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Birthday Without a Cake


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    It’s sad really that the AK site did nothing on the actual centenary. I feel a bit let-down in general, does anyone else feel the same? Day kinda came and went, here, at least….



    To be honest, the date sort of crept up on me, I had all sorts of intentions to do things (like contribute to the wiki) that I just didn’t have time for. I do regret I didn’t do more months ago to try to persuade the two main art cinemas here in Dublin to do something on the day – but I understand they are a little at the mercy of distributors.

    But I’ve always seen it as the centenary year, so plenty of time yet…



    Your story is duplicated in my own experiences, Ugetsu…I wanted to get something like a mini film series at the University level and tried to tie it to International Education Week, but there isn’t any interest, actually. It has been a hard sell.

    And, disappointing. I wonder if the AK100 thing collapsed on itself, or is even functional any more?



    I was taken aback that the vast majority of tributes to the occasion I found on the web were from England. Nothing, at least that I saw, from the New York Times. I have the feeling that the foundation’s woes have hindered the AK100 celebration that was planned.

    I spent the evening rewatching Seven Samurai, though to be honest I dozed through some of the first half and even missed Mifune’s central monologue about farmers and samurai (!) In my defense, I was very tired, and was able to stay awake through all of the second half. My daughter, however, who voted for watchingSeven Samurai again over watching Dodesukaden or Rhapsody in August for the first time, abandoned me and the film for chatting on the phone with her boyfriend.



    The AK100 thing has sort of dwindled out, or at least updates on the information.

    An event is still planned for July, but I get some conflicting information if this is still a go. After all a few event were supposed to happen in Japan, before July, and none have. Plus, I’m not sure if it’s been decided yet were the event will be, Hatsukaichi city in Hiroshima is mentioned, but one time it’s to be held on the mainland, the other time on Miyajima island(recently now part of Hatsukaichi), which I mentioned before isn’t really a practical place for an event of any notable size.

    One thing an Asian travel agency, was offering a packaged deal to Japan, from Hong Kong, and South Korea, to attend an event in(which one was never stated, I assume Tokyo which was suppose to be a grand thing) but all I hear is the offer has been canceled out, and refunds are available. There also is no information at all about a grand event in Tokyo anymore or any event minus Hatsukaichi’s supposed for that matter.

    What is for sure, if you go back a few years, what the AK100 was supposed to be, is nothing close to what is really has become. There was an event in Hong Kong, late December, early January. The event as reported to me by a friend that went, wasn’t too grand, mostly a exhibit hall of the same items that have toured Morocco already, along with a screenings of all 30 films. The film quality however was mentioned to be rather poor for many of the films, and large attendance was limited to the films that had Chinese subtitles. Seven Samurai, for example had nearly nobody watching, as the only subtitles were in English, which sort of shows the lack of effort put into the event- if the biggest Kurosawa film, wasn’t even bothered to be translated for the Chinese marketed event.

    There too was supposedly a missing guest speaker, and the event tilted more into other directors, musicians, artist, loosely crediting to Kurosawa, as a means to sell various junk, along side the junk that had AK something smeared about it.

    It’s in Cantonese but a few clips regarding the show are here:


    Looks, like the 8th Samurai dude got a screening, but I have no information about this.

    I’ll keep following what’s going on, but most of my interest has been lost, the websites are continually going offline, then back up, and always outdated. Contact emails come back as invalid, or unanswered. DesignExchange, the money behind the event, hasn’t had a investors press release in while regarding AK100, and the few that come out, are always about how to milk the event for more money. Also, the anime, the Noh documentary, and a few other things planned for the future, have for all I can tell been tossed away.

    I suppose July will give sign if AK100 is still alive or not.

    Anyways, I didn’t do anything, it was a bad day for me, and work seems to show no mercy for Kurosawa. I mean I was supposed to be in Japan for some really cool Kurosawa event on the 23rd, and everyone here was supposed to be really jealous for the awesomeness I experienced, but that of course didn’t happen, to no fault of my own however, I trusted AK100 would have a shred of competence and would organize an event as they said they would.



    Yes, it’s a bit of a letdown, the whole general lack of events around the world. I still hope that the Noh documentary and the Poe adaptation, even if obviously not really by Kurosawa himself, will both get releases this year!

    I wonder if Kurosawa Productions, or whoever it is that is currently running the show, doesn’t have the money or simply doesn’t care. I would think that, if managed properly, the Kurosawa brand would be extremely valuable. But then again, I obviously have no clue what it takes to run a legacy like his.



    The lack of worldwide recognition was sad. On 3/23, I entered AK’s name in Google News and there were only about 6 posts (mostly from the English papers, as Lawless observed). I found a link to a special variant of the Google logo, presumably for that day only, honoring the director. It consisted of a not very well done portrait of Kurosawa with what looked like the village from Seven Samurai in the background: not terribly imaginative, but better than nothing. Trouble was, when I clicked on Google here in America, all that came up was the same old boring Google logo, no Kurosawa. As for the NY Times, I guess to the editors there, A.K. was just some guy who made a few good action pics with guys waving swords around. This is a very depressing centennial year so far. But nobody inside or outside Japan is taking responsibility for leading it so I guess that’s why.

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