Japan loses its most controversial director

Nagisa Oshima, Japan's most controversial director, has passed away from pneumonia at age 80.
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Nagisa Oshima, the second most well-known director in Japan has passed away after years of health struggles due to a heart attack in 1996. He was at a hospital near Fujisawa, south of Tokyo and aged 80. His death was caused by pneumonia according to a statement released by his office to the Japanese news media.

‘My father died calmly,’ Oshima’s younger son Arata told AFP. ‘He
was with members of his family, wife Akiko and elder son Takeshi. I
wasn’t there. My father had been in hospital since late last year and
died of pneumonia.’

Oshima was remembered for his most famous film released in 1963, The Realm of the Senses, a brutal and graphic film sharing the story of a woman who after days of sex and erotic asphyxiation, strangles her lover to death and cuts off his penis and testicles.

Born on March 31, 1932, the descendant of a well-off family with samurai ancestry, Oshima was raised in Kyoto by his mother after his father died when he was only six years old.
He entered the law school at Kyoto University where he was a radical student leader. After working as an apprentice at the Shochiku studio (having allegedly cheated his way to the head of 2,000 applicants) and also as a film critic, he started directing youth films.

Many of his films dealt with racist brutality, sex crimes, sexual revelation, youth crime and the dysfunctional family. His last film was Taboo, a sexually tense story about gay samurais set at the end of the Edo period released in 1999.

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