Yakuza Movie Auteur, Seijin Suzuki Has Passed at 93

Japanese filmmaker passes at 93 after a long and celebrated career. He died in Tokyo.

Japanese filmmaker passes at 93 after a long and celebrated career. He died in Tokyo.

Japanese filmmaker passes at 93 after a long and celebrated career. He dies in Tokyo.

Definitely one of the most entertaining movie genres to come out of post war Japan has been the Yakuza movie. Simply put Japanese Yakuza are akin to the La Cosa Nostra folks of the U.S. and everywhere that has organized crime. One of the greatest film makers in the genre was Seijin Suzuki. Nikkatsu announced this week that the auteur died at the age of 93 after a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, studio Nikkatsu announced on Wednesday.

Suzuki was known for popularizing films in the yakuza genre, creating unconventional works that were both violent, stylish and humorous.

“We would like to offer our profound thanks and respect for his great achievements,” the studio said in a statement.

The auteur made his debut in 1956 for Nikkatsu with “Victory Is Mine.” Over the next decade, he made the films that would shape his legacy. “Tokyo Drifter” and “Branded to Kill” feature odd camera angles, sultry women and pistol-toting gangsters.

The films would decades later find fans overseas, including the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch. However, their reception in Japan was subdued, with the studio firing Suzuki.

He later filed a lawsuit for unfair dismissal but the industry shunned him over the next decade. His last film was “Princess Raccoon” (2005).

Suzuki died in a Tokyo hospital on February 13. A funeral was subsequently held with his wife Takako and former NHK announcer Kenji Suzuki in attendance, according to the Asahi Shimbun (Feb. 22).

Here is the release from Nikkatsu:

日活株式会社OBの映画監督である鈴木清順氏が、2017年2月13日 午後7時32分、慢性閉塞性肺疾患のため亡くなられました。享年93歳。

鈴木清順監督は、1956年『港の乾杯 勝利をわが手に』で映画デビュー。以後『東京流れ者』『殺しの烙印』『ツィゴイネルワイゼン』などの映画で知られ、その作品は世界中の映画ファン、映画製作者に多大な影響を与えました。遺作は2005年公開『オペレッタ狸御殿』。

生前の偉大なご功績に深い感謝の意と尊敬の念をもって、謹んで哀悼の意を表します。

 

 

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