Battles Without Honor and Humanity
|Battles Without Honor and Humanity|
|Directed by||Kinji Fukasaku|
|Written by||Kazuo Kasahara
Kōichi Iiboshi (story)
|Music by||Toshiaki Tsushima|
|Release date(s)||January 13, 1973|
|Running time||99 minutes|
Battles Without Honor and Humanity (仁義なき戦い Jingi naki tatakai ) is a 1973 yakuza film by director Kinji Fukasaku. It is adapted from a series of newspaper articles, by journalist Kōichi Iiboshi, 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 also known as The Yakuza Papers.
It won the 1974 Kinema Junpo Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Bunta Sugawara) and Best Screenplay (Kazuo Kasahara). 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."
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. It gave way to four sequels, which form a sprawling yakuza epic. The overall tone of the series is bleak, violent and chaotic, expressing the futility of the struggles between yakuza families.
The title refers to the post-war yakuza's lack of jingi, a Japanese term loosely translated as "honor and humanity". Previous yakuza movies had, for the most part, been tales of chivalry set in pre-war Japan. It is also a parody of an ancient Chinese fable about a foolish king who respected honor and humanity too much in a war and consequently lost his kingdom. A commercial and critical success, Battles Without Honor and Humanity portrayed a darker and more cynical world, and set the stage for much subsequent Japanese cinema.
In the western market it is also known under the titles:
- Battles Without Honour and Humanity (Canada)
- Tarnished Code of Yakuza (Australia)
- War Without a Code
- The Yakuza Papers
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Deathmatch (1973)
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War (1973)
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Police Tactics (1974)
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Final Episode (1974)
- New Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1974)
- New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head (1975)
- New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Last Days (1976)
- Aftermath of Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1979) (directed by Eiichi Kudo)
- New Battles Without Honor and Humanity also known as Another Battle (2000) (directed by Junji Sakamoto)
- New Battles Without Honor and Humanity/Murder also known as Another Battle/Conspiracy (2002) (directed by Hajime Hashimoto)
North American release 
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.
- 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.
- "Awards for Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Croce, Fernando F. "Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Japan, 1973): (Jingi Naki Tatakai)". cinepassion.org. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- 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.
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity at the Internet Movie Database
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity at AllRovi
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Japanese) at the Japanese Movie Database