Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The award-winning director of such esteemed films as Black Rain and The Ballad of Narayama has chosen here to tell the decidedly dicey true tale of Iheiji Muraoka, also known as Zegen, the man who became the most powerful pimp in modern Japanese history, a man who could honestly regard himself as "The Boss of the South Seas." At the time, between the World Wars, Japan was involved in empire-building throughout East and Southeast Asia. After a brief career as a low-level military adventurer, Iheiji (Ken Ogata) decided to set up chains of brothels throughout Asia. As Japan's power in the region grew, so did his prosperity, as the man is quite literally surrounded by sex of all kinds, much of it shown onscreen. Interestingly enough, this engaging rogue was convinced that his entrepreneurship was not only personally rewarding, but was his way of doing his patriotic best to advance his country's global ambitions.