Acclaimed Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu, who said he "chose the camera instead of the gun" to make people listen in a career that began in pornography and ended in international awards, has died aged 76.
He was declared dead on Wednesday, five days after being hit by a taxi in Tokyo, an aide said.
Just two weeks ago he was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the region's biggest film festival in South Korea for his contribution to independent cinema.
Interviewed by AFP in Busan, the "Caterpillar" director had said he felt his films were undervalued in Japan, "so this is a great honour for me".
"I am an independent filmmaker and this goes against the system in Japan. But you have to make the films that are in your heart, not films other people want you to make," he said.
He was a critic of the way Japan's film industry operates and called for government funding to be switched from commercial movies to independent flicks, which he said provided a voice.
"The reason I became a filmmaker was to talk to the country," he told AFP in Busan.
"One way to get attention is to shoot people with a gun, but I chose the camera instead of the gun.
"I think cinema means freedom and through cinema, you are free to do whatever you want."
Wakamatsu first came to international attention when "Secrets Behind The Wall" was featured at the 1965 Berlin International Film Festival.
In a career that spanned more than 100 movies, he was as noted for his work exploring strong social themes as he was for his contribution to adult films.
He was prominent in Japan's "pink" or soft-porn genre with "Go, Go Second Time Virgin" (1968) and entered the mainstream through his involvement in the likes of the acclaimed 1976 erotic drama "In the Realm of the Senses".
His 2008 "United Red Army" centred on the Japanese Maoist group of the same name that became involved in a protracted police stand-off after taking a woman hostage in rural Japan. The film won the Best Asian Movie Award at Berlin.
Shinobu Terajima, who won the best actress award in Berlin for her role in "Caterpillar" on Thursday paid poetic tribute to a man she said had a "burning passion" for his art.
"He disappeared so suddenly, the director who likes to surprise people. I want him to show up again, saying he's just kidding.
"The director who is considerate, who sides with the weak and turns on the strong, who loves liquor and good food, who had a burning passion for film-making. Oh, where on earth are you?" she wrote on her blog.
Wakamatsu's last work was "Sennen no yuraku" ("The Millennial Rapture"), which featured at this year's Venice International Film Festival.
Actor Taro Yamamoto, who appeared in the film, said Wakamatsu was planning a movie about the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
"I wonder if any rebellious activist like him will appear again," he wrote on Twitter.
Kim Ji-Seok, executive programmer of the Busan film festival, will travel to Japan to deliver a collection of photographs of Wakamatsu taken during the festival to his family, a festival spokeswoman told AFP.
He will also take a bronze plaque with Wakamatsu's hand print made during this year's festival as well as a message of condolences from organisers, she added.
"He looked so happy in Busan only a few days ago... it still feels so surreal (that he's gone)," Kim tweeted on Wednesday.