Akira Kurosawa

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Akira Kurosawa 黒澤 明
BirthplaceShinagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Director, screenwriter, producer, editor

Kurosawa, Akira

(äkē`rä ko͞orō`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); P. Anderer, Kurosawa's Rashomon (2016).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kurosawa, Akira


Born Mar. 23,1910, in Tokyo. Japanese motion-picture director.

Kurosawa studied at the Academy of Arts in Tokyo from 1928 to 1935. In 1936 he went to work as a screenwriter and director’s assistant. He began making his own films in 1943.

Kurosawa’s film Rashomon (1950, based on a story by R. Akutagawa) has become world famous. His other films include The Idiot (1951, based upon F. M. Dostoevsky’s novel), Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954), The Throne of Blood (1957, based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth), The Lower Depths (1957, based on Gorky’s play), Yojimbo (1961), and Red Beard (1965) and Dodesukaden (1970; both screen versions of works by S. Yamamoto).

Kurosawa’s formally perfect and profoundly psychological films affirm lofty humanist ideals and condemn social injustice and war. His creative work, which enriches cinema and makes innovative use of its expressive means, brought Japanese film to a new level of development.


Iwasaki, A. Sovremennoe iaponskoe kino. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Japanese.)
Fil’my Akiry Kurosavy. Moscow, 1972.
Richie, D. The Films of Akira Kurosawa. Berkeley-Los Angeles, Calif., 1965.
Helman, A. Akira Kurosawa. Warsaw, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.