Ichi the Killer contains an infamous torture scene which shows a woman’s nipples being sliced off by a knife. The film was edited by British Board of Film Classification on account of its “extreme sexualized violence” (BBC, “Censors” par. 5). Several other films are almost as controversial:
 Imprint was initially scheduled for broadcast in North America on 27 January 2006 (Kehr par.1). After the show was cancelled, no further broadcast was scheduled, although the broadcast subsequently went ahead in Australia, England, Japan and several other countries. Anchor Bay Entertainment released the DVD of Imprint on 26 September 2006.
 See, e.g., BBC (“Throne”); Rayns; Tony Williams; Zine. In Britain, Miike’s films on DVD are marketed by Tartan Films as part of their “Asia Extreme” series: see Dew 53-54.
 E.g. Sweeney: “Snuff Film Rashomon” (par. 1); Park (par. 9); Kutner (par. 3); Wilson (par. 4); Robbins (par. 4).
 See, e.g., Anderson and Richie 455; Bock 13-14; Desser, Eros 13. Apart from Miike, two other filmmakers who have been mentioned as the “leading lights” of new Japanese cinema are Takeshi Kitano and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Chute et al 37); on Kiyoshi Kurosawa as “the finest horror director working today” (13), see White. But Miike also has plenty of detractors. For example,
I am more inclined to agree with Chris D:
 Cf. also Miike’s explanation of his non-selective approach in accepting projects:
 Iwai was born in Okayama in 1964. “Bokkee Kyotee” won two awards: the Japan’s Horror Writers' Association Grand Prize in 1999, and the Yamamoto Award for Outstanding Writing in 2000. Her acknowledgment that she had always wanted “Miike-san” to direct “Bokkee” (“Imprinting” 3:19-3:23) in some ways reflects her own status as a popular, versatile player in Japan’s pop media. Iwai started her career as a writer of shoojo shoosetsu(young women’s novels) but her range has broadened to include writing short stories, essays, “serious” novels, opinion columns, as well as acting, film-producing and making regular appearances on popular television talk shows. She has a reputation for being very outspoken about sex (she nicknames herself an ero-obahan, or something like a “horny pushy auntie”) and has written frankly about her private life, even giving “expert” advice in an article about international penis sizes (Connell pars. 8-9). Her other interests include discussing popular social trends related to Japanese women, e.g. Japanese housewives' obsession with Korean melodrama (Japan Today, “Japanese Marriages” par. 11), Asian men’s Oedipal complex (Schreiber, “Keeping” par. 11), and the nicknames used by professional women to describe their male acquaintances (Schreiber, “Girls” par. 16).
Horror is one of the genres in which Iwai specializes, and some of her horror short stories have been dramatized into a television miniseries Fantasma (2004). Iwai’s best known work is perhaps Jiyuu Renai (2002), a novel set in the late Taisho period and which tells the parallel story of two idealistic young women who exchange role as wife and mistress to one man. As a study of women’s experiences in the 1920s and 1930s, Jiyuu Renai is less sentimental and didactic than stories such as Akira Kurosawa’s No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), which depicts a spoiled rich girl miraculously changing into a selfless peasant heroine. Jiyuu Renai has been adapted into a commercially successful film, Bluestockings (2005), directed by Masato Harada. Iwai’s website is:
 Akutagawa was born in 1892 and died in 1927. Besides being the “Father” of the Japanese short story, he is associated with Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, which was established in 1935 by his friend Kikuchi Kan to commemorate his death, and which, until recently, had tended to be awarded to male writers. See Ashby.
To be sure, the samurai who appears in the film is far more unreliable than the one who appears in the short story. Kurosawa acknowledges: “[E]ven the character who dies cannot give up his lies when he speaks to the living through a medium” (Kurosawa 183).
