Kōji Wakamatsu (1936-2012) was a Japanese film director, screenwriter and film producer. He is best known for his unique style of filmmaking, which combined elements of avant-garde, surrealism and political activism.
Wakamatsu was born in Tokyo in 1936. As a young man, he worked in a variety of jobs, including as an assistant cameraman at Nikkatsu Studios. After gaining experience in the film industry, he established his own production company, Wakamatsu Productions, in 1967.
Wakamatsu's films often addressed issues of social injustice and inequality. He was particularly known for his politically charged pinku eiga (‘pink films’) which dealt with controversial topics such as prostitution, drug abuse and racism. His works also included more mainstream films, such as the critically acclaimed United Red Army (2007).
Throughout his career, Wakamatsu collaborated with notable filmmakers, including Seijun Suzuki and Nagisa Oshima. He also worked with acclaimed actors such as Tatsuya Nakadai and Meiko Kaji.
Wakamatsu's films received widespread acclaim from critics, earning him numerous awards. He received the Directors Guild of Japan Award for Outstanding Work in 1995, and the Japan Academy Prize for Best Director in 2005. He was also posthumously presented with the Japanese Medal of Honor in 2012.
Wakamatsu's legacy lives on through his films, which are still widely watched and discussed. He is remembered for his commitment to social justice and his unique approach to filmmaking, which continues to inspire filmmakers around the world.