Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion

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Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
Female Prisoner 701-Scorpion.jpg
Japanese film poster
Directed byShunya Itō[1]
Produced byKineo Yoshimine[1]
Written by
  • Fumio Konami
  • Hiro Matsuda[1]
Based onScorpion
by Tōru Shinohara[1]
Music byShunsuke Kikuchi[1]
CinematographyHanjiro Nakazawa[1]
Edited byOsamu Tanaka[1]
Release date
  • 25 August 1972 (1972-08-25) (Japan)
Running time
87 minutes

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (女囚701号/さそり, Joshū Nana-maru-ichi Gō / Sasori)[n 1] is a 1972 Japanese women in prison film produced by Toei Company. Starring Meiko Kaji, the film is Shunya Itō's first film as a director and is based on a comic by Tōru Shinohara.

The film was followed by several sequels, including Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 and Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable, and has also been remade several times.


Nami Matsushima is used as a spy by her first real boyfriend, a police detective named Sugimi, to investigate drug smuggling but her role is discovered and she is raped by several drug dealers. It emerges that Sugimi simply wishes a pretext to obtain a bribe from the Yakuza. Matsishima then makes a failed attempt to stab Sugimi on the steps of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Headquarters. She is sentenced to do hard time in a women's prison.

Matsushima is given the number 701. The prison is run by sadistic and lecherous male guards. The prisoners are forced to walk up and down a stair-like contraption naked with male guards watching from below. While in prison, Matsushima meets inmates like Yuki Kida, who was convicted for fraud and theft, Otsuka, jailed for burglary and extortion, and Katagiri, who was impounded for arson and illegally disposing of a body. Outside the prison, Sugimi and the Japanese mafia orchestrate a plan in which Matsushima will succumb to an "accidental" death in prison.

They enlist the help of Katagiri, pulling on her ties to both Sugimi and the mafia, and quickly set their plan in motion. Matsushima is attacked in the shower but defends herself, wounding the attacker. She is punished by being held bound by ropes in solitary confinement. A group of trustees, including Katagiri, tortures her; one pours hot soup on her. Matsushima is able to trip the trustee and make her spill the vat of hot soup over herself, causing horrible burns. Matsushima is forced to dig dirt holes for two consecutive days and nights. She kills a woman who attempts to attack her during this digging by tripping her and breaking her neck. Matsushima is hung and tied from the ceiling while being beaten by her fellow prisoners.

After a riot, Matsushima escapes and kills all the Yakuza and Sugimi with a dagger. The film ends with Matsushima walking alone back in prison.



Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion was released in Japan on 25 August 1972.[1]

Home media[edit]

Female Prisoner #701 was first released on DVD for Region 1 by Tokyo Shock on April 27, 2004.[2] UK home video company Arrow Films released the film on Blu-ray on July 26, 2016 within a box-set containing the first four films of the Female Prisoner Scorpion series. Limited to 4000 copies, the box set contains new 2K restorations of all four films included in the set as well as numerous special features, with Female Prisoner #701 including a new filmed appreciation by director Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption), a new interview with the film's assistant director Yutaka Kohira, an archival interview with director Shinya Ito, and the theatrical trailers of "all films in the series".[3]


From retrospective reviews, Sight & Sound described the film as "pure exploitation" and that "there are a fair number of arty flourishes: expressionistic lighting and make up effects, theatrically stylised sets and gymnastic camerawork."[4] The magazine commented on any feminist reading of the film, noting that any suggestion of a "feminist critique of patriarchal society" is "hard to reconcile with the sustained, glib emphasis on female torment."[4] Video Watchdog described Female Convict #701 Scorpion as "inferior to its follow-up Female Convict Scorpion-Jailhouse 41, noting that is "largely set-bound and lacking grandeur and poetry of its sequel"[5]


  1. ^ Also known as Female Convict 701: Scorpion


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection (book). Arrow Video. 2016. p. 5. FCD1338/AV060.
  2. ^ "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion DVD". Blu-ray.com. Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Female Prisoner Scorpion: The Complete Collection". Arrow Films. Arrow Films. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Leyland, Matthew (February 2007). "Female Prisoner 701:Scorption". Sight & Sound. Vol. 17 no. 2. British Film Institute. p. 83.
  5. ^ Smith, Richard Harland (August 2004). "Female Convict #701 Scorpion". Video Watchdog. No. 110. p. 6. ISSN 1070-9991.
  • McKnight, Anne (2001). "Female Convict Scorpion --Jailhouse 41". In Patrick Macias. TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. San Francisco: Cadence Books. pp. 184–185. ISBN 1-56931-681-3.
  • Thompson, Nathaniel (2006) [2002]. "FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION". DVD Delirium: The International Guide to Weird and Wonderful Films on DVD; Volume 1 Redux. Godalming, England: FAB Press. pp. 273–274. ISBN 1-903254-39-6.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]