Ultra-Violence of ‘World of Kanako’ Stirs Japanese Box Office, Online Uproar

The World of Kanako (Kawaki)

"Confessions" director issues 'grotesque' statement, not an apology

TOKYO – “Confessions” director Tetsuya Nakashima’s latest hyper-violent drama “The World of Kanako (Kawaki)” has stirred up a storm of controversy since its June 27 release in Japan

Slapped with an R-15 rating, meaning than no one 14 and under can see it, the pic stars Koji Yakusho (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “13 Assassins”) as a former detective with a hair-trigger temper searching for his missing teenage daughter, whose “model student” image turns out to be a sham.

The hero’s outrageous behavior, from violent rape to attempted vehicular homicide, has prompted  a flood of critical comments on message boards and social networks, especially when theaters offered a special student discount to encourage more teens the daughter’s age to see the film. “This is a film that shouldn’t be shown to students,” one commentator opined. 

In reaction Nakashima has issued a statement saying “I’m really sorry if (the film) is too grotesque.” However, he also defends his over-the-top treatment as a continuation of themes he dealt with in 2010 smash “Confessions.”

In that pic a middle school teacher (Takako Matsu) takes slow-burning revenge against two students she believes killed her toddler daughter. The pic earned $38 million in Japan, making it the 7th highest-earning local film for the year, and it topped the box office in other parts of Asia. “The human feelings of love and hate are not always so far apart,” Nakashima explains. “’Kanako’ is a film I felt that I had to make.”  

“Kanako” has its fervent Internet defenders, as well as paying fans.

Opening on 303 screens with Gaga distributing, it earned $1.1 million on 83,400 admissions for the June 28/29 weekend and entered the B.O. chart at number four. It now looks likely to finish with about half the take of “Confessions,” though the online uproar could push this total higher.

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  1. whateva says:

    i was stunned at this movie… what a joke. considering how moving memories of matsuko and stylish confessions was, i was really shocked to see this horrible film. absolute disjointed nonsense. the big ‘twist’ or however you want to think about it is so heavy handed and nonsensical. what a joke movie. pure trash

  2. crookedmindframe says:

    His film Confessions was amazing and easily one of the best films of 2010, controversy aside, I’m still really excited to see this one.

  3. therealeverton says:

    The problem for us is we haven’t seen the film so are very hard placed to critique it in either direction.

    The second problem, the big one for the film, ids that it sounds like an adults only film. It sounds like here, in the U.K. it would be an 18. IF Japan doesn’t have a higher rating, or it has been rated too young, that isn’t the film makers fault. If people of 15,, or 16 or 17 are too young to see it, rate it higher.

    • Jean-Michel says:

      Japan does have a higher rating (R-18), but it takes a lot to get an R-18 for violence. Even Miike’s LESSON OF THE EVIL (in which a teacher dispatches a few dozen of his students in various gory ways) got by with an R-15.

      • crookedmindframe says:

        Lesson of the Evil was pretty violent, but nothing controversial or rating-pushing (mainly standard gun violence). It would get an MA 15 + here in Australia, nothing close to an R 18+ like The Raid 2 got here.

    • Adam torel says:

      His last film CONFESSIONS was an 18 in UK and I’d expect the same for this without a doubt as it’s very gratutious violence. It’s over the top for fun so I’d def expect an 18. Will be out in the UK later this year

  4. Max says:

    As far as the public is concerned, it doesn’t matter what country. The more violence the better it seems, there are very few movies that are out there that are worth seeing.

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