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Takashi Miike

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Takashi Miike
三池 崇史
cropped headshot of Miike wearing sunglasses at Tokyo International Film Festival 2023
Miike in 2023
Born (1960-08-24) August 24, 1960 (age 63)
Yao, Osaka, Japan
Alma materYokohama Vocational School of Broadcast and Film
Occupation(s)Film director, film producer, screenwriter, actor
Years active1991–present
Notable workFilmography

Takashi Miike (三池 崇史, Miike Takashi, born August 24, 1960) is a Japanese film director, film producer and screenwriter. He has directed over one hundred theatrical, video, and television productions since his debut in 1991. His films run through a variety of different genres, and range from violent and bizarre to dramatic and family-friendly movies. He is a controversial figure in the contemporary Japanese cinema industry, with several of his films being criticised for their extreme graphic violence. Some of his best known films are Audition, Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, the Dead or Alive trilogy and various remakes: Graveyard of Honor, Hara-kiri and 13 Assassins. He has directed over 100 movies and also plays as an actor in 20+ more.

Early life[edit]

Miike was born in Yao, Osaka Prefecture, to a Nikkei family originally from the Kumamoto Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu. During World War II, his grandfather was stationed in China and Korea, and his father was born in Seoul in today's South Korea. His father worked as a welder and his mother as a seamstress.[1]Although he claimed to have attended classes only rarely, he graduated from Yokohama Vocational School of Broadcast and Film (Yokohama Hōsō Eiga Senmon Gakkō) under the guidance of renowned filmmaker Shohei Imamura, the founder and Dean of that institution.[2]


Miike's first films were television productions, but he also began directing several direct-to-video V-Cinema releases. Miike still directs V-Cinema productions intermittently, due to the creative freedom afforded by the less stringent censorship of the medium and the riskier content that the producers will allow.

Miike's theatrical debut was the film The Third Gangster (Daisan no gokudō),[3][4] but Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) was his first theatrical release to gain public attention. The film showcased his extreme style and his recurring themes, and its success allowed him to work on higher-budgeted pictures. Shinjuku Triad Society was the first film in what is labeled his "Black Society Trilogy", which also includes Rainy Dog (1997) and Ley Lines (1999). He gained international fame in 2000 when his romantic horror film Audition (1999), his violent yakuza epic Dead or Alive (1999), and his controversial adaptation of the manga Ichi the Killer played at international film festivals. He has since gained a strong cult following in the West that is growing with the increase in DVD releases of his works. His film Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai premiered In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.[5] His 2013 film Straw Shield was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

Themes of his work[edit]

Miike achieved notoriety for depicting shocking scenes of extreme violence and sexual perversions. Many of his films contain graphic and lurid bloodshed, often portrayed in an over-the-top, cartoonish manner. Much of his work depicts the activities of criminals (especially yakuza) or concern themselves with gaijin, non-Japanese or foreigners living in Japan. He is known for his dark sense of humor and for pushing the boundaries of censorship as far as they will go.

Miike has directed films in a range of genres. He has created lighthearted children's films (Ninja Kids!!!, The Great Yokai War), period pieces (Sabu), a road movie (The Bird People in China), a teen drama (Andromedia), a farcical musical-comedy-horror (The Happiness of the Katakuris), video game adaptations (Like a Dragon, Ace Attorney) and character-driven crime dramas (Ley Lines and Agitator).

While Miike often creates films that are less accessible and target arthouse audiences and fans of extreme cinema, such as Izo and the "Box" segment in Three... Extremes, he has created several mainstream and commercial titles such as the horror film One Missed Call and the fantasy drama The Great Yokai War.

Miike has cited Starship Troopers as his favorite film.[7] He expressed admiration for directors Akira Kurosawa,[8] Hideo Gosha,[8][9] David Lynch,[10] David Cronenberg,[10] and Paul Verhoeven.[10]


Several of Miike's films have been subject to scrutiny due to heavy violence. His 2001 horror film Ichi the Killer, adapted from a manga of the same name and starring Tadanobu Asano as a sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer, was highly controversial; during its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2001, the audience received "barf bags" emblazoned with the film's logo as a promotional gimmick.[11] The British Board of Film Classification refused to allow the release of the film uncut in the United Kingdom, citing its extreme levels of sexual violence towards women; the film required 3 minutes and 15 seconds of mandated cuts to be allowed release.[12] In Hong Kong, 16 minutes and 59 seconds of footage were cut.[13][unreliable source?] Ichi the Killer was also banned outright in Norway, Germany and Malaysia.[14]

In 2005, Miike was invited to direct an episode of the Masters of Horror anthology series. The series, featuring episodes by a range of established horror directors such as John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and Dario Argento, was supposed to provide directors with relative creative freedom and relaxed restrictions on violent and sexual content (some sexual content was edited from the Argento-directed episode "Jenifer"). However, when the Showtime cable network acquired the rights to the series, Miike's episode, "Imprint", was deemed too disturbing for the network. Showtime cancelled it from the broadcast lineup even after extended negotiations, though it was retained as part of the series' DVD release. Mick Garris, creator and executive producer of the series, described the episode as "amazing, but hard even for me to watch... definitely the most disturbing film I've ever seen".[15] While "Imprint" has yet to air in the United States, it has aired on Bravo in the United Kingdom,[16] on FX in Mexico, South and Central America, the Dominican Republic, France, Israel, Turkey, on Nelonen in Finland, and on Rai Tre in Italy. Anchor Bay Entertainment, which has handled the DVD releases for the Masters of Horror series in the US, released "Imprint" uncut on Region 1 DVD on September 26, 2006.[17]



