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Unchained Melody: The Films Of Meiko Kaji

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Meiko Kaji – Queen of the Japanese Action Film!

With such iconic roles as Lady Snowblood and Female Prisoner Scorpion she defined a decade of cult cinema, creating an archetype of female strength that was equal parts ferocious and mysterious. Devoting plenty of space to her star-making turns as Scorpion and Lady Snowblood, Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji goes beyond the movies that made her name. This book traces her career from its earliest beginnings as a teen model and tomboyish basketball fanatic to Kaji’s critically-lauded and versatile performances for master directors including Kinji Fukasaku and Kon Ichikawa. Author Tom Mes also investigates Kaji’s acting work in television and the singing career that would eventually introduce her to a whole new, international audience as the musical cornerstone to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Tom Mes is the author of books on cult Japanese filmmakers Takashi Miike and Shinya Tsukamoto and was one of the founders of, the world’s go-to website for information on Japanese cinema.

  • Cover illustration: Nathanael Marsh

Lady Snowblood Trailer

Partial Meiko Kaji Filmography

  • Tree Without Leaves (1986)
  • Sutaa tanjô (TV Series) (1985)
  • Aoi hitomi no seiraifu (TV Series) (1984)
  • Kaseifu wa mita! 2 (TV Movie) (1984)
  • There Was a War When I Was a Child (1981)
  • The Man of Five Rings (TV Series) (1981)
  • The Wicked (1980)
  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Complete Saga (1980)
  • Double Suicide of Sonezaki (1978)
  • Fushoku no kôzô (TV Series) (1977)
  • Kareinaru keiji (TV Series) (1977)
  • Sabita honoo (1977)
  • Yakuza Graveyard (1976)
  • Lullaby of the Earth (1976)
  • Tsuma to onna no aida (1976)
  • Head of the Boss (1975)
  • Dômyaku rettô (1975)
  • Jînzu burûsu: Asu naki buraiha (1974)
  • The Homeless (1974)
  • Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)
  • Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701’s Grudge Song (1973)
  • Lady Snowblood (1973)
  • Gendai ninkyô-shi (1973)
  • Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (1973)
  • Hiroshima Death Match (1973)
  • Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972)
  • Gincho nagaremono mesuneko bakuchi (1972)
  • Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972)
  • Ginchô wataridori (1972)
  • Kôya no surônin (TV Series) (1972)
  • Tôkyô maruhi chitai (1971)
  • Stray Cat Rock: Beat ’71 (1971)
  • Ryûketsu no kôsô (1971)
  • Sannin no onna: yoru no cho (1971)
  • Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal (1970)


  • Size:
    6.7 x 5.5 inches
  • Pages:
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Softcover BookSKU: 170914-67632-1
UPC: 9780993306044
Part No: AB002
Weight: 1 lbs
Condition: Brand New - The item has never been opened and is still in the manufacturer’s packaging. See the description and photos for full details on any imperfections. See Details section and photos for specifics on item condition.