Hasebe Yasuharu

The news services are reporting that the action film director, Hasebe Yasuharu, passed away on June 14th from pneumonia. He was 77.

Hasebe went to Waseda before joining the Nikkatsu film studio in 1958. There he worked as an assistant director to such greats as Suzuki Seijun and Nomura Takashi before debuting as a director in 1966 with Kobayashi Akira's outrageous Black Tight Killers (Ore ni sawaru to abunai ze). He was one of the central directors of late Nikkatsu Action, with Mina-goroshi no kenju and Shima wa moratta being two of Nikkatsu's best hard boiled films of the late 1960s. Hasebe often participated on the scripts using the name Fujii Takashi. As Nikkatsu moved to New Action in the 1960s, Hasebe helmed several of the Stray Cat Rock (Nora neko rokku) films, including Sex Hunter, which is a brilliant exploration of sex, violence, race and nationalism (this is out on DVD in the USA). Using Kaji Meiko from that film, he also helped out with the Sasori series at Toei (DVD). Although he made the important Assault! Jack the Ripper (Boko kirisaku jakku - also on DVD), he never fit with Nikkatsu Roman Poruno and switched to doing mostly TV from the 1980s on. His obituaries all note Abunai deka and the recent hit Aibo as his major works (both related to TV), but it's his Nikkatsu films that are worth a second look.

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