List of creative works by Akira Kurosawa
The following is a list of works, both in film and other media, for which the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa made some documented creative contribution. This includes a complete list of films with which he was involved (including the films on which he worked as assistant director before becoming a full director), as well as his little-known contributions to theater, television and literature.
|1943||Sanshiro Sugata (Judo Saga)||姿三四郎||Sugata Sanshirō|
|1944||The Most Beautiful||一番美しく||Ichiban utsukushiku|
|1945||Sanshiro Sugata Part II (Judo Saga 2)||續姿三四郎||Zoku Sugata Sanshirō|
|The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail||虎の尾を踏む男達||Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi|
|1946||No Regrets for Our Youth||わが青春に悔なし||Waga seishun ni kuinashi|
|1947||One Wonderful Sunday||素晴らしき日曜日||Subarashiki nichiyōbi|
|1948||Drunken Angel||酔いどれ天使||Yoidore tenshi|
|1949||The Quiet Duel||静かなる決闘||Shizukanaru kettō|
|Stray Dog||野良犬||Nora inu|
|1952||Ikiru (To Live)||生きる||Ikiru|
|1954||Seven Samurai||七人の侍||Shichinin no samurai|
|1955||I Live in Fear (Record of a Living Being)||生きものの記録||Ikimono no kiroku|
|1957||Throne of Blood (Spider Web Castle)||蜘蛛巣城||Kumonosu-jō|
|The Lower Depths||どん底||Donzoko|
|1958||The Hidden Fortress||隠し砦の三悪人||Kakushi toride no san akunin|
|1960||The Bad Sleep Well||悪い奴ほどよく眠る||Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru|
|1961||Yojimbo (The Bodyguard)||用心棒||Yōjinbō|
|1963||High and Low (Heaven and Hell)||天国と地獄||Tengoku to jigoku|
|1975||Dersu Uzala||デルス・ウザーラ||Derusu Uzāra|
|1980||Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)||影武者||Kagemusha|
|1990||Dreams (Akira Kurosawa's Dreams)||夢||Yume|
|1991||Rhapsody in August||八月の狂詩曲||Hachigatsu no rapusodī (Hachigatsu no kyōshikyoku)|
|1993||Madadayo (Not Yet)||まあだだよ||Mādadayo|
A documentary film about the Noh theater, Gendai no No (Modern Noh), which was begun by the director during a break in the shooting of Ran, but was abandoned after about fifty minutes were filmed, is being completed according to Kurosawa's script and notes.
For the following films that Kurosawa directed, he also received a production credit:
- Stray Dog (associate producer)
- Throne of Blood (co-producer)
- The Lower Depths (producer)
- The Hidden Fortress (co-producer)
- The Bad Sleep Well (co-producer)
- Yojimbo (associate producer)
- Sanjuro (associate producer)
- High and Low (associate producer)
- Red Beard (associate producer)
- Dodesukaden (executive producer and producer)
- Kagemusha (producer).
In addition, Kurosawa received a production credit on one film that he himself did not direct: Haru no tawamure (1949) (Spring Flirtation), written and directed by Kajiro Yamamoto, on which he served as an associate producer.
Kurosawa wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for all the films he himself directed. However, to supplement his income, he also wrote scripts for other Japanese directors throughout the 1940s, and even through the 1950s and part of the 1960s, long after he had become world-famous. He also worked on the scripts for two Hollywood productions he was slated to direct but never made. Finally, near the end of his life, he completed scripts he intended to direct but did not live to make, which were then filmed by others. A table of all these screenplays is given below; all titles are Japanese productions unless otherwise noted.
