Studying The Art of Death with Kiyotaka Tsurisaki - September 2010
Interview by: Ronny

Kiyotaka Tsurisaki has become a stand out in the underground movie scene with his infamous documentary "Orozco The Embalmer", one of the grittiest and most shocking portrayals of the world. We got in contact with the man who made this extraordinary documentary, a favorite of ours, to ask him a few questions. He seems to be a man of few words and instead of sending him further questions we felt he got his point across. We have left his answers in the exact state as he put it, so if there is something that confuses you it might be because of the language.

Hello! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I'm Tsurisaki, Kiyotaka, a photographer specializing in the dead.

How did your career as a "death photographer" start?
In 1994, I quited a porn video director because of the restrictions of expression and planned to go abroad. Then Kobayashi, Kotarou, one of my acquaintances, an editer of porn magazine offered me to take pictures of the dead in foreign countries for a new bizarre magazine. I accepted his offer because I was a gore fan and believed it would be a big breakthrough for me.

Do you feel that your time as a photographer has made you appreciate life more, or made you see it in a different way?
Of course, I got to appreciate life more. At the same time, I came to see life with coolness.

How did you first meet Orozco and how did the documentary come about?
He was a veteran embalmer and important informer about the dead. Alvaro Fernandez, my good friend and death photographer belonged to "El Espacio" newspaper introduced him to me. Then I was very fascinated with his being at first sight. Just at that time I was offered to shoot video materials of the dead from V&R Planning, a porn and gore video maker, so I began to shoot his jobs.

Is there a possibility that you will be doing more work such as Orozco The Embalmer, where you follow a person through a couple of years?
I don't know and it's possble. But I'm sure the encounter with Orozco was a miracle.

What do you think it is that attracts viewers to your work?
Corpse is a very hard object indeed, but grappling with it is worthwhile. I always make efforts to add something to the dead.

How does people react when you tell them what you do for a living?
Some recognize of me as public enemy and some as an aggresive artist. I think death photographer is a job of urban legend world and I like it.

Have you ever considered making a documentary that doesn't necessarily evolve around death?
Death is always my important theme. But I plan to make feature films thet aren't necessary gory. Now I intend to make a hardcore porn film.

Before you became a dead body photographer you apparently worked as a director on porn, what can you tell us about that?
I'll be back to porn.

Are your older adult films available to buy or see somewhere?
Not available now. Inquire of its licenser, Cinemagic.

Are you currently working on any projects?
I'm writing books now. One of them is called "The Book of the Dead".

Is there anything that you have always wanted to do, or make, but never had the chance to?
Too many. I haven't covered every type of death yet. Too far from completion.

Last but not least, do you have anything to say to our readers and your fans?
I believe my expression is a precious thing in this world. But the global conservatism has been purging us. If you see something beyond the dead from my works, you should be privileged to fight for freedom of expression.


If you want to keep up to date on Kiyotaka Tsurisaki and to check out his
work, then visit his site at

If you haven't read it yet, our review for "Orozco The Embalmer".


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