Kinji Fukasaku, the great Japanese director, has died of prostate cancer at the age of 72. Fukasaku is probably best known for his controversial film Battle Royale (2000), a merciless satire of modern Japanese society in which a group of school kids are set loose upon each other on a remote island. Fukasaku began directing in 1961 and tried his hand at most genres, and was a co-direcor on the war epic Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). He really made his mark in the mid-70s when he directed a series of influential gangster thrillers — such as Yakuza Graveyard and Graveyard Of Honour — that broke new ground in terms of their depiction of sex, drugs and violence. Fukasaku had begun working on a sequel to Battle Royale, but handed over the directorial reigns to his son when he fell ill.