|Year||Original Title||English Title
(International Release Title)
|1941||Uma (uncredited)||Horse||Kajirō Yamamoto||Kajirō Yamamoto|
|1942||Seishun no kiryū||Wind Currents of Youth||Shū Fushimizu||None|
|Tsubasa no gaika||The Triumphant Song of the Wings||Satsuo Yamamoto||Bonhei Sotoyama|
|1944||Dohyōsai||Wrestling-Ring Festival||Santaro Marune||None|
|1945||Tenbare Isshin tasuke||Bravo! Tenbare Isshin||Kiyoshi Saeki||None|
|1947||Yotsu no koi no monogatari (dai ichi-wa Hatsukoi)||Four Love Stories (segment First Love)||Shirō Toyoda||None|
|Ginrei no hate||To the End of the Snow-Capped
|Senkichi Taniguchi||Senkichi Taniguchi|
|1948||Shōzō||The Portrait||Keisuke Kinoshita||None|
|1949||Jigoku no kifujin||The Lady from Hell||Motoyoshi Oda||Motosake Nishikame|
|Jyakoman to Tetsu||Jakoman and Tetsu||Senkichi Taniguchi||Senkichi Taniguchi|
|1950||Akatsuki no dassō||Escape at Dawn||Senkichi Taniguchi||Senkichi Taniguchi|
|Jiruba no Tetsu||Tetsu of Jilba||Isamu Kosugi||Goro Tanada|
|Tateshi danpei||Fencing Master||Masahiro Makino||None|
|1951||Ai to nikushimi no kanata e||Beyond Love and Hate||Senkichi Taniguchi||Senkichi Taniguchi|
|Kedamono no yado||The Den of Beasts||Tatsuyasu Osone||None|
|1952||Araki Mataemon: Kettô kagiya no tsuji||Mataemon Araki – Duel at Keymakers' Corner
(Vendetta for a Samurai)
|Sengoku burai||Vagabonds in a Country at War
(Sword for Hire)
|Hiroshi Inagaki||Hiroshi Inagaki|
|1953||Fukeyo harukaze||Blow! Spring Wind
(My Wonderful Yellow Car)
|Senkichi Taniguchi||Senkichi Taniguchi|
|1955||Kieta chūtai||Vanished Enlisted Man||Akira Mimura||Ryuzo Kikushima|
|Asunaro monogatari||Hiba Arborvitae Story
(Tomorrow I'll Be a Fire Tree)
|1957||Nichiro sensō shōno hishi -
Tekichū ōdan sanbyaku ri
|Three Hundred Miles Through Enemy Lines
|Kazuo Mori||Hideo Oguni[note 1]|
|1959||Sengoku guntō-den||The Story of Robbers of the Civil Wars
(Saga of the Vagabonds)
|1962||Tateshi danpei[note 2]||Fencing Master||Harumi Mizuho||None|
|1964||Jyakoman to Tetsu[note 3]||Jakoman and Tetsu||Kinji Fukasaku||Senkichi Taniguchi|
|1965||Sugata Sanshirō[note 4]||Sanshirō Sugata||Sei-ichirō Uchikawa||None|
|1970||Tora tora tora! (USA)||Tora! Tora! Tora!
|Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku||Japanese sequences:
Hideo Oguni and Ryuzo Kikushima;
|1985||Runaway Train (USA)||Runaway Train
|Andrei Konchalovsky||Djordje Milicevic, Paul Zindel
and Edward Bunker
(based on the script by AK,
Hideo Oguni and Ryuzo Kikushima
|2000||Ame Agaru[note 7]||After the Rain||Takashi Koizumi||None|
|Dora-heita||Alley Cat||Kon Ichikawa||Kon Ichikawa, Keisuke Kinoshita
and Masaki Kobayashi
("The Club of the Four Knights")[note 8]
|2002||Umi wa miteita[note 9]||The Sea Was Watching
(The Sea Is Watching)
In addition, Kurosawa wrote the following unproduced scripts, composed during the pre-war and wartime periods, either when he was still an assistant director or had just graduated to full director. Some of these won prizes in screenwriting contests, establishing his reputation as a promising talent even though they were never filmed.
- Deruma-dera no doitsujin – A German at Daruma Temple
- Shizukanari – All Is Quiet
- Yuki – Snow
- Mori no senichia – A Thousand and One Nights in the Forest
- Jajauma monogatari – The Story of a Bad Horse
- Dokkoi kono yari – The Lifted Spear
- San Paguita no hana – The San Pajuito Flower
- Utsukishiki koyomi – Beautiful Calendar
- Daisan hatoba – The Third Harbor
As assistant director
|Year||Romanization of Japanese Title||English Title||Director||Kurosawa's Credit|
|Shojo Hanazono||Paradise of the Virgin Flowers||Shigeo Yagura||Third Assistant Director|
|Enoken no senman chōja||Enoken's Ten Million (The Millionaire
or Enoken the Millionaire)
|Kajirō Yamamoto||Third Assistant Director|
|Zoku Enoken no senman chōja||Enoken's Ten Million Sequel||Kajirō Yamamoto||Third Assistant Director|
|Tōkyō rapusodi||Tokyo Rhapsody||Shū Fushimizu||Third Assistant Director|
|Sengoku guntō-den – Dai ichibu Tora-ōkami
(Sengoku guntō-den – Zenpen Tora-ōkami)
|Saga of the Vagabonds – Part One: Tiger-wolf||Eisuke Takizawa||Third Assistant Director|
|Sengoku guntō-den – Dai nibu Akatsuki no zenhin
(Sengoku guntō-den – Kōhen Akatsuki no zenhin)
|Saga of the Vagabonds –
Part Two: Forward at Dawn
|Eisuke Takizawa||Third Assistant Director|
|Otto no teisō – Haru kureba
(Otto no teisō – Zenpen Haru kureba)
|A Husband's Chastity – If Spring Comes||Kajirō Yamamoto||Third Assistant Director|
|Otto no teisō – Aki futatabi
(Otto no teisō – Kōhen Aki futatabi)
|A Husband's Chastity – Fall Again||Kajirō Yamamoto||Third Assistant Director|
|Nihon josei dokuhon||Japanese Women's Textbook||Kajirō Yamamoto
(Volume I only)
|Third Assistant Director
