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Teruo Ishii
Japanese Film director, Theatre director and author

Teruo Ishii

Teruo Ishii
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Japanese Film director, Theatre director and author
Was Screenwriter Film director Film producer
From Japan
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 1 January 1924, Tokyo, Japan
Death 12 August 2005, Tokyo, Japan (aged 81 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Teruo Ishii (石井輝男, Ishii Teruo, January 1, 1924 – August 12, 2005) was a Japanese film director best known in the West for his early films in the Super Giant series, and for his films in the Ero guro ("erotic-grotesque") subgenre of pinku eiga such as Shogun's Joys of Torture (1968). He also directed the 1965 film, Abashiri Prison, which helped to make Ken Takakura a major star in Japan. Referred to in Japan as "The King of Cult", Ishii had a much more prolific and eclectic career than was generally known in the West during his lifetime.

Early life

Born in Tokyo's Asakusa neighborhood in 1924, Ishii developed a love of cinema early. His parents would often take him to see foreign films, particularly French movies. Ishii worked at Toho Studios as an assistant director beginning in 1942. His film career was interrupted when he was sent to Manchuria during World War II to take aerial photographs for bombing runs.


In March, 1947 Ishii joined the newly founded Shintoho studios. Ishii would later recall his time with Shintoho as, "without doubt the most joyful period of my professional life." While at Shintoho he worked as assistant director to Mikio Naruse, whom he considered his mentor for the rest of his career. He also worked for director Hiroshi Shimizu and studied script writing with Shinichi Sekizawa, best known in the West for his entries in the Godzilla series. Ishii's directorial debut was in 1957 with the boxing film, King of the Ring: The World of Glory (Ring no Oja: Eiko no Sekai).

He was next assigned to direct six installments in the children's science-fiction series, Super Giant. This nine-episode series was later re-packaged into four films for U.S. syndicated television as Starman. From 1958 to 1961 Ishii directed four films in the film-noir Line (Chitai) series. For the last of these films, Sexy Line (Sexy Chitai) (1961), Ishii took his cameras to the streets of Asakusa and Ginza, in order to film real life on location. The film has been called, "sharp, witty and contagious", and "a lively portrait of the Tokyo underworld, populated by hookers, johns, crooks and cops and shot in cinéma-verité style."


Shintoho declared bankruptcy in 1961, forcing Ishii to seek employment at another studio. He moved to Toei Company where he directed Flower and Storm and Gang (Hana to Arashi to Gang) (1961), starring Ken Takakura. His 1965 Abashiri Bangaichi with Takakura would solidify that actor's stardom and give Ishii his biggest success of the 1960s. Ishii would go on to direct 10 of the 18 films in this series.

In 1968, Ishii initiated two popular, long-running series for Toei. In the first entry in the Hot Springs Geisha series (1968–1972), Ishii successfully replaced his usual "darkly sardonic cinematic style in favor of this light and frivolous 'mainstream' comedy about geisha masseuses operating inside a hotsprings resort." Ishii left this series to other directors. The Joys of Torture series (1968–1973), however, suited Ishii's taste. Beginning with Shogun's Joys of Torture (1968), Ishii directed all eight entries in the series, which examined the history of torture in Japan. A fan of the work of horror and suspense author Edogawa Rampo since childhood, Ishii adapted many of his horror stories into his films of this period, including Horrors of Malformed Men. The term ero-guro ("erotic-grotesque"), used to describe Rampo's writings, was also applied to Ishii's style in these films, and the term is still used to describe the most extreme of the S&M films in Japan. Of these, the Weissers comment, "The Ishii Torture movies are still the best-made, rivaled only by certain Kōji Wakamatsu productions (especially Torture Chronicles: 100 Years (1975)), a few from Masaru Konuma {i.e., Wife to be Sacrificed and Flower and Snake (both 1974)) and Go Ijuin's Captured For Sex 2 (1986)."

Ishii worked in several of Toei's popular genres during the 1970s, including a Pinky violent film with Reiko Ike, Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture (1973), and one of Sonny Chiba's Street Fighter films in the mid-1970s, The Street Fighter's Last Revenge (Gyakushu! Satsujin Ken). Ishii made two contributions to the biker genre with Detonation! Violent Riders (1975) and Detonation! Violent Games (1976). After 1979 Ishii stopped making theatrical films and worked mainly for television during the 1980s.

Later career

Ishii returned to Toei in 1991 with the V-cinema film The Hit Man: Blood Smells Like Roses. In 1993 he made a film of Yoshiharu Tsuge's manga, Master of the Gensenkan Inn (Gensenkan Shujin), and in 1998 he filmed Tsuge's avant-garde manga, Wind-Up Type (Nejishiki). In 1999 he remade director Nobuo Nakagawa's famous film Hell (Jigoku; 1960), using the trial of Aum sect leader Shoko Asahara as an inspiration. Ishii's last film, The Blind Beast Vs The Dwarf (2001) was another based on the work of Edogawa Rampo.

