Miyazaki Tsutomu

Alex Zahlten Alex.Zahlten
Thu Jun 19 14:08:18 EDT 2008

Since this is highly relevant for recent Japanese film, I thought this should be mentioned on the list as well.

A few days ago Miyazaki Tsutomu was executed for the slaying of four young girls, a crime he was arrested for in 1989. Miyazaki triggered a moral panic towards anime and otaku culture at the time, and had some effect on film production as well. His vast collection of pornographic and horror videos was extensively reported upon, especially his (purportedly) favorite films from the Guinea Pig series. This put, at least for a while, "horror" film producers under pressure to make less gory films (one mustn't forget that splatter/gore effect-laden films were very popular in Japan in the 1980s). 

Especially Japan Home Video, which by that time was handling the rights to the Guinea Pig series, immediately put a stop to production of any similar material. To get around the problem, Tsuruta Noria, a producer at JHV, then started work on his first professional directing job utilizing a different horror aesthetic, one relying much more strongly on atmosphere than effects. The result was a three-episode low budget straight-to-video production called "Honto ni atta kowai hanashi" ("Truly Scary Stories" in the U.S.). Tsuruta had been well known in the 8mm film circles of the 1980s, and this series was very successful for a video production. It also (re-?)introduced loads of narrative and visual tropes that can be found in every "J-horror" film of the late 1990s and beyond. The scriptwriter for "Ring", Takahashi Hiroshi, has named Tsuruta's all in all relatively obscure series as a major influence for the film, and he originally pushed for him to direct the film. That didn't !
 work out, but he did get a shot at directing "Ring 0" two years later.

An interview I once held with Tsuruta is available on Midnight Eye under:

Has anyone in Japan in the moment noticed consequences for the media or the discussion of otaku culture due to the recent stabbing incident in Akihabara? There has been some speculation that Miyazaki's speedy execution (his last appeal was thrown out very recently) in fact had something to due with the events in Akihabara.

alex at nipponconnection.de

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