(Volume I only)
|Nadare||Avalanche||Mikio Naruse||Assistant Director|
|Enoken no chakkiri Kinta – Zenpen
Mamayo sandogasa: Ikiha yoiyoi
|Enoken's Chikiri Kinta Part 1 –
Momma, the Hat: The Nice Way
|Kajirō Yamamoto||Third Assistant Director|
|Enoken no chakkiri Kinta – Kōhen
kaeri wa Kowai mateba hiyori
|Enoken's Chikiri Kinta Part 2 – Returning Is
Scary, but the Weather Will Clear If You Wait
|Kajirō Yamamoto||Third Assistant Director|
|Utsukushiki taka||The Beautiful Hawk||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Chinetsu||Subterranean Heat||Eisuke Takizawa||Chief Assistant Director|
|Tōjūrō no koi||Tojuro's Love||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Tsuzurikata kyōshitsu||Composition Class||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Enoken no bikkuri jinsei||Enoken's Surprising Life||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Enoken no gatchiri jidai||Enoken's Shrewd Period||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Chūshingura – Kōhen||Chushingura Part 2||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Nonki Yokochō||Easy Alley||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Roppa no shinkon ryokō||Roppa's Honeymoon||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Enoken no zangiri Kinta||Enoken's Cropped Kinta||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Songokū – Zenpen||Songoku Part 1||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Songokū – Kōhen||Songoku Part 2||Kajirō Yamamoto||Chief Assistant Director|
|Uma||Horse||Kajirō Yamamoto||Second Unit Director
(Also, Editor and
Kurosawa edited all his own films, though he only occasionally took screen credit for it. There are, however, only a few instances in which he edited the work of others, as listed below.
- Horse (1941) (Uma), directed by Kajiro Yamamoto (also second unit director, co-writer (uncredited), co-director (uncredited))
- Snow Trail (1947) (Ginrei no hate), directed and co-edited by Senkichi Taniguchi (also co-writer)
- The Hiba Arborvitae Story (1955) (Asunaro monogatari) (also co-writer), directed by Hiromichi Horikawa
- Legacy of the 500,000, AKA 500,000 (1963) (Gojuman-nin no isan) (uncredited), directed by Toshiro Mifune[note 10]
During the mid-to-late 1940s, for the first and apparently the only time in his career, Akira Kurosawa involved himself in a number of theater-related projects.
- Shaberu (Talking) – In 1945, immediately after the war, Kurosawa wrote a one-act play entitled Talking, for, in his words, "Kawaguchi's troupe" (presumably meaning playwright Matsutarō Kawaguchi, who was prominent at this time and who also worked in the film industry). The central character of the drama is a fish merchant who, during the war, greatly admires Prime Minister Tōjō. In emulation of his patriarchal hero, the merchant plays the tyrant at home, but when the war ends, his angry family members air their long pent-up grievances against him. Kurosawa called it "a comic treatment of... Japanese who all begin talking at once", because "we who had been able to express nothing of what we were thinking up to that time [the end of the war] all began talking at once."
- Yoidore Tenshi (Drunken Angel) – During the Toho strike of 1948, when Kurosawa could not work, he wrote and directed a stage adaptation of his acclaimed 1948 film (see above), with Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune playing the same roles they played in the movie. The production ran for brief periods in a number of Japanese cities, apparently with great success.
- Predlozhenia (A Marriage Proposal) by Anton Chekhov – Also during the Toho strike, Kurosawa directed a production of this popular early Chekhov farce. Neither the actors who appeared in the production nor its reception by the public is known.
Shortly before the theatrical release of Dodesukaden, a TV documentary about horses called Uma no Uta (Song of the Horse), directed by Kurosawa, was broadcast in Japan on August 31, 1970. (Kurosawa otherwise totally avoided working in television.) Almost nothing is known about this documentary and, as of August 2010, it is not available on home video in any form.
Prior to writing the screenplay to his film, Stray Dog (Nora Inu, 1949), Kurosawa created, in about six weeks, a novel based on the same story (presumably also called Stray Dog), which he never published. It was written in the style of one of his favorite writers, the French crime author Georges Simenon. Writing it was supposed to help him compose the script as quickly as possible, but he found that writing the screenplay took even longer than usual because of the complex differences between literature and film.
