Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa (äkē´rä kōōrō´säwä), 1910–98, Japanese film director, scriptwriter, and producer, b. Tokyo. He is regarded as one of the world's greatest directors. In Rashomon (1950), he introduced Western audiences to Japanese film. Its bleakly humanistic stance toward the slippery nature of truth and its highly charged visual style marked Kurosawa's approach. His 29 other films range freely through history, often adapting classics of Western literature, including several of Shakespeare's plays, to Japanese settings and attitudes. His films include Ikiru (1952), a moving study of an elderly bureaucrat facing death from cancer; Seven Samurai (1954), an epic adventure; Throne of Blood (1957), an adaption of Macbeth; Yojimbo (1961), a rousing Japanese-style Western; Ran (1985), a sweeping version of King Lear; Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990), surreal vignettes that present an apocalyptic vision of human civilization; Rhapsody in August (1991), a grandmother's painful recollection of the Nagasaki bombing; and his last work, Madadayo (1993), a small, serene, and touching account of an elderly and beloved professor. In 1989 he received an Academy Award for the body of his work.

See his autobiography (1982); studies by D. Richie (1965, 1970); S. Galbraith 4th, The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune (2002).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Film and the Critical Eye
Dennis DeNitto; William Herman.
Macmillan, 1975
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Rashomon Directed by Akira Kurosawa"
Video Versions: Film Adaptations of Plays on Video
Thomas L. Erskine; James M. Welsh; John C. Tibbetts; Tony Williams.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Ran (1985)" begins on p. 184
The Oxford History of World Cinema
Geoffrey Nowell-Smith.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Akira Kurosawa" begins on p. 716
Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies
Stephen Prince.
University of Texas Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Antecedents of Peckinpah's Montage Style" begins on p. 51
Uncle Sam-Urai
Billen, Andrew.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 129, No. 4487, May 22, 2000
Understanding Suffering and Compassion
Young-Mason, Jeanine.
Cross Currents, Vol. 51, No. 3, Fall 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Samurai Warrior: The Director Akira Kurosawa Influenced Many of the West's Most Famous Film-Makers. Philip Kerr Sizes Up Japan's Original Action Man
Kerr, Philip.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 131, No. 4569, January 7, 2002
Black Rain: Reflections on Hiroshima and Nuclear War in Japanese Film
Feleppa, Robert.
Cross Currents, Vol. 54, No. 1, Spring 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
`Rashomon': The Artful Truth about Lies
Arnold, Gary.
The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 22, 1998
Masterful 'Samurai'; AFI Revives Kurosawa, Mifune collaboration.(ARTS)(MOVIES)
Arnold, Gary.
The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 31, 2002
Artists, Writers, and Musicians: An Encyclopedia of People Who Changed the World
Michel-André Bossy; Thomas Brothers; John C. McEnroe.
Oryx Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Kurosawa, Akira" begins on p. 107
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