Largely unknown outside Japan during much of his career, late in life, Ishii's work was discovered and gained admirers in the West. Ishii attended festivals devoted to his films given at the Far East Film Festival in Udine and at the Étrange Festival in France. In his later years, Ishii often spoke of a dream project, a gangster epic with Ken Takakura to be called Once Upon a Time in Japan. Ishii died August 12, 2005 before that project ever became a reality. Directing in a wide range of genres throughout his career, including martial arts, science fiction, horror, erotica, and film noir, Ishii's 83 films are a microcosm of popular cinematic trends in Japan during the second half of the twentieth century.


Film title Company Genre Release date
リングの王者 栄光の世界
Ring no Oja: Eiko no Sekai
Shintoho 1957-04-10
The Steelman from Outer Space, Super Giant 1
Shintoho 1957-07-30
Super Giant 2
Shintoho 1957-08-13
Invaders From the Planets, Super Giant 3
鋼鉄の巨人 怪星人の魔城
Super Giants Kaiseijin no Majo
Shintoho 1957-10-01
The Earth in Danger, Super Giant 4
鋼鉄の巨人 地球滅亡寸前
Super Giants Chikyu Metsubo Sunzen
Shintoho 1957-10-08
Nude Actress Murder Case: Five Criminals
肉体女優殺し 五人の犯罪者
Nikutai joyū koroshi: Go-nin no hanzaisha
Shintoho 1957-11-10
Spaceship of Human Destruction, Super Giant 5
スーパー・ジャイアンツ 人工衛星と人類の破滅
Super Giants Jinko Eisen to Jinrui no Hametsu
Shintoho 1957-12-28
Destruction of the Space Fleet, Super Giants 6
スーパー・ジャイアンツ 宇宙艇と人工衛星の激突
Super Giants Uchutei to Jinko Eisen no Kekitotsu
Shintoho 1958-01-03
天城心中 天国に結ぶ恋
Amagi Shinju Tengoku ni Musubu Koi
Shintoho 1958-01-26
Fresh Pier
Jotai Senbashi
Shintoho 1958-04-12
White Line
Shirosen Himitsu Chitai
Shintoho 1958-09-21
Return of the Queen Bee
Jobachi no Ikari
Shintoho 1958-12-28
Broken Blossoms
Senjo no Nadeshiko
Shintoho 1959-02-25
Mofubuki no Shito
Shintoho 1959-04-29
Nippon Romance Ryoko: Sapporo Han
Shintoho 1959-04-29
Black Line
Kurosen Chitai
Shintoho 1960-01-13
Girls without Return Tickets
Nyotai Uzumaki Shima
Shintoho 1960-02-27
Yellow Line
黄線地帯 イエローライン
Osen Chitai
Shintoho 1960-04-29
Queen Bee and the Dragons
Jobachi to Daigaku no Ryū
Shintoho 1960-09-01
Sexy Line
Sexy Chitai
Shintoho 1961-01-09
恋愛ズバリ講座 第三話
Ren'ai Zubari Koza
Shintoho 1961-01-21
Flower and Storm and Gang, Gang 1
Hana to Arashi to Gang
Toei 1961-06-23
Kiri to Kage
Toei 1961-08-26
Kiiroi Fudo
Toei 1961-09-23
Gang 2
Koi to Taiyo to Gang
Toei 1962-03-21
The G-men of the Pacific
Taiheiyo no G-men
Toei 1962-04-22
Boss of the Underworld: Gang of 11, Gang 5
暗黒街の顔役 十一人のギャング
Ankokugai no Kaoyaku: Juichinin no Gang
Toei 1963-01-15
Gang 6
ギャング対Gメン 集団金庫破り
Gang tai G-men: Shudan Kinko Yaburi
Toei 1963-02-23
Kill the Boss
Oyabun wo Taose
Toei 1963-06-22
Showa Kyokakuden
Toei 1963-10-05
Gang 9, Tokyo Gang versus Hong Kong Gang
Tokyo Gang tai Hong Kong Gang
Toei 1964-01-01
Toei 1964-04-05
Gokinzo yaburi
Toei 1964-08-13
Irezumi Totsugekitai
Toei 1964-10-21
Toei 1965-01-03
Abashiri Prison
Abashiri Bangaichi
Toei 1965-04-18
Zoku Abashiri Bangaichi
Toei 1965-07-10
