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Kurosawa DVDs – Best Place To Get 'Em?

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    I’m doing my dissertation on Akira Kurosawa and his films from 1943-1952 during the Allied Occupation of Japan, but it is incredibly hard to find copies of his films such as the Judo Saga and The Most Beautiful without resorting to buