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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Minbo is a 1992 Japanese film by filmmaker Juzo Itami. It is also known by the titles Minbo: the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion, The Gangster's Moll and The Anti-Extortion Woman. The film was widely popular in Japan and a critical success internationally. It satirizes the yakuza, who retaliated for their portrayal in the film by assaulting the director.

Plot summary

The owner of a high-class Japanese hotel, the Europa, hopes to win a prestigious and lucrative contract for the hotel as the site of a summit meeting between important international officials. Unfortunately, the yakuza have taken a liking to this hotel as both a hangout and a target for extortion. In order to win the contract, the owner realizes, he must rid the hotel of the yakuza. Fearing to confront them himself, he deputizes a hotel accountant, Suzuki (Yasuo Daichi) and a bellboy and former college sumo-club member, Wakasugi (Takehiro Murata). The hapless pair are no more daring than their employer, however, and their tentative attempts to address the problem fail until they meet Mahiru Inoue (Nobuko Miyamoto), a lawyer who specializes in dealing with the yakuza. With Inoue's direction, the hotel staff comes together to face down the yakuza ruffians, who are portrayed as craven, outwardly-threatening-but-inwardly-weak, fools.

Attack against Juzo Itami

The yakuza, who prefer to think of themselves as something akin to modern-day samurai, were angered by their portrayal in Minbo as common thugs and bullies. Three knife-wielding members of the Goto-gumi yakuza gang attacked director Juzo Itami near his home in 1992, not long after the movie opened. Itami was beaten and his face slashed, and he nearly died as a result. The brutality of the attack, combined with Itami's popularity and the success of Minbo, led to a public outcry and a government crackdown against yakuza activity.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Minbo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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