Nevertheless, we should be wary of reading the film back into the short story, and forgetting that the Woodcutter’s account is an addition of Kurosawa’s. In Akutagawa’s version, the samurai has the last laugh, and his account is the climax of the tale. We should also remember the following literary conventions:
Donald Keene is characteristically astute when he describes the samurai’s account as “the most striking of the seven accounts” (Dawn 572). Otherwise, see Tsuruta 20-36. [return to page 2 of illustrated essay]
 In the first story, “How a Thief Climbed to the Upper Story of Rasho Gate and Saw a Corpse,” which Akutagawa rewrote into “Rashomon,” Konjaku explicitly calls the young man a “thief” (Ury 183), and the old woman’s explanation comes across as poignant rather than self-serving:
In the second story, “How a Man who was Accompanying His Wife to Tanba Province Got Trussed Up at Oeyama,” which Akutagawa rewrote into “In a Bamboo Grove,” Konjaku is most sympathetic towards the wife: “The woman had no way of resisting [the bandit]… [she] was helpless and had to obey” (Ury 185)
The story reserves its harshest criticism for the greedy, unscrupulous husband. In the tale, not only did the woman not instigate the bandit to kill her husband, she was even told by the bandit that he is sparing her husband’s life as a favor to her. The tale ends with the woman’s unleashing her anger on her husband: “You wretch! You good-for-nothing coward! From this day forward I’ll never trust you again” (Ury 185), upon which the husband is shamed into silence: “[He] said not a word” (Ury 185). Konjaku’s moralist reaches this scathing conclusion:
This makes it all the more remarkable that Akutagawa should have rewritten the tale in favor of the husband by:
 Howard S. Hibbett provides an interesting biographical insight into Akutagawa’s attitude towards women through the description of Akutagawa’s brief love affair with the “geisha” and “accomplished poetess” Shigeko Hide:
Also relevant is Akutagawa’s last major work, Kappa (1927), which borrows heavily from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and is a satirical novella about a madman’s journey into the land of the Kappas, a race of mythical water imps. The novella is deeply skeptical about the female gender. Kinya Tsuruta summarizes:
 Miike says of “Bokkee:”
 A draft version of Tengan’s screenplay is included as a special feature on the official DVD of Imprint. I have quoted directly from the film whenever a discrepancy exists between the dialogue in the draft script and the dialogue in the film.
 To be fair, Miike has also made some controversial remarks about women, e.g.,
 See, e.g., Jones; Corliss; McAsey; Wilmington: [return to page 3 of illustrated essay]
See also Alex Cox’s documentary Kurosawa: the Last Emperor (1999).
 Among Kurosawa’s devotees are some of white Hollywood’s most formidable powerbrokers. For example,
For further discussions of Kurosawa’s influence on white Hollywood, see Prince 340-58. On a side note, Spielberg is also the executive producer of Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha.
 For anti-Orientalist criticisms of these films, see Vinh on Kill Bill; and Day on Lost in Translation. Neither should we forget the spate of Hollywood J-horror remakes such as The Ring (2002), The Ring Two (2005), Dark Water (2005), The Grudge (2004), The Grudge 2 (2006), One Missed Call (2008) and so on.
 See above n7.
 Tellingly, Miike has declined to participate in Season 2 of Masters of Horror. Since then, the role of “token Asian” has been overtaken by Norio Tsuruta of Ring 0: Birthday (2000) fame.
 Regardless of whether the ethnic diversity in Miike’s films indicates a sympathy for “rootless individuals” (Mes, Agitator 23) or is merely a form of “commercial multiculturalism” (Ko 136), this aspect of Miike’s filmmaking can again be contrasted with the filmmaking of Kurosawa, who tends towards a nostalgic, ethnically homogenous view of Japanese history and culture.
 Miike: “Because [Imprint] was for American audiences, we made it beautiful and scary. We didn’t restrict things to the realistic confines of the period” (“Imprinting” 19:36-19:45).
In Django, he takes the cross-cultural experiment he began in Imprint further. Obviously, “Sukiyaki Western” is a reference to Sergio Carbucci’s “Spaghetti Western” Django (1966), which borrowed from Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which in turn borrowed from the films of John Ford. It is possible to interpret Miike’s outrageous jidaigeki (“period drama”) as a postmodern satire on the Meiji ideal of wakon-yosai (“Japanese spirit, Western technique”): an ideal which Kurosawa’s films are often said to epitomize. Django is loaded with references to high and popular culture from Japan and the West: e.g. the plot mentions the historical Battle of Dannoura (1185); the colors of the rival clans (Red and White) symbolize the national flag; and “Heike” and “Genji” refer to two of Japan’s most influential literary classics: the military epic The Tale of Heike and the courtly romance The Tale of Genji. If the film has a serious point, it is to celebrate the chaotic heterogeneity of Japanese culture. Among the funniest scenes in the film is the one which shows the Heike clan leader, Kiyomori, pompously renaming himself “Henry” after Shakespeare’s Henry VI: a scene that satirizes the over pious efforts of Japanese people like Kurosawa to portray Japanese culture through Western classics.
As a satirical jidaigeki, Django also subverts the genre’s tendency towards a romantically conservative view of history by openly acknowledging Japan’s minority indigenous people (represented by the trumpet-playing old man on the hill). Among these were the Ainu, Hokkaido’s indigenous population who were forced to assimilate into mainstream Japan under the colonial policy of the Meiji government. Even today, this issue remains something of a social taboo: see Weiner 1-16; Hogg. In June 2008, the Japanese government unexpectedly ratified a resolution to recognize the “distinct language, religion and culture” of the Ainu (Onishi, “Recognition” par. 3). However, it is unlikely that conservative Japan would take comfort from this comment by an official of the Biratori Ainu Culture Preservation Association: “It’s a good thing Japan lost World War II. If Japan had won, so many others would have lost their language and culture” (Onishi, “Recognition” par. 21).
