‘I am often asked why I don’t pass on to young people what I have accomplished ovet the years. Actually, I would like very much to do so. Ninety-nine percent of those who worked as my assistant directors have now become directors in their own right. But I don’t think any of them took the trouble to learn the most important things.’1
‘I don’t really like talking about my films. Everything I want to say is in the film itself; for me to say anything more is, as the proverb goes, like “drawing legs on a picture of snake.” But from time to time and idea I thought I had conveyed in the film does not seem to have been generally understood. On those occasions I do feel an urge to talk about my work. Nevertheless, I try not to. If what I have said in my film is true, someone will understand.’2
‘It seems that, no matter what is happening to me in my personal life, I am always thinking about my work without even knowing it. The phenomenon resembles some kind of karma. In fact, my having become a film director, and having perserved in this profession thus far, really must be either a reward or a punishment for something I did in a former life.’2
‘It is quite enough if a human being has but one thing where he is strong. If a human being were strong in everything it wouldn’t be nice for other people, would it?’3
‘As if Japan weren’t small enough to begin with, I fail to understand why it is necessary to think of it in even smaller units. No matter where I go in the world, altough I can’t speak any foreign language, I don’t feel out of place. I think of the earth as my home. If everyone thought this way, people might notice how foolish international friction is, and they would put an end to it. We are, after all, at a point where it is almost narrow-minded to think merely in geocentric terms. Human beings have launched satellites into outer space, and yet they still grovel on earth looking at their own feet like wild dogs. What is to become of our planet?’2
‘…But there was an even more ridiculous incident [in my childhood]. They told us not to drink the water from one of our neighborhood wells. The reason was that the wall surrounding the well had some kind of strange notation written on it in white chalk. This was supposedly a Korean code indication that the well water has been poisoned. I was flabbergasted. The truth was that the strange notation was a scribble I myself had written. Seeing adults behaving like this, I couldn’t help shaking my head and wondering what human beings are all about.’2
‘There is nothing that says more about its creator than the work itself.’2
‘If a meaningless person says something is meaningless, that’s probably proof that it isn’t meaningless; and if a boring person says something is boring, that’s probably proof that it’s interesting.’2
‘Perhaps it is the power of memory that gives rise to the power of imagination.’2
1 These notes were published by Toho Company Ltd. in 1975 as advice to young people considering a career in filmmaking. They are taken from: Kurosawa, Akira. Something Like an Autobiography. Translated by audie E. Bock. Vintage Books, 1983.
2 These are taken from: Kurosawa, Akira. Something Like an Autobiography. Translated by audie E. Bock. Vintage Books, 1983.
3 These notes are taken from: Richie, Donald. The Films of Akira Kurosawa. University of California Press, 1996.