A new Kurosawa book by David A. Conrad, a Texas based historian, has been published under the title Akira Kurosawa and Modern Japan. I find the book’s premise very intriguing, as it sets out to explore how Kurosawa’s films portray the enormous social changes that Japan was going through during Kurosawa’s career.
Here is the official blurb:
The samurai films of legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa are set in the past, but they tell us much about the present, as do his crime stories, romances, military films, medical dramas and art films. His movies are beloved for their timeless protagonists and haunting vistas of old Japan, but we haven’t yet fully grasped everything they can teach us about modern Japan. Kurosawa’s films evolved as Japan redefined and reinvented itself, from movies made for the wartime regime to those made amid the trials of American occupation. From the lavish epics of the economic miracle years to searching masterpieces made with international assistance in a globalizing world, Kurosawa’s movies responded to changing times.
This detailed study of all 30 of Kurosawa’s films analyzes the links between the thrilling narratives onscreen and the equally remarkable events that occurred in Japan over his long, productive career. This book explores how Kurosawa’s classics depict the political, economic, cultural, sexual and environmental upheavals of a nation at the center of a turbulent century, both directly and through period-piece mythmaking.
The publisher has been kind enough to send me a review copy, so expect a review from me fairly soon!