 The satire of Imprint is made all the more incisive by the perfect casting of Youki Kudoh as “Woman.” Fans of J-pop should recognize Kudoh as the voice of the vampire-hunter Saya in Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s cult anime Blood: the Last Vampire (2000), and more importantly, as Pumpkin in Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha. Imprint ingeniously plays on audiences' knowledge of Memoirs. In Memoirs, the ragamuffin Pumpkin is a phony geisha-whore who sells out to the occupying U.S. soldiers while the heroine Sayuri is the “true” geisha who retains the spirit of geisha tradition. Yet, in this Showtime feature, Pumpkin has been cast as the intermediary of “truth” for the U.S. viewers. A more subtle role reversal is also noticeable for another part: Imprint has transformed Memoirs' evil stepsister Hatsumomo (literally “young peach”) into the suffering Cinderella Komomo (literally “little peach”).
 One thing about Imprint that everyone seems to agree on is the badness of Drago’s acting. E.g.
Nevertheless, Kudoh praises her co-star extravagantly (“Imprinting” 35:06-36:03), while people who say that Drago has no acting ability at all might want to reconsider their opinion in light of his appearance in Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2005), where he was able to make the nonsensical line, “Make me happy, yes, yes, yes,” sound poignant and unforgettable. Against the almost universal complaint about Drago, I will defend his appearance in Imprint on the following grounds. First, I suggest that Drago is cast primarily for his look as a “decadent Westerner” (tall, gaunt, pallid, blond-haired, blue-eyed, etc.) and for his street credit rather than for his ability as an actor. By these criteria, Drago makes a very suitable Christopher. Second, if I am right that Imprint is an Orientalist critique of Western audiences' reverence for Rashomon, then Drago’s “bad” acting perfectly offsets Mifune’s “good” acting, which is one aspect that Western critics have tended to overrate (cf. Yashimoto’s comment on Rashomon:
If anything, Drago’s acting helps to intensify the eeriness of Imprint’s Orientalist atmosphere. Third, to complain that Drago’s acting is “bad” is to invite the question who could have done a “good” job. Even if “good” actors like, say, Robert De Niro or Liam Neeson had taken the role, it is doubtful that they could have done much with it. Neither actor, one should note, was able to save “bad” projects like Hide and Seek (2005) and The Phantom Menace (1999). Fourth, to complain that the characters lack emotional realism in a project like Imprint is a bit like complaining that insects talk in a project like Bee Movie (2007): true enough, but what’s the point? If one insists on watching a polemical satire as an emotive humanist drama, no wonder one is disappointed.
 See Washburn 226; Davies 342-43. The “Christ” embedded in “Christopher” could also be a reference to the Westernization of Japan under the influence of Protestant Christianity during the Meiji period.
 An obvious source for Christopher and Komomo is Pinkerton and Cho-ch0 from John Luther Long’s American novelette version (1897) and Giacomo Puccini’s Italian operatic version (1904) of Madame Butterfly. Cf. Leupp:
But it is also useful to compare Imprint with two other more recent subversive retellings of the Madame Butterfly story. In David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly (1988), adapted into a film by David Cronenberg in 2003, the Orientalist fantasy is subverted by a sex change: the French diplomat René Gallimard is duped into believing that he has found the “perfect woman” in the transvestite Chinese spy Liling Song. In David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars (1995), adapted into a film by Scott Hicks in 1999, the gender and race of the lovers are reversed: the Melvillian American newspaperman Ishmael Chambers pines hopelessly for the Japanese American strawberry princess Hatsue Miyamoto (played by Imprint’s Youki Kudoh). Snow is also comparable to Imprint in the way it uses the Rashomon structure — the quest for “truth” and “justice” — for a radical end: to criticize the U.S. government’s maltreatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
 A more controversial subgenre of Japanese violent erotic films is the hardcore “Guinea Pig” series. These films are realistically stylized simulations of snuff films and feature many gut-wrenching spectacles of women being raped, tortured and vivisected. See McRoy, Nightmare 15-47.
 Cf. Mellen:
 Although the Komomo torture scene is so well done that it could easily rank among the best scenes from the pink film genre, it should be noted that Miike, unlike many of his contemporaries (e.g. Kiyoshi Kurosawa), actually has no background in making pink films (Mes, Agitator 416). Notwithstanding, it is a mark of Miike’s originality and daring that he has already announced plans to adapt Oniroku Dan’s homoerotic S/M novel Bishoonen (“Pretty Boy”): in other words, Miike’s first pink film shall be a gay one. See Brown, “New.”