In 1980, inspired by the memoir of one of his heroes, Jean Renoir, he began to publish in serial form his autobiography, entitled Gama no abura (An Oily Toad). The book deals with the period from the director's birth to his winning the Golden Lion for Rashomon from the Venice Film Festival in 1951; the period from 1951 through 1980 is not covered. The title of the book is a reference to a legend according to which, if one places a deformed toad in a box full of mirrors, it will become so afraid of its own reflection that it will begin to sweat, and this sweat allegedly had medicinal properties. Kurosawa compared himself to the toad, nervous about having to contemplate, through the process of writing his life story, his own multiple "reflections." It was published as a book in Japan in 1981, and in English translation the following year under the title Something Like an Autobiography. The book's appearance coincided with the revival of interest in Kurosawa's work following the international release of Kagemusha. (ISBN 0394509382)
In 1999, his book, Yume wa tensai de aru (A Dream Is a Genius) was published posthumously. It has not been translated into English, except for Chapter 3. This chapter consists of a selection of 100 of the director's favorite films, listed in chronological order, with detailed commentaries on each film, all given at the request of Kurosawa's daughter, Kazuko. (Since he deliberately limits himself to one film per director, however, the list emerges as more of a "favorite directors" list than a "greatest films" list.) This chapter, but not the remainder of the book, can be found in English on the Internet. (ISBN 4163555706)
Complete Drawings (with text in Japanese) was published by Shogakukan in 1999. (ISBN 4096996114)
The screenplays of many of Kurosawa's films have been published in English. For further information, consult the Wikipedia articles relating to the individual films.
- Oguni and AK based this script on an unproduced screenplay they had written near the end of World War II.
- Remake of the 1950 film of the same name.
- Remake of the 1949 film of the same name.
- Remake of Kurosawa's own films, Sanshiro Sugata and Sanshiro Sugata Part II.
- AK was hired as director of the Japanese sequences of this film, but left the project; his name was taken off the credits at his request, but the screenplay he co-wrote was still used.
- AK was originally slated to direct this project in 1966-67 but dropped out; neither Oguni nor Kikushima were credited in the final film.
- Originally conceived as a project for AK to direct; filmed after his death by Koizumi.
- These three directors and AK wrote this script, allegedly for all four to direct together, around the time of Dodesukaden (1970), but due to the box-office failure of that film, the project was canceled; it was finally directed by the last surviving member of the club, Ichikawa.
- Originally conceived as a project for AK to direct; filmed after his death by Kumai.
- Mifune, directing his first film, was not confident of this suspense thriller's reception, so he hired Kurosawa to travel to the location and re-edit the footage. The latter agreed to do this more as a favor to his favorite actor than because of any belief in the project. The picture was a modest box-office success, but a critical disaster, and Mifune never directed another film.
- Jason Gray (2008-03-03). "Unfinished Kurosawa Film to be Unveiled in 2010". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Other Movies with Kurosawa's Involvement — Akira Kurosawa Information". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- Galbraith, pp. 651–751
- Akira Kurosawa at the Internet Movie Database
- Galbraith, pp. 448–471
- Galbraith, pp. 441–448
- Galbraith, p. 646
- Galbraith, p. 30
- Galbraith, pp. 364–370, 703
- Nogami, pp. 246–247
- Kurosawa 1982, p. 144
- Galbraith, p. 63
- Seven Samurai, DVD featurette: My Life in Cinema (Waga Eiga Jinsei): Interview of Akira Kurosawa by Nagisa Oshima)
- Galbraith, p. 98
- Drunken Angel, DVD featurette "It Is Wonderful to Create"
- Galbraith, pp. 486–487
- Kurosawa 1982, pp. 172–173
- Galbraith, p. 109
- Kurosawa 1982, p. vi
- Galbraith, p. 561
- Kurosawa 1999, Chapter 3, found at: http://ww.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=7192; translation: Noriyo Hoozawa-Arkenau
- Drunken Angel (DVD) . Criterion.
- Galbraith IV, Stuart (2002). The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune. New York-London: Faber and Faber, Inc. ISBN 0-571-19982-8.
- Kurosawa, Akira (1982). Something Like an Autobiography. Translated by Audie E. Bock. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-50938-2.
- Kurosawa, Akira (1999). Yume wa tensai de aru (A Dream Is a Genius). Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū. ISBN 4-16-355570-6.
- Nogami, Teruyo (2006). Waiting on the Weather. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1-933330-09-9.
- Seven Samurai: 3-disc Remastered Edition (Criterion Collection Spine #2) (DVD) . Criterion.