Music video


Feature film



TV movies

TV series

Year Title Notes
1999 Man, A Natural Girl
Man, Next Natural Girl: 100 Nights in Yokohama
2000 MPD Psycho Miniseries
2005 Ultraman Max Episodes 15 and 16[20]
2006 Masters of Horror Episode "Imprint"
2008 K-tai Investigator 7 1 episode
Also supervising producer
2017 Idol × Warrior Miracle Tunes! General director
2018 Magical × Heroine Magimajo Pures!
2019 Secret × Heroine Phantomirage!
2020 Police × Heroine Lovepatrina!
2021 Bittomo × Heroine Kirameki Powers!
2022 RizSta -Top of Artists!-
Connect OTT Drama
2023 Assistant Inspector: Daimajin[21] 8-episode series
Onimusha[22] Anime series
2024 Midnight[23][24][25] Web series

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Young Thugs: Innocent Blood Man in red trousers getting beaten up by Riichi
2001 Agitator Shinozaki
2002 Graveyard of Honor Restaurant gunman
Ichi the Killer: Episode 0 Kakihara Voice
2003 Last Life in the Universe Yakuza
2005 Neighbour No. 13 Kaneda
2006 Hostel Miike Takashi
Dōbutsu no Mori Rokusuke/Pascal Voice
2009 Tenchijin Hyogo Kariyasu
2010 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle Himself Voice
2021 No More Heroes III Himself Voice
2024 Midnight Kaede's father

Stage plays[edit]

In 2005, Takashi Miike directed a Kabuki-style play titled Demon Pond. The DVD recording of the performance was released by Cinema Epoch.[26][27]

Takashi Miike directed the play Zatoichi based on the character Zatoichi. The stage production was performed and filmed on December 12, 2007, and the DVD was released on May 30, 2008.


  1. ^ Mes, Tom. Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike. Godalming: FAB Press, 2003. ISBN 1-903254-21-3. p. 15.
  2. ^ Mes, pp. 16–18.
  3. ^ Mes, Tom. Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike. Godalming: FAB Press, 2003. ISBN 1-903254-21-3. p. 57.
  4. ^ Wong, Aliza S. (December 15, 2018). Spaghetti Westerns: A Viewer's Guide. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-6904-0 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  6. ^ "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  7. ^ Interview Footage included in special features on American Region 1 DVD of Gozu
  8. ^ a b Hoad, Phil (May 5, 2011). "Takashi Miike: Why I am bringing Japanese classics back to life". The Guardian. London.
  9. ^ "『私と東映』 x 三池 崇史監督 (第1回 / 全2回)". Facebook. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Takashi Miike director of Gozu by Anderswolleck – SuicideGirls". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Ichi the Killer | tiff.net". Archived from the original on February 15, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  12. ^ "Ichi the Killer (18)". British Board of Film Classification. November 12, 2002. Archived from the original on July 20, 2019. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  13. ^ "Ichi the Killer (Comparison)". www.movie-censorship.com. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "Filmart Flashback: In 2001, Takashi Miike Brought Ultra Violence to the Mainstream with 'Ichi the Killer' | Hollywood Reporter". www.hollywoodreporter.com. March 19, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  15. ^ Kehr, Dave (January 19, 2006). "Horror Film Made for Showtime Will Not Be Shown". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  16. ^ "Masters of Horror". bravo.co.uk. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008.
  17. ^ "Masters of Horror: Imprint". Amazon. September 26, 2006.
  18. ^ "生田斗真主演『土竜の唄 FINAL』11月公開!舞台は超豪華客船". Cinema Cafe. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  19. ^ "怪物の木こり". eiga.com. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  20. ^ "ULTRAMAN MAX Official Episode Guide". June 3, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "金曜ナイトドラマ『警部補ダイマジン』|テレビ朝日". www.tv-asahi.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  22. ^ "Netflix Official Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  23. ^ Shot on iPhone 15 Pro | Midnight | Apple. Retrieved March 28, 2024 – via www.youtube.com.
  24. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (March 6, 2024). "Apple Releases 19-Minute Takashi Miike Short Film Shot on an iPhone". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  25. ^ Maglio, Tony (March 6, 2024). "Takashi Miike Releases Secret Short Film Shot on an iPhone — Watch 'Midnight' Here". IndieWire. Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  26. ^ "Demon Pond (2005)". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  27. ^ Brown, Todd (December 27, 2007). "Miike Stage Production DEMON POND Coming To DVD!". Retrieved October 31, 2016.


  • Mes, Tom. Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike. Godalming: FAB Press, 2003. ISBN 1903254213
  • Williams, Tony. "Takashi Miike's Cinema of Outrage." cineACTION 64 (2004): 54–62
  • "Izo: Takashi Miike's History Lesson." Asian Cinema 16.2 (2005): 85–109.
  • Gerow, Aaron. "The Homelessness of Style and the Problems of Studying Miike Takashi." Canadian Journal of Film Studies 18.1 (2009): 24–43
  • Black, Art (2003). "Takashi Miike Revisited". Asian Cult Cinema. 38 (1st Quarter): 12–17.

External links[edit]