Sanshiro Sugata Part II

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Sanshiro Sugata Part II
Zoku Sugata Sanshiro poster.jpg
Original Japanese poster
Directed byAkira Kurosawa
Produced byMotohiko Itō
Written byAkira Kurosawa
Tsuneo Tomita
StarringSusumu Fujita
Denjirō Ōkōchi
Kokuten Kōdō
Ryūnosuke Tsukigata
Music bySeiichi Suzuki
Distributed byToho (Japan)
Film Distribution Inc. (USA)
Release date
  • May 3, 1945 (1945-05-03)
Running time
83 minutes

Sanshiro Sugata Part II (續姿三四郎, Zoku Sugata Sanshirō, a.k.a. Judo Saga II) is a 1945 film written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the novel by Tsuneo Tomita. It was filmed in early 1945 in Japan towards the end of World War II. Unlike the original Sugata Sanshiro, the sequel is in part considered a propaganda film.[1]

It is believed to be the earliest known film sequel whose title is simply the original title followed by a number, predating the likes of French Connection II (1975) by decades.[2]


In the 1880s, a martial arts student continues his quest to become a Judo master, from that discipline's founder. Eventually, he learns enough to demonstrate his skill in a boxing match between American and Japanese fighters- at the end of the movie. The whole movie is actually about the rivalry between karate and judo martial artists, and Sanshiro's struggle to do whats right. On one side there is the morally right thing to do, and on the other the rules in the dojo. Eventually he decides to break literally all the rules, leave the dojo, fight the American boxer and, also, the karate masters. He wins both fights and at the end of the movie smiles while washing his face, finally able to sleep and finally be happy


Critical reviews[edit]

Christian Blauvelt writing a review of the Criterion DVD release of the First Films of Akira Kurosawa saw merit in the film though somewhat tainted by noticeable propaganda as a Japanese WWII film released before the end of the war in 1945. Blauvent's review of the film started with a reference to Kurosawa; "His Sanshiro Sugata Part II also incorporates an element of propaganda. His first judo epic had been reviled by the censors for being too Western, even though its villain wore a Western business suit to separate himself from the more spiritual dimension of Japanese martial arts. In Sanshiro Sugata Part II, Sanshiro comes to the aid of defenseless Japanese who are being beaten up by a drunken American sailor. He later must take part in an exhibition where he pits his judo against an American boxer—and of course, his inevitable victory is taken as a sign of Japanese physical, moral, and spiritual superiority. But again, Kurosawa does not portray his society as being monolithically patriotic. Sanshiro must later fight the insane brothers of the first film’s villain, Gennosuke Higaki. Their battle takes place on a snow-covered hillside and matches the natural beauty of the first film’s windstorm finale. In his years apprenticing at P.C.L., Kurosawa had become exposed to the films of John Ford, many of which played in Japan, before the foreign-film embargo that accompanied Japan’s declaration of war on the United States in 1941. Like Ford, Kurosawa would emphasize the place of landscape in his films, often pairing his characters’ emotional turmoil with the Elements. The rain in One Wonderful Sunday, Rashomon, or Seven Samurai, the beating sun in Stray Dog, the sinkhole in Drunken Angel, the snowfall in The Idiot, the wind in Dersu Uzala, and the crashing waves of Kagemusha would express some emotional anguish of the characters and, as a kind of cinematic synecdoche, society as a whole."[3]

Home media[edit]

The film was released in 2010 as part of a DVD box set of Kurosawa's early films under the following designation:

  • Eclipse series 23. DVD release. First Films of Akira Kurosawa. The Criterion Collection.


  1. ^ Chris Gosling. Akira Kurosawa: Master of Cinema by Peter Cowie. Accessed 2012-02-19.
  2. ^ Hall, Sheldon; Neale, Stephen (5 November 2017). "Epics, Spectacles, and Blockbusters: A Hollywood History". Wayne State University Press – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Christian Blauvent [1]. Eclipse series 23 DVD release. First Films of Akira Kurosawa. The Criterion Collection. Slant magazine. April 2, 2010.

External links[edit]