Emperor Tomato Ketchup (film)
|Emperor Tomato Ketchup|
|Hepburn||Tomato Kechappu Kōtei|
|Directed by||Shūji Terayama|
|Written by||Shūji Terayama|
|Produced by||Art Theatre Guild|
|Distributed by||Daguerreo Press|
|27 min (1971)|
75 min (1996)
Emperor Tomato Ketchup (トマトケチャップ皇帝, Tomato Kechappu Kōtei) is a Japanese short experimental film made by Shūji Terayama. A 27-minute cut was released in 1971. A "director's cut" of sorts, attempting to recreate the film as originally made in 1970, was released as a 75-minute feature in 1996, 13 years after Terayama's death. The film is banned in many countries, considered child pornography.
Set in an indeterminate future in which children have overthrown adults and established their own empire, the film does not have a central narrative or identifiable character roles. Rather it depicts a series of graphic tableaux in which children (played onscreen by actual children) engage in cruel and abusive acts against the adults under their dominion. These include scenes of child soldiers arresting, enslaving, executing, and raping helpless victims, often held at gunpoint.
A constitution is read aloud, establishing the basic laws of the Empire and the supremacy of children over adults. The title of Emperor Tomato Ketchup is derived from the stipulated favorite food of children enshrined in the constitution. The boy emperor lazily lords over his parents and shows disinterest in the young girl who is his designated concubine. He later sexually assaults a glamorous woman, suckling on her breasts and placing his head between her thighs.
Controversial material includes animal abuse, drag play, nudity, and sexual fetishism as well as pantomimed erotic acts involving both children and adults.
- Keiko Niitaka
- Salvador Tari
- Tarō Apollo
- Mitsufumi Hashimoto
- The British alternative rock band Stereolab named their 1996 album Emperor Tomato Ketchup after the film.
- Eaton, Thomas Dylan (2009). The Imaginary Martial Theatre of Shuji Terayama's Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Afterall 22, pp. 91–97.