 Ninja Kids!!! 忍たま乱太郎 Nintama Rantarō Film
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 一命 Ichimei Film
2012 and Upcoming Gyakuten Saiban 逆転裁判 Gyakuten Saiban Film
Ai to makoto 愛と誠 Ai to makoto Film
(Takeru) 武 TAKERU Takeru Film



  • The Making of 'Gemini' (2000)
  • Ryu ga Gotoku (2006)

Other work

In 2005 Takashi Miike directed a Kabuki style stage-play entitled Demon Pond. The DVD recording of this has been released by Cinema Epoch.[10][11]


"I go to the dentist, not a shrink." (interview with Daniel Robert Epstein[6])
"Me, a 'Master of Horror'? I'm the guy that made 'Salaryman Kintarō'!" (Miike about his movie for the Masters of Horror series).

Further reading

  • 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.
  • Gerow, Aaron. "The Homelessness of Style and the Problems of Studying Miike Takashi." Canadian Journal of Film Studies 18.1 (2009): 24-43


  1. ^ Mes, Tom. Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike. Godalming: FAB Press, 2003. ISBN 1-903254-21-3. p. 15.
  2. ^ Mes, pp. 16-18.
  3. ^ Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/article/58041.html. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  5. ^ Interview Footage included in special features on American Region 1 DVD of Gozu
  6. ^ a b SuicideGirls > Interviews > Takashi Miike Director Of Gozu
  7. ^ http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/tiffbelllightbox/2011/201104270051105/
  8. ^ Kehr, Dave (January 19, 2006). "Horror Film Made for Showtime Will Not Be Shown". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/arts/television/19horr.html. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  9. ^ SciFi Japan - Ultraman Max Official Episode Guide
  10. ^ Demon Pond DVD available on 5/12/08 - Nippon Cinema
  11. ^ Twitch - Miike Stage Production DEMON POND Coming To DVD!

External links


  • Black, Art (2003). "Takashi Miike Revisited". Asian Cult Cinema 38 (1st Quarter): pp.12–17. 

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