Takashi Miike’s THE MOLE SONG Production Notes
Source: Pony Canyon, Inc., FilmPressPlus
Official Site: mogura-movie.com (Japan)
Special Thanks to Richard Lormand
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details and images from an upcoming Japanese movie.
Pony Canyon and FilmPressPlus have issued more detailed production notes for THE MOLE SONG -UNDERCOVER AGENT REIJI- (土竜の唄 潜入捜査官 REIJI, Mogura no Uta Sennuu Sosakan REIJI). Based on Noboru Takahashi’s long-running crime manga, the film is an epic adventure from actor Toma Ikuta, director Takashi Miike (13 ASSASSINS, SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, AUDITION, ICHI THE KILLER), and screenwriter Kankuro Kudo (PING PONG, MAIKO HAAAAN!!).
THE MOLE SONG -UNDERCOVER AGENT REIJI- opens in Japanese cinemas on February 15, 2014.
A very unpredictable undercover cop comedy — where something crazy happens every five minutes!
A star-studded cast goes wild on the screen!! You’ve never seen them like this before!
Featuring… Shinichi Tsutsumi, Riisa Naka, Takayuki Yamada, Takashi Okamura, Yusuke Kamiji!
And…! Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Kenichi Endou, Sarutoki Minagawa, Ren Ohsugi, Koichi Iwaki!!
■ What is The Mole Song…?
The Mole Song is a comic series by the talented Noboru Takahashi, which was featured in Weekly Young Sunday Comics Magazine (Shogakukan) along with his other hit mangas, Dr. Kotoh and Kurosagi. When Young Sunday was discontinued, the series moved to Big Comic Spirits Weekly.
The story is ongoing with the plot continuing to intensify and its passionate fan base continuing to grow. The blockbuster comic book series is now in its 35th volume and has sold over 4 million copies. Its film adaptation is one of the most highly anticipated of the many Shogakukan titles published today.
Rookie Reiji Kikukawa graduated with the lowest score in police academy history. Since becoming a neighborhood policeman, he is busy writing letters of apology on a daily basis.
One day, Reiji is called in to see the Chief of Police, Sakami, who summarily fires him. Outwardly, he is dismissed for dishonorable conduct, but he is secretly ordered to infiltrate a crime syndicate and arrest the big boss as an undercover cop — “The Mole.”
Their target is Shuho Todoroki, head of Sukiya-kai, the largest yakuza clan in the Kanto Area. Reiji manages to become the new favorite of Masaya Hiura a.k.a. “Crazy Papillon,” the leader of the Akogi group, a clan under Sukiya-kai.
Reiji prepares to vow his allegiance to Akogi by partaking in the ritual sake cup exchange with its big boss, Ako. But internal power struggles within Sukiya-kai and conflicts with arch-rival Hachinosu-kai, who aims to take over Japan, embroils Reiji in one crazy situation after another. Will Reiji ever be able to arrest Shuho Todoroki and complete his mission as the “Mole?”
■ Starring Toma Ikuta as Reiji Kikukawa
Joy, anger, pathos, humor! You’ve never seen Toma Ikuta like this before!
No young actor is as “beautiful” as Toma Ikuta, who played Hikaru Genji in THE TALE OF GENJI, A THOUSAND YEAR ENIGMA (Genji Monogatari ~ Sennen no Nazo, 2011). The talented Ikuta was born in Hokkaido. At the age of 11, Ikuta auditioned for Johnny & Associates, Inc., better known as Johnny’s, one of Japan’s top talent agencies, and was accepted. Since then he has become one of the most popular young performers both on stage and on TV.
His film debut was in 2010, in THE FALLEN ANGEL (人間失格, Ningen Shikkaku). He has shown great versatility in films such as THE SEASIDE MOTEL (シーサイドモーテル, Shiisaidomooteru, 2010), HANAMIZUKI -MAY YOUR LOVE BLOOM A HUNDRED YEARS- (ハナミズキ, Hanamizuki, 2010), WE WERE THERE: PART 1 (僕等がいた 前篇, Bokura ga Ita Zenpen, 2012), WE WERE THERE: PART 2 (僕等がいた 後篇, Bokura ga Ita Kohen, 2012) and the new BRAIN MAN (脳男, No Otoko, 2013). Fans all over Japan are waiting to see Ikuta’s next starring role in a movie, and this time he chose to put his talent to the test in a comedy.
In THE MOLE SONG we see yet another face of Ikuta — an idiotic, perverted, virgin undercover cop named Reiji Kikukawa! Reiji is fired from the force, but his unconditional sense of justice makes him the perfect candidate to infiltrate a crime syndicate as a “mole.”
What happens when a gorgeous actor at the top of him game takes on a controversial role in a crazy film? See Toma Ikuta like you’ve never seen him before!
Junna Wakagi (Riisa Naka)
Policewoman; ex-partner of Reiji Kikikawa.
Shun Tsukihara (Takayuki Yamada)
Assistant Head of the Akogi clan.
Kenta Kurokawa (Yusuke Kamiji)
Issei Nekozawa (Takashi Okamura)
Assistant Head of Chibiki group under Hachinosu clan.
Masaya Hiura (Shinichi Tsutsumi)
Head of the Akogi clan.
Toshio Sakami (Mitsuru Fukikoshi)
Chief of Police.
Doppo Fukuzumi (Sarutoki Minagawa)
Kazumi Akagiri (Kenichi Endo)
Shuho Todoroki (Koichi Iwaki)
Fourth generation patriarch of Sukiya-kai.
Masayoshi Ako (Ren Osugi)
Chairman of Akogi clan under Sukiya-kai.
