Graveyard of Honor is a Japanese Yakuza movie directed by Kinji Fukasaku released in 1975. The film is based on the life of Rikio Ishikawa, a notorious Yakuza gangster whose life was documented in the book “Graveyard of Honor” by Goro Fujita.
This 1975 Yakuza movie is an adaptation of the book by Goro Fujita. There was also a later adaption in 2002, directed by Takashi Miike. Both movies were released as a blu-ray collector set by Arrow Video in 2020 titled “Graveyards of Honor”.
Rikio Ishikawa (portrayed by Tetsuya Watari) is a renegade Yakuza who falls afoul of his own clan and is banished to Oaska. Here, he seeks shelter with a prostitute named Chieko and develops an opiate addiction. Ishikawa’s unpredictable nature worsens and his behaviour spirals out of control.
How was Graveyard of Honor (1975) Received Critically?
Graveyard of Honor 1975, was received well by critics. It has been praised for its explosive action scenes and candid portrayal concerning the fragility of the male ego.
Here are some examples of quotes from critics:
“An unrelenting, action-packed saga of a gangster’s rise and fall.”
“Fukasaku’s film epitomizes the various stylistic and thematic hallmarks of the jitsuroku eiga genre: a realistic, documentary-like style; a focus on extreme violence; and an emphasis on the fragility of the male ego and the importance of honor.”
“The Graveyard of Honor theme is hardly unique, but the way Fukasaku strings his set-pieces together – all of them pithy, unpredictable and intelligently shot – is revelatory.”
About the Director Kinji Fukasaku
Kinji Fukasaku was a highly influential Japanese film director and screenwriter, known for his contributions to the crime and action genres. He wrote and directed more than 60 films throughout his career, and is considered one of the most important figures in Japanese cinema history.
He got his start in the film industry in the 1950s, working as an assistant on various films before making his directorial debut in 1961 with “Drifting Detective: Tragedy in the Red Valley”. Fukasaku went on to direct a diverse range of films, including crime dramas, action movies, and science fiction movies.
Fukasaku is particularly well-known for his gritty and realistic depictions of violence, corruption, and the criminal underworld. His crime films often explored themes of honor, loyalty, and the blurred lines between good and evil. He was admired for his dynamic and innovative filmmaking style, which helped him to create intense and suspenseful action sequences.
Kinji Fukasaku’s work has been widely celebrated by critics and film enthusiasts alike, and he received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. Many of his films are now considered classics of Japanese cinema.
Sadly, Fukasaku passed away in 2003 at the age of 72 after a battle with prostate cancer. However, his contributions to Japanese cinema continue to be remembered and appreciated by many today.
About the Author Goro Fujita
Goro Fujita is a Japanese journalist and author who wrote the book “Graveyard of Honor,” which served as the basis for the 1975 movie directed by Kinji Fukasaku. Fujita is known for his work as a journalist covering the yakuza and organized crime in Japan. He has written extensively about the criminal underworld in his books and articles.
Fujita’s writing is notable for its focus on the human stories behind the yakuza, rather than just the criminal activities they engage in. His books often explore the personal lives, motivations and struggles of yakuza members, as well as the impact of their actions.
“Graveyard of Honor” is one of Fujita’s most well-known works and is widely regarded as a classic of Japanese true crime literature.
Other Yakuza Movies by Kinji Fukasaku
Kinji Fukasaku is incredibly well known for his portrayal of the Yakuza in his movies. Here are some other movies he has directed that are themed around the Yakuza.
- Battles Without Honor & Humanity (The Yakuza Papers 1-5)
- Street Mobster (1972)
- Cops Vs Thugs (1975)
- Yakuza Graveyard (1976)