Over his long cinema career, Japanese filmmaker Tadashi Imai, with his strong leftist politics, has been no stranger to controversy and has been blacklisted several times. The quality of Imai's output has been erratic. Some of his films, such as Takiji Kobayashi(1975) or Bushido: Samurai Saga (1963) have been hailed as masterpieces, while others have been derided for being overblown and almost incoherent. Imai was a priest's son and was born in Tokyo. Imai's reputation as a rebel began while enrolled at Tokyo's Imperial University where he was twice arrested for his involvement in leftist activities. In 1934, Imai began writing screen plays. Five years later, he turned to direction, making his debut with The Namazu Military Academy. Though a confirmed Marxist, the left-leaning Imai abruptly switched to the Right during the war and made films praising the current regime. After the war, however, Imai became a communist and continued fighting the government and making films sympathetic to the plight of the working class. He worked for Toho studios for a while, but was fired after starting a strike. Since then, Imai has worked independently.