Shabu Gokudo  (1996)
Cast:
Koji Yakusho... Makabe Itsumi
Ai Saotome ... Suzuko
Masayuki Watanabe ...Shimomura Shiro
Hirotaro Honda... Urashima
Shun Sugata... Kano Ryo
Hiroshi Fujita ... Kanzaki Tatsumi
Running time: 164 min.
Release Date: May 28, 1996
Directed by Tatsuoki Hosono
Screenplay: Sachio Yamanouchi
Shabu Gokudo
Reportedly Ai Saotome, who played the role of Suzuko, Makabe's wife,  passed away in Seattle,
on July 20, 2010. She was 51.
Can you believe that this is the same actor who played the role of  Sugiyama in
"  Shall We Dance? "  in  the same year?

"Shabu Gokudo" is the original title of the film, but when it came to be a video,
the director Tatsuoki Hosono was asked to change its title by the Video Ethics Regulatory
Committee for the reason that the term "Shabu"(meaning 'drug') is not suitable for the video which is
seen at home.  Besides that, some dialogues in the film were required to be deleted for the video version
due to the same reason. After repeated appeals to the Committee by  Hosono, the original title was
permitted to be used in brackets when the film was released.

Another interesting episode was that Yakusho was introduced to Shohei Imamura because Hosono was
the disciple of Shohei Imamura.

Koji's role of Itsumi Makabe in "Shabu Gokudo", directed by Tatsuoki Hosono was completely different
from his former roles.  Makabe, who has been brought up by a boss of a small gangster group, grows up to
believe in the power of drugs, and devotes his life to selling drugs to rescue people from hardship.  His
characterization is rather commical and gives us the impression like he is a naughty boy.  He howls around
from the beginning till the end with the Osaka regional accent, which is different from Tokyo accent.  It is
amazing to notice that the shooting of this film started soon after "Shall We Dance?" was over.