I recently found out that Shishido Jo, the great chipmunk cheeked star of many a Nikkatsu film, lives in a neighborhood a few stops away from my place on the west side of Tokyo. I was elated to find that the man who epitomized 60s Japanese style is still around and can be found shopping at the neighborhood サミット (Summit) grocery store. I’m on the lookout for him.
No Borders, No Limits: 1960s Nikkatsu Action Cinema, beginning July 25 at NWFF, though, will have to suffice for folks in the Pacific Northwest to get close to Shishido Jo. He’s featured in a couple of the films in this great little series of strange, wonderful and way cool films from Nikkatsu, the film company that pretty much defined yakuza and youth cinema of the late 50s and 60s in Japan, and launched the careers of Suzuki Seijun (who a friend of mine spots regularly in his neighborhood) and Imamura Shohei.
Here’s the opening scene from GLASS JOHNNY -