© Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.

At the opposite end of the stereotype of docile Japanese women—heroic good mothers, chaste daughters and hardworking faithful wives—actresses Ayako Wakao, Mariko Okada and Meiko Kaji embodied the transgression of limits, breaking rules, flouting norms and generally upsetting everyone.

This series explores the idea of unconventional beauty that these spellbinding actresses created through an unparalleled body of films. Both Wakao and Okada were muses and inspiration for two major film directors, Yasuzo Masumura and Kiju (Yoshishige) Yoshida, respectively, while Kaji navigated between filmmakers, a wild card of Japanese cinema at the time. Put together, their films delineate what one could call an aesthetic of “convulsive beauty” (André Breton).

“.. one of the most astonishing film retrospectives of the year”

“Critics' Pick!”
New York Magazine

 “If you're more in line with the stereotypically docile view of Japanese women, then this series is not for you.”
Time Out New York

“Kaji is the copy-ready deviant of the series, but Japan Society has seized the opportunity for layered programming (…) Besides spotlighting three actresses, "Mad, Bad . . . & Dangerous to Know" is also a tribute to the ruthlessly insistent filmmaker Yasuzo Masumura, a revealing high-low study in shame entertainment, and a never-mind-the-plot Scope showcase.”
The Village Voice

“It's things like this that make me want to move to NYC tomorrow”
Patrick Galloway, author of Stray Dogs and Lone Wolves and Asia Shock.

Ayako Wakao: Passion Made Flesh

A.K.A. The Spider Tattoo

Wednesday, March 31, 7:30 PM
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, 1966
Opening screening followed by the DRESSED TO KILL! party.

Red Angel

Thursday, April 1, 7:30 PM
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, 1966

Seisaku's Wife

Friday, April 2, 6:30 PM
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, 1965

A Wife Confesses

Friday, April 2, 8:30 PM
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, 1961

Meiko Kaji: A Mad, Bad Unholy Easter Weekend

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion

女囚701号 さそり
Saturday, April 3, 3 PM
Directed by Shunya Ito, 1972

Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter

Saturday, April 3, 5 PM
Directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, 1970

Lady Snowblood:
Blizzard From the Netherworld

Saturday, April 3, 7:30 PM
Directed by Toshiya Fujita, 1973

Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance

修羅雪姫: 怨み恋歌
Sunday, April 4, 3 PM
Directed by Toshiya Fujita, 1974

Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41

女囚さそり 第41雑居房
Sunday, April 4, 5 PM
Directed by Shunya Ito, 1972

Mariko Okada: The Discreet Charm of the Adulteress


A.K.A. Flame and Women and Flame of Feeling

Wednesday, April 14, 7:30 PM
Directed by Kiju Yoshida, 1967

The Affair

Thursday, April 15, 7:30 PM
Directed by Kiju Yoshida, 1967

Woman of the Lake

Sunday April 18, 6:30 PM
Directed by Kiju Yoshida, 1966

Two Wives

Sunday April 18, 8:45 PM
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, 1967

Mad, Bad… & Dangerous to Know: Three Untamed Beauties
is made possible through the generous support of The Globus Family.

Japan Society’s 2009-2010 Film Programs are generously supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.

Additional support is provided by The Globus Family, Yoshiko and Tim Schilt, David S. Howe, Dr. Tatsuji Namba, Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao, Elaine Sheng and Samuel Jamier, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

The DRESSED TO KILL! party is sponsored by The Globus Family.


Mayumi Nagumo, Asako Suzuki and Nobuhiko Kurosu (Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.); Mari Imaizumi, Grant Tompkins, Yukihiro Ohira, and Isao Tsujimoto (The Japan Foundation); Yusuke Okada and Satoko Ishida (Shochiku Co. Ltd); Kenji Ogino (Toho Co., Ltd.); Tomohiro Hayashi (Nikkatsu Corp); Carl Morano, Yoko Hayama and Megumi Kikuraku (Media Blasters); David Shultz (Vitagraph Films)

Special thanks to: Marc Walkow and Chris D.

Calendar of Events

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