Dark Visions of Japanese Film Noir: Suzuki Seijun’s Branded to Kill (1967)
Suzuki Seijun’s 1967 film Branded to Kill (Koroshi no rakuin – hereafter Branded) – the story of a contract killer being dismissed by a gangster organization – created a controversial real life incident when Nikkatsu, one of Japan’s oldest film studios, dismissed Suzuki, then one if its contract directors, ten months after its release. On April 25, 1968, Suzuki was directing the television series Aisai-kun konbanwa: aru ketto¯ [Good Evening, Mr Devoted Husband: A Duel]. He received a telephone call from the secretary of Hori Kyu¯saku, the president of Nikkatsu, and was told that the studio would not pay his salary for April. Just like that, Suzuki Seijun was fired from Nikkatsu.