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Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) More at IMDbPro »Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensô (original title)

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Release Date:
26 August 1995 (Japan) See more »
Amidst a Chinese and Japanese mafia war, a lawyer for the Chinese mob finds a rift forming between him and his corrupt police office brother. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
The first instalment of Miike's Black Society Trilogy; an interesting work See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order)
Kippei Shîna ... Kiriya
Tomorowo Taguchi ... Wang
Takeshi Caesar ... Karino
Ren Ôsugi ... Yakuza boss
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yukie Itou
Kyosuke Izutsu
Kazuhiro Mashiko
Yôji Tanaka
Airi Yanagi

Directed by
Takashi Miike 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ichirô Fujita 

Produced by
Tetsuya Ikeda .... producer
Toshiki Kimura .... producer
Ken Takeuchi .... planner
Tsutomu Tsuchikawa .... producer
Original Music by
Atorie Shira 
Cinematography by
Naosuke Imaizumi 
Film Editing by
Yasushi Shimamura  (as Taiji Shimamura)
Production Design by
Tatsuo Ozeki 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hideyuki Yamamoto .... assistant director
Sound Department
Kunio Ando .... sound recordist (as Kunio Andô)
Yukiya Sato .... sound (as Yukiya Satô)
Camera and Electrical Department
Masaaki Sakurai .... lighting technician

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensô" - Japan (original title)
"Shinjuku Underworld: Chinese Mafia War" - International (English title) (literal title)
"China Mafia War" - Asia (English title)
See more »
100 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Referenced in Unikal'noe pozdravlenie (2014)See more »


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
The first instalment of Miike's Black Society Trilogy; an interesting work, 5 July 2008
Author: Graham Greene from United Kingdom

The world of Takashi Miike's cinema is an abstract and ever conflicting one; moving from moments of gritty realism, character depth and almost tranquil beauty, to jarring elements of outlandish violence, tongue-in-cheek humour and outrageous visual exaggeration. This continual juxtaposition of tone can be problematic for some viewers, as the film announces itself as a serious, worthy crime picture, only to then undercut this notion with a flash-cut of a forensic detective offering peace signs as he poses with a severed head. This continual approach of more serious, dramatic moments undermined or subverted by remnants of mocking humour is emblematic of Miike's work, and can be seen in many of his greatest films, such as Ley Lines (1999), Dead or Alive 2: Birds (2000) and the masterpiece Visitor Q (2001). It's an approach to cinema that seems deliberately intended to challenge the preconceptions of an audience and to provoke an immediate reaction (often through shock), which can be further witnessed in the director's often bold disregard for the notions of genre convention or traditional narrative design.

With Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) we see many of these ideas and characteristics in their earliest stages of consideration, with the film in some respects establishing Miike for the first time as a serious filmmaker of bold intent and critical worth. Though it lacks the obvious finesse and sterling confidence of his later work, it is, nonetheless, an important film, worthy of repeated viewings and serious critical analysis. As ever with the director, the film focuses on elements of the criminal underworld, here the "black society" of downtown Shinjuku, with loyalty, betrayal, honour and responsibility all driving the plot forward towards a violent and confrontational finale. We also have the inclusion of one of Miike's favourite dramatic motifs, the idea of the outcast within society, with the combining influence of geographical displacement and the search for somewhere to belong - often manifested in the representation of family - becoming central to the duality of the relationship between both criminal and cop. These themes would be further defined in the two subsequent films that would eventual come to form the backbone of this loose, thematic trilogy; with the themes of Shinjuku Triad Society leading off into Rainy Dog (1997) and the aforementioned Ley Lines.

The film could also be seen as a run through for the more elaborate and post-modern experimentation of the original Dead or Alive (1999), with the cop vs. criminal aspect of the story being the catalyst for the drama, despite the apparent fact that both of these particular characters are as flawed and viciously corrupt as one another. Once again with Miike we have a series of vague characterisations that suggest a background and personality through scenarios and brief, enigmatic images; for example, the quick cut of the small boy sat melancholy in the yard of a low-rent tenement that we see right near the beginning of the film - establishing the themes behind the story on an entirely cryptic and puzzling note - which is repeated again towards the end of the film to offer an implied sense of closure. This will no doubt prove problematic for some viewers, who demand closure or a character that we can root for and identify with, but as ever, Miike is unconcerned with such routine presentations and instead gives us two warring characters that are both morally repugnant, yet ultimately sympathetic, almost in equal measures.

The tone and presentation of the film is provocative throughout, with Miike underlining the violence of the world in which the film plays out by abstracting it to near comic-book like levels of excess. It's never as bold or as farcical as something like Ichi the Killer (2001), though we can clearly see an attempt on the part of the director to establish an attitude and approach that undercuts the grittier elements of drama to instead present something almost otherworldly (again, this was done more successfully in the underrated Ley Lines). Nonetheless, it can be seen as another example of Miike's subversive approach to cinema, disarming us through shock scenes and outré moments of pitch-black comedy that seem almost purposely out of place within the world of gang war and routine police investigations. It's the kind of film in which scenes of lengthy dialog discussion give way to scenes of gay rape, gunplay and a subplot involving Taiwanese orphans and organ transplants, where the main villain is an eye-gouging, homosexual exhibitionist and the main representation of the law thinks nothing about raping a prostitute or smashing her in the face with a steel chair.

Certainly, it won't please everyone - with the disregard for logic and convention going against our preconceptions of this kind of genre - though again, the film is ultimately beyond such notions. Despite the gangland theatricality and obvious crime-thriller aspects of the plot, Shinjuku Triad Society has deeper themes expressed within the odd similarities between the wayward police officer and the perverted criminal that goes back to the ideas of loneliness, alienation and the longing to fit in. The film ends on a sad note, leaving unanswered questions about the fate of the characters or the actions that led to the climactic revelation, but with the clear implication that the thing we most desire is always slightly out of reach. It may not be as polished or as successful as some of the director's other films - with the obvious low-budget and perhaps lack of experience clear within some elements of the script - nonetheless, this is one of Miike's most interesting and thought-provoking films, made all the more worthwhile by the two excellent central performances from Kippei Shiina and Tomorowo Taguchi.

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Black Society Trilogy richardsth
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The twist? cjrushbrook
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