Wandering samurai Nemuri Kyoshiro (Raizô Ichikawa) finds a bulls-eye on his back after befriending the shogunate’s tightfisted financial adviser, Asahina, who’s earned the wrath of the shogun’s self-indulgent daughter for cutting off her allowance. The enraged princess promptly hatches a scheme to have Asahina bumped off — along with his protector, Kyoshiro. Shiho Fujimura also stars in this installment of the enormously popular film series.
Born on March 2, 1921, Kenji got his start in the early 1950s, serving as an assistant director to Teinosuke KINUGASA, which included work on the Oscar-winning Gate of Hell. (The film also won the Grand Prix at Cannes.)
Beginning with his first film, Asa Taro Garasu in 1956, Kenji made almost 50 films in just under twenty years. During his tenure at Daiei in the 1960s, he was one of the studio’s three biggest directors, along with Tokuzo TANAKA (Sleepy Eyes #1, #10) and Kazuo IKEHIRO (Sleepy Eyes #4, #9, #12), however, his visual style eclipsed many of his contemporaries and earned him the nickname “Little Mizoguchi.” His work in the Zatoichi series, as well his 14 films with Raizo ICHIKAWA (which included three Sleepy Eyes of Death films and the Ken trilogy), established Kenji as a Master Jidaigeki (Period Samurai Films) Director in Japan.
After the collapse of Daiei, Kenji moved to television for a short period. In 1972, he returned to films and was given the task of… read more