Battles Without Honor and Humanity

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For the instrumental piece by Tomoyasu Hotei, see Battle Without Honor or Humanity.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity
Battles Without Honor and Humanity.jpg
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
Written by Kazuo Kasahara
Kōichi Iiboshi (story)
Starring Bunta Sugawara
Hiroki Matsukata
Kunie Tanaka
Tsunehiko Watase
Nobuo Kaneko
Music by Toshiaki Tsushima
Cinematography Sadaji Yoshida
Distributed by Toei
Release date(s) January 13, 1973
Running time 99 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Battles Without Honor and Humanity (仁義なき戦い Jingi Naki Tatakai?) is a 1973 yakuza film directed by Kinji Fukasaku. It is adapted from a series of newspaper articles, by journalist Kōichi Iiboshi,[1] that were rewrites of a manuscript originally written by real-life yakuza, Kōzō Minō, while he was in prison. It is the first film in a five-part series that Fukasaku made in a span of just two years.

It won the 1974 Kinema Junpo Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Bunta Sugawara) and Best Screenplay (Kazuo Kasahara).[2] Due to the series' enormous commercial and critical popularity it was followed by another three-part series, New Battles Without Honor and Humanity. It is often called the "Japanese Godfather."[3]

It marks a departure from previous yakuza movies which had, for the most part, been tales of chivalry set in pre-war Japan. In the western market it is also known under the titles, Tarnished Code of Yakuza (Australia), War Without a Code, and The Yakuza Papers.


The violent, documentary-like film chronicles the underworld tribulations of Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara), a young ex-soldier and street thug in post-war Hiroshima. Starting in the open-air black markets of bombed-out Hiroshima in 1945, the film spans a period of more than ten years. The plot consists of a changing of the guard of new families and organizations with the same feuds and people, punctuated by the gritty violence. The overall tone of the series is bleak, violent and chaotic, expressing the futility of the struggles between yakuza families.




North American release[edit]

The first five films in the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series were released as The Yakuza Papers by Home Vision Entertainment in a 6-disc DVD box set in 2004. The bonus DVD contains interviews with director William Friedkin, discussing the influence of the films in America; subtitle translator Linda Hoaglund, discussing her work on the films; David Kaplan, Kenta Fukasaku, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a Toei producer and a biographer among others.[4]


  1. ^ D., Chris (2005). Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film. I.B. Tauris. pp. 9–10, 23. ISBN 1-84511-086-2. Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. 
  2. ^ "Awards for Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  3. ^ Croce, Fernando F. "Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Japan, 1973): (Jingi Naki Tatakai)". Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  4. ^ Erickson, Glenn (November 2004). "The Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honor And Humanity: The Complete Box Set". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on 8 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 

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