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Mobsters Sentenced For Knifing Director

Tue., Oct. 1, 1996

Five gangsters were sentenced to up to five years in prison Monday for knifing Japanese film director Juzo Itami, who angered the underworld with a movie showing how to fight mob extortion.

Itami, the 63-year-old director of the internationally acclaimed “Tampopo,” has recovered from slash wounds to his face and neck he suffered in front of his Tokyo home in May 1992. His latest movie, a satire on supermarkets, was released in June.

Mitsuru Ikeda, a senior member of Goto-gumi, an affiliate of Japan’s largest underworld organization, the Yamaguchigumi, was given the stiffest penalty - six years in prison. The four others were each given four to five years in prison.

Besides “Tampopo,” Itami has directed the satires “The Funeral,” “A Taxing Woman” and “Minbo no Onna” or “The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion.”

It was the latter film, depicting efforts of a female lawyer to help a hotel owner fend off gangsters’ extortion attempts, that prompted the attack on Itami.

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