Akira Kurosawa: Japan's Emperor Of Film

“The great appeal of film is its relatability.”

Akira Kurosawa (Japanese: 黒澤明 or 黒沢明 or 黑澤明 Kurosawa Akira; March 23, 1910 – September 6, 1998) was a Japanese film director and screenwriter, who directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema.

Kurosawa entered the Japanese film industry in 1936, following a brief stint as a painter. After years of working on numerous films as an assistant director and scriptwriter, he made his debut as a director during World War II with the popular action film Sanshiro Sugata (a.k.a. Judo Saga). After the war, the critically acclaimed Drunken Angel (1948), in which Kurosawa cast then-unknown actor Toshiro Mifune in a starring role, cemented the director's reputation as one of the most important young filmmakers in Japan. The two men would go on to collaborate on another 15 films.

Rashomon, which premiered in Tokyo, became the surprise winner of the Golden Lion at the 1951 Venice Film Festival. The commercial and critical success of that film opened up Western film markets for the first time to the products of the Japanese film industry, which in turn led to international recognition for other Japanese filmmakers. Kurosawa directed approximately one film per year throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, including a number of highly regarded (and often adapted) films, such as Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961). After the 1960s he became much less prolific; even so, his later work—including his final two epics, Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985)—continued to win awards, though more often abroad than in Japan.

In 1990, he accepted the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Posthumously, he was named "Asian of the Century" in the "Arts, Literature, and Culture" category by AsianWeek magazine and CNN, cited there as being among the five people who most prominently contributed to the improvement of Asia in the 20th century. His career has been honored by many retrospectives, critical studies and biographies in both print and video, and by releases in many consumer media formats.

List of creative works by Akira Kurosawa
Year Title Japanese
1943 Sanshiro Sugata (Judo Saga) 姿三四郎
1944 The Most Beautiful 一番美しく
1945 Sanshiro Sugata Part II (Judo Saga2) 續姿三四郎
The Man Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail 虎の尾を踏む男達
1946 No Regrets for Our Youth わが青春に悔なし
1947 One Wonderful Sunday 素晴らしき日曜日
1948 Drunken Angel 酔いどれ天使
1949 The Quiet Duel 静かなる決闘
Stray Dog 野良犬
1950 Scandal 醜聞
Rashomon 羅生門
1951 The Idiot 白痴
1952 Ikiru (To Live) 生きる
1954 Seven Samurai 七人の侍
1955 I Live in Fear (Record of a Living Being) 生きものの記録
1957 Throne of Blood (Spider Web Castle) 蜘蛛巣城
The Lower Depths どん底
1958 The Hidden Fortress 隠し砦の三悪人
1960 The Bad Sleep Well 悪い奴ほどよく眠る
1950 Yojimbo 用心棒
1962 Sanjurō 椿三十郎
1963 High and Low (Heaven and Hell) 天国と地獄
1965 Red Beard 赤ひげ
1970 Dodesukaden どですかでん
1975 Dersu Uzala デルス・ウザーラ
1980 Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) 影武者
1985 Ran
1990 Dreams (Akira Kurosawa's Dreams)
1991 Rhapsody in August 八月の狂詩曲
1993 Madadayo (Not Yet) まあだだよ