The pioneering Kôji Wakamatsu (born Ito Takashi) was a contemporary of Oshima Nagisa and equally controversial, yet not as famous. The man was born in Miyagi Prefecture in the north of Japan before dropping out of agricultural school, some say following a physical altercation, moving to Tokyo at age seventeen, joining the yakuza and landing in prison for a year as a consequence. While with the yakuza he would work for the mob collecting payments on film sets among other thuggery. Upon release and following odd jobs he became an assistant to a film director and eventually make his own pink film erotic feature called Sweet Trap in 1963. Twenty or so films, including several acclaimed ones for Nikkatsu Studio, later he created his own Wakamatsu production where he and crew would push back against norms by shooting softcore pink features, violent movies, left-wing resistance cuts and even internationally bent movies on topics like the oppression of the Palestinian nation and the Japanese underground. His efforts would take him to events like the Berlin Film Festival - occasionally to the annoyance of the official motion picture association of Japan - and have him work with other avant-garde directors like the aforementioned Oshima. He would also be blacklisted by foreign governments like the United States, which imposed a travel ban on him. Both he and the mainstream moved closer to one another eventually and before his death in a car accident where he was hit by a taxi in 2012 several of his films had garnered mainstream interest and miscellaneous Japanese and foreign awards. At the time of his death he was returning from a meeting regarding his latest project, which concerned Japan's nuclear industry lobby and the Tokyo-based TEPCO company. The topical subject matter followed on the heels of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.