Akira Kurosawa: The Story of an Innovative Artist


Akira Kurosawa The restless artist:

                         Akira Kurosawa Photo

When a frightening scene unfolds in front of you, it is advised that you do not close your eyes. Instead, you should look at it carefully because what you imagine may be worse than the truth. This belief was held by Akira's older brother who, during the severe earthquake that hit his city in 1923, asked his younger brother to open his eyes to the truth and not hide in his imagination. He encouraged Akira to unleash his sensitive feelings.

Akira Kurosawa himself was born in 1910 as the eighth son of a wealthy family. He grew up surrounded by his father's adherence to Japanese culture and his openness to Western ideas. At school, he was influenced by his teacher Tashikawa who was the first to teach him how to express his feelings through drawing. Later, he joined a martial arts club, becoming a young athlete and creative painter at a young age.

Despite his active pursuits, Akira was a sensitive character who was easily affected by his surroundings. He found a kindred spirit in a classmate who was also sensitive and vulnerable, and they were known as "The Two Crying Children" due to their quickness to tears.

Seven years after the earthquake, a doctor at a military center declared Akira physically unfit for military service, saving him from being called up when World War II broke out.

The Rise of Akira Kurosawa: From Assistant Director to Acclaimed Filmmaker

One morning in 1935, he came across an advertisement in a Tokyo newspaper placed by a photography company seeking to hire assistant directors without prior experience. Although Kurosawa had no prior plans, he responded to the ad and went to the company to apply for the position.

After going through several tests, Kurosawa did not reach an advanced level, but the renowned director Kajiro Yamamoto believed in him and decided to hire him. The company agreed to the decision, and in early 1936, at the age of 25, Kurosawa secured his first job in film directing.

Over the next five years, Kurosawa worked as an assistant director in several films, with Yamamoto as the main director who believed in Kurosawa's talent.

This period was not wasted on Kurosawa, who was determined to learn everything he could about the field of film directing. He sought to write professionally and drew upon his teacher's advice to develop a smart system to enhance his efficiency and productivity. As a result, he wrote one page every day for the script of his new film. By the end of the year, he had completed two high-quality films.

Triumphs Amidst War and Censorship:

In 1941, Kurosawa played his final role as an assistant director alongside his esteemed teacher. He then decided to embark on a new stage in his life and spent two years searching for a unique script that would mark his directorial debut. However, during this time, World War II had broken out, and Japan's military engagement caused many directors and filmmakers to flee the country to avoid compulsory military service. Fortunately, Kurosawa had already received an exemption and was able to remain in Japan. Nonetheless, the war took a significant toll on the film industry, leading to a decline in production.

In 1942, Kurosawa acquired the literary rights to Tsuneo Tomita's novel, "Sanshiro Sugata," which left a profound impression on him. He decided to turn the book into a movie, which went on to become one of the most successful films in Japanese history. Despite its cinematic and commercial triumph, the Japanese authorities deleted 18 minutes from the film due to their military policies. This ban resulted in ten minutes of the film being lost in the restored version, with only eight minutes of the deleted material recovered.

Despite the censorship, the Japanese Navy decided to honor Kurosawa for the film's portrayal of one of the army's famous battles. However, due to a lack of financial resources, the ceremony was never held. This success inspired Kurosawa to direct another film in 1944, focusing on a group of Japanese workers in a factory. Interestingly, during filming, Kurosawa had a disagreement with the actress who played the chief worker's role, and their dispute continued even after the film's conclusion. However, this disagreement transformed into a friendship that culminated in marriage in May 1945.

The Enduring Legacy of Akira Kurosawa: A Fusion of Japanese and Western Cinema.

During the post-World War II years, film production in Japan slowly and quietly returned. During this time, Korsawa reunited with his childhood companion, who was hypersensitive and prone to rapid crying, and together they wrote their first films.

Korsawa's success significantly increased in the following years, leading him to open a film production company. By the 1960s, he turned his attention towards Western countries and the United States as target audiences for his films. This trend began after the release of "The Seven Samurai," which achieved unparalleled historical success and led to the production of an American version called "The Magnificent Seven." This gesture opened the eyes of many American and Western filmmakers to Japanese cinema.

The 1970s proved to be a difficult period for Korsawa as he faced a lack of opportunities and struggled to continue on the same path in his own way. However, the 1980s saw a huge return for him as his productions once again linked with Hollywood, and he began working with Francis Ford Coppola, the famous American owner of "The Godfather" film series.

Korsawa's return to cinema was met with a wide and cheerful reception around the world, particularly in the American market. His strongest and most famous film, "RAN," achieved huge public success, but it was accompanied by the increasing illness of his wife and the deterioration of her health, which prompted him to move away from the atmosphere of the film's success and focus on his wife.

By the end of the 1980s and entering the 1990s, Korsawa seemed to be nearing the end of his long career. Japanese production companies became uninterested in mass production of his films, and he no longer wanted to deal with foreign production. However, he continued to write at a slower pace until 1995, when he wrote the film "The Sea is Watching," which served as a watershed for the end of his cinematic career.

During his later years, Korsawa's body began to deteriorate, but his mind remained alert. He spent his time watching television and listening to his favorite music. He passed away on September 6, 1998.

Despite his death, Korsawa's films continue to receive attention, and some production companies have even remade his old films with higher capabilities and clearer versions in honor of his long legacy. He remains stuck in the memory of millions as a filmmaker who created quiet and beauty-loving films that offered a unique image of art and cinema.

Akira Kurosawa's legacy has inspired many filmmakers around the world, and his films continue to be studied and analyzed in film schools and universities. His influence can be seen in contemporary cinema, from Hollywood blockbusters to independent films.

One of the most notable aspects of Kurosawa's filmmaking was his ability to blend Japanese and Western cinematic traditions. He was heavily influenced by American Westerns and film noir, but also drew on the rich history and culture of Japan. This fusion of styles and themes created a unique cinematic language that was both universal and distinctly Japanese.

Kurosawa's films were also known for their powerful and complex characters, who grappled with issues of morality, duty, and personal identity. He often used the samurai genre to explore these themes, presenting his characters with difficult choices and exploring the consequences of their actions. His films were also marked by stunning cinematography, dynamic editing, and intricate sound design.

Akira Kurosawa: The Visionary Pioneer of Modern Cinema

Akira Kurosawa's contributions to cinema have been immense, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His films continue to be celebrated and admired by audiences and critics alike.

Kurosawa's cinematic style was marked by a keen attention to detail, masterful use of framing and composition, and a deep understanding of the human condition. His films often explored themes of honor, justice, and personal responsibility, and he had a gift for portraying complex characters with nuance and depth.

Throughout his career, Kurosawa pushed the boundaries of what was possible in filmmaking, and his influence can be seen in the work of countless directors who followed in his footsteps. His impact on cinema is immeasurable, and he will always be remembered as a true visionary and a master of his craft.

Despite his passing, Kurosawa's impact on cinema continues to be felt. His films are a testament to the power of art to transcend cultural boundaries and touch the hearts of people all over the world. Akira Kurosawa was a master of his craft, and his films will continue to inspire and captivate audiences for generations to come.


We pay homage to Akira Kurosawa for his incredible contributions to cinema and for the lasting impact he has had on the art form. He will always be remembered as a true legend and a pioneer in the world of filmmaking.