網走番外地 望郷篇
Abashiri Bangaichi: Bokyohen
Toei 1965-10-31
網走番外地 北海篇
Abashiri Bangaichi: Hokkai-hen
Toei 1965-12-31
日本ゼロ地帯 夜を狙え
Nippon Zero Chitai: Yoru wo Nerae
Shochiku 1966-03-05
Abashiri Prison: Duel in the Wind
網走番外地 荒野の対決
Abashiri Bangaichi: Koya no Taiketsu
Toei 1966-04-23
Big Villain Plan
Daiakuto Sakusen
Shochiku 1966-07-09
網走番外地 南国の対決
Abashiri Bangaichi: Nangoku no Taiketsu
Toei 1966-08-13
神火101 殺しの用心棒
Shinka 101: Koroshi no Yojimbo
Shochiku 1966-12-23
網走番外地 大雪原の対決
Abashiri Bangaichi: Dai-setsugen no Taiketsu
Toei 1966-12-30
網走番外地 決斗零下30度
Abashiri Bangaichi: Ketto Reika 30-do
Toei 1967-04-20
Toei 1967-05-20
Abashiri Prison: Challenge for Glory
網走番外地 悪への挑戦
Abashiri Bangaichi: Aku Eno Chosen
Toei 1967-08-12
Abashiri Prison: Duel in the Snow Storm
網走番外地 吹雪の斗争
Abashiri Bangaichi: Fubuki no Toso
Toei 1967-12-23
Zoku Otoshimae
Toei 1968-03-30
Tokugawa Onna Keizu
Toei 1968-05-01
Onsen Anma Geisha
Toei 1968-06-28
Shogun's Joys of Torture
Tokugawa Onna Keibatsushi
Toei 1968-09-28
Orgies of Edo
残酷異常虐待物語 元禄女系図
Zankoku Ijo Gyakutai Monogatari Genroku Jokeizu
Toei 1969-01-09
Shameless: Abnormal and Abusive Love
異常性愛記録 ハレンチ
Ijo Seai Kiroku Harenchi
Toei 1969-02-21
The Friendly Killer
Noboriryu Tekkahada
Nikkatsu 1969-03-29
Inferno of Torture / Hell's Tattooers
徳川いれずみ師 責め地獄
Tokugawa Irezumishi Seme Jigoku
Toei 1969-05-02
A History of Yakuza Punishment: Lynch!
やくざ刑罰史 私刑
Yakuza Keibatsushi: Lynch!
Toei 1969-06-27
Love and Crime
明治大正昭和 猟奇女犯罪史
Meiji Taisho Showa Ryoki Onna Hanzaishi
Toei 1969-08-27
Horrors of Malformed Men
江戸川乱歩全集 恐怖奇形人間
Edogawa Rampo Zenshu Kyofu Kikei Ningen
Toei 1969-10-31
Koroshiya ninbetsucho
Toei 1970-01-31
Kangoku ninbetsucho
Toei 1970-04-10
Blind Woman's Curse
Kaidan Nobori Ryū
Nikkatsu 1970-06-20
Hijirimen Bakuto
Toei 1972-11-21
ポルノ時代劇 忘八武士道
Porno Jidaigeki: Bohachi Bushido
Toei 1973-02-03
Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture
やさぐれ姐御伝 総括リンチ
Yasagure Anago Den: Sokatsu Lynch
Toei 1973-06-07
Gendai Ninkyo-shi
Toei 1973-10-27
Direct Hit! Hell Fist, Executioner
直撃! 地獄拳
Chokugeki! Jigokuhen
Toei 1974-08-10
The Karate Inferno
直撃地獄拳 大逆転
Chokugeki Jigokuhen: Dai Gyakuten
Toei 1974-12-28
Toei 1975-04-05
爆発! 暴走族
Bakuhatsu! Bosozoku
Toei 1975-09-20
実録三億円事件 時効成立
Jitsuroku 3 Okuen Jiken: Jiko Seiritsu
Toei 1975-11-22
爆発! 暴走遊戯
Bakuhatsu! Boso Yugi
Toei 1976-01-15
Kinkin no Lumpen Taisho
Toei 1976-04-24
Boso no Kisetsu
Toei 1976-07-01
惑星ロボ ダンガードA対昆虫ロボット軍団
Wakusei Robot Dangard A tai Konchu Robot Gundan
Toei 1977-07-17
Boryoku Senshi
Toei 1979-10-06
The Hitman: Blood Smells Like Roses
ザ・ヒットマン 血はバラの匂い
The Hitman: Chi wa Bara no Nioi
Toei Video 1991-06-14
Tsuge Yoshiharu World: Gensenkan Shujin
Kinoshita Eiga 1993-07-24
Vagabond Plain
Burai Heiya
Wides Publishing
Screwed / Wind-Up Type
Teruo Ishii Productions 1998-07-18
Japanese Hell / Hell
Teruo Ishii Productions 1999-11-20
Blind Beast vs. Dwarf / Blind Beast versus Issue Boshi
Môjû tai Issunbôshi
Teruo Ishii Productions 2001-06-24
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