Ichi the Killer (2001)
"Koroshiya 1" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  25 July 2002 (Netherlands)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 40,979 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 275 user | 137 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.



(comic), (screenplay)
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6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nao Ômori ...
Paulyn Sun ...
Karen (as Alien Sun)
Susumu Terajima ...
Suzuki (as Sabu)
Shun Sugata ...
Toru Tezuka ...
Yoshiki Arizono ...
Kiyohiko Shibukawa ...
Ryu Long (as Kee)
Satoshi Niizuma ...
Suzuki Matsuo ...
Jirô / Saburô
SABU ...
Kaneko (as Hiroyuki Tanaka)
Moro Morooka ...
Coffee Shop Manager
Hôka Kinoshita ...
Sailor's Lover


When a Yakuza boss named Anjo disappears with 300 million yen, his chief henchman, a sadomasochistic man named Kakihara, and the rest of his mob goons go looking for him. After capturing and torturing a rival Yakuza member looking for answers, they soon realize they have the wrong man and begin looking for the man named Jijii who tipped them off in the first place. Soon enough Kakihara and his men encounter Ichi, a psychotic, sexually-repressed young man with amazing martial arts abilities and blades that come out of his shoes. One by one Ichi takes out members of the Yakuza and all the while Kakihara intensifies his pursuit of Ichi and Ichi's controller Jijii. What will happen as the final showdown happens between the tortured and ultra-violent Ichi and the pain-craving Kakihara? Written by Joseph

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ai wa, kanari itai. (Love really hurts.) See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong perverse violence/gore and sexuality, language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

25 July 2002 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Ichi the Killer  »

Box Office


$1,400,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (heavily cut) | (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As a publicity gimmick, barf bags were handed out at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to those attending the midnight screening of this film. See more »


When Kakihara is attacked in the streets, protective padding is visible under his clothing. Look for it when he bends over backwards without falling over, before he removes his piercings. See more »


Ichi: From now on, I'll beat you up.
Sailor: You will?
Ichi: Yes.
[Kaneko smiles]
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits scroll up, down, left, right, forwards and backwards. See more »


Referenced in The Dark Knight (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A symphony of violence
2 January 2007 | by (Bulgaria) – See all my reviews

In 2001 Japanesse cult director Takashi Miike created one of the most unique and controversial movies ever to grace the screen. An adaptation of a manga with the same name, "Ichi The Killer" is a wild and crazy ride into the depths of human madness. As the movie creates its own parallel to our world where sexual violence and torture are common ways to express a character's emotional condition or thoughts.

Plotwise "Ichi The Killer" deals with an yakuza Kakihara (played by the diverse Tadanobu Asano) who along with his underlings starts a search for his missing boss. At the same time he finds himself chased by a mysterious assassin known only as Ichi. Kakihara's methods of extracting information become a similar sight throughout the film, with him torturing anyone that could know something about his boss.

The movie is presented as a dark comedy that feels more like a parody of humanity's most dark and hidden desires. With every character representing a sick and twisted version of a certain established type of behavior found in modern society. From the abused, passive and sexually inactive male being transformed into a crying psychopatic murderer whose's only excitement comes from seeing (or causing) massive displays of violence and rape (Ichi). To the violent gangster stereotype further villainized with the character of Kakihara whose never ending need to inflict pain to others or to himself has left him void to any other forms of arouse or emotion. Miike goes so far that he criticizes women in Japan for their often seen submissive behavior by introducing a more independent persona with the character of Karen, a notably western influenced person, her need to cause pain nearly borders Kakihara's.

The violence itself is presented in such an obscenely over-exaggerated way that one can not help but laugh at some of the situations created by it. Make no mistake this movie is definitely no kiddie ride, and people who can't stand horror or alternative films have no place in watching this. Miike has gone so far in this that even the title introduction in the begging is going to shock you. He also succeeds in creating a very dreamlike feel to the movie. More nightmarish than dreamlike actually. The finale itself is shockingly absurd with the two main characters "battling" it out from a third person's perspective.

A special note should be made concerning the movie's soundtrack. Whose unique use of completely different and diverse from each other sounds and styles fits with the film's own meddling in cinematic genres.

There is really no second like "Ichi The Killer" Takashi Miike created an original work that could disgust many but could also amaze any of those people who are searching for something more untraditional.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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