■ Directed by Takashi Miike × Screenplay by Kankuro Kudo
The collaborative work of two Japanese film prodigies brings this ambitious film adaptation to life!
Director: Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike has become synonymous with the promise of a unique onscreen experience, regardless of the genre. Highly prolific, Miike is credited with over 85 films since making his directorial debut in the early 90s.
Recent works include: 13 ASSASSINS (十三人の刺客, Jusan-nin no Shikaku, 2010), FOR LOVE’S SAKE (愛と誠, Ai to Makoto), HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI (一命, Ichimei, 2011), LESSON OF THE EVIL (悪の教典, Aku no Kyoten, 2012) and SHIELD OF STRAW (藁の楯, Wara no Tate, 2013).
Landmark films in Miike’s illustrious career include AUDITION (オーディション, Odishon, 1999), ICHI THE KILLER (殺し屋 1, Koroshiya 1, 2001), ONE MISSED CALL (着信アリ, Chakushin Ari, 2003), THE GREAT YOKAI WAR (妖怪大戦争, Yokai Daisensoo, 2005), CITY OF LOST SOULS (漂流街, Hyooryuu-gai, 2000), VISITOR Q (ビジターＱ, Bijitaa Q, 2001), GRAVEYARD OF HONOR (新・仁義の墓場, Shin Jingi no Hakaba, 2002), SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO (スキヤキ・ウエスタン ジャンゴ, Sukiyaki Uesutan Jango, 2007), YATTERMAN (ヤッターマン, Yataaman, 2009), the CROWS ZERO films and the DEAD OR ALIVE yakuza trilogy. Although his films are often associated with black humor, inventive violence and audacious style, Miike has shown his versatility in other genres: children’s films (ZEBRAMAN), sensitive dramas (THE BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA), period pieces (SABU) and even a horror musical (THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS).
Born in 1960 near Osaka, Miike harbored a passion for motorbike racing and a disdain for academics growing up. He attended the Yokohama Vocational School of Broadcast and Film and then worked for nearly a decade in television. Miike became an assistant director in film to directors like Shohei Imamura and Hideo Onchi, and Japan’s “V-Cinema” (direct to video) boom of the early 90s helped his break into directing his own films. For years, he alternated between V-Cinema and higher-budget productions.
I was excited to adapt this manga serial into a film because I fell in love with the main character, Reiji. I hope you enjoy his absurd, yet kind‐hearted antics. Then you’ll fall in love with him, too.
Adapting a manga is both challenging and enjoyable because fans of the original work can be your ally and your worst enemy (your harshest critic). To satisfy those fans as well as pique the interest of those who are unfamiliar with the manga… is impossible. If you can enjoy treading such a thorny path, then you too can become a film director.
You have to become the world’s greatest fan of that manga. A film’s energy comes from respect for the work. You have to give yourself wholly to it. If you do so, a style worthy of the original work will emerge naturally. After that, you simply throw yourself into it. Lose yourself, plunge into it single-mindedly. That’s my style anyway.
Screenplay: Kankuro Kudo
Acclaimed screenwriter of hit films including PING PONG (ピンポン, 2002), KISARAZU CAT’S EYE: WORLD SERIES (木更津キャッツアイ ワールドシリーズ, Kizaradzukyattsuai Waarudoshiriizu, 2006) and MAIKO HAAAAN!! (舞妓Haaaan!!!, 2007). His newest venture is an NHK drama series entitled AMACHAN ()あまちゃん, 2013).
World Premiere: November 15, 2013 (International Rome Film Festival)
Japanese Theatrical Release Date: February 15, 2014
Running Time: 132 minutes
Reiji Kikukawa: Toma Ikuta
Junna Wakagi: Riisa Naka
Shun Tsukihara: Takayuki Yamada
Kenta Kurokawa: Yusuke Kamiji
Issei Nekozawa: Takashi Okamura
Masaya Hiura: Shinichi Tsutsumi
Toshio Sakami: Mitsuru Fukikoshi
Doppo Fukuzumi: Sarutoki Minagawa
Shuho Todoroki: Koichi Iwaki
Masayoshi Ako: Ren Osugi
Kazumi Akagiri: Kenichi Endo
Director: Takashi Miike
Original Story: The Mole Song by Noboru Takahashi (Shogakukan Big Comic Spirits)
Screenplay: Kankuro Kudo
Executive Producers: Takashi Ishihara, Shinichiro Tsuzuki, Keiko Julie Fujishima, Minami Ichikawa, Toshiaki Okuno
Producer: Juichi Uehara, Misako Saka, Shigeki Maeda
Director of Photography: Nobuyasu Kita
Lighting: Yoshimi Watabe
Art Director: Yuji Hayashida
Recording: Jun Nakamura
Editor: Kenji Yamashita
Decorator: Akira Sakamoto
Sound Effects: Kenji Shibazaki
CGI: Kaori Otagaki
Stylist: Yuya Maeda
Stunt Coordinators: Keiji Tsujii, Masayoshi Deguchi
Line Producers: Tomoyuki Imai, Shinya Zenda
Assistant Producer: Kei Kajimoto
Casting Producer: Masako Ito
Planning Cooperation: Tetsuo Yanagisawa
Assistant Director: Takeshi Watanabe
Production Coordinator: Kenta Horioka
Music: Koji Endo
Main Theme: “King of Otoko” by Kanjani Eight (Teichiku entertainment)
Film Production: Fuji Television Network, Shogakukan, J Storm, Toho, OLM, Inc.
International Sales: Pony Canyon Inc.
International Publicity: Film Pres Plus
© 2014 Fuji Television Network, Shogakukan, J Storm, Toho, OLM © Noboru Takahashi, Shogakukan