Japan's Toei Video is reviving its signature Battles Without Honor Or Humanity television series, originally launched by cult Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku in 1973.

Based on true accounts of gang wars in Hiroshima, the nine-part series, which ran until 1979, not only established Fukasaku's reputation, but gave a new lease of life to the faltering yakuza genre.

The first instalment of the new series, titled New Battles Without Honor Or Humanity (Shin Jingi No Tatakai), will be scripted by Hiroshi Takada, directed by Junji Sakamoto and star Etsushi Toyokawa and Tomoyasu Hotei as gangsters who begin as close friends, but find themselves on opposite sides in a gang war. Rock guitarist Hotei will score the film.

A favourite of Asian film buff Quentin Tarantino, Fukasaku was honoured with a retrospective at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival.

Once known for its yakuza films, which it propelled into a major genre in the 1960s and 1970s, Toei has recently been hard pressed for hits. Its attempts to breathe new life into its yakuza franchise met with little success at the box office in the 1990s.

Toei Video will make the new film with an as-yet-unnamed partner and distribute it through Toei's theatre chain. Shooting will begin on June 19 at the Toei Kyoto Studio in the ancient capital of Kyoto. Release is scheduled for this autumn.