EXCLUSIVE: Japan’s oldest studio Nikkatsu Corporation is planning to celebrate its 100th anniversary with a world tour of some of its iconic films.

The tour will kick off this October at the Lincoln Center in New York City, before moving to France’s Nantes Festival des 3 Continents (Nov 22-29) and Paris’ Cinematheque Francaise in December. It will then roll on to other cities in the US, Europe and Asia before culminating in Tokyo early next year.  

The studio, which turns 100 in 2012, has produced more than 3,000 films in every genre, as well as classics from masters such as Seijun Suzuki and Shohei Imamura. It also produced the legendary Roman Porno series of pink films in the 1970s and 80s.

Highlights of the tour include a digitally restored version of Tricksters: The Last Days Of The Samurai Era, directed by Yuzo Kawashima in 1957.

“The interesting thing about Nikkatsu is that they changed direction and tried new genres every few years,” says Lincoln Centre programme director Richard Pena.

Jean-Francois Rauger, programming director of Cinematheque Francaise, and Nantes artistic director Jerome Baron said French audiences are already familiar with some Nikkatsu filmmakers. However they hope to also introduce them to something new.

“The studio was avant-garde in the way it made genre movies and there was a strong sense of the director behind the films,” Rauger said.

Nikkatsu general manager Aki Sugihara said the studio was domestically focused in the past but is now making films for global audiences. At Cannes, Nikkatsu’s sales team is selling a slate that includes its Sushi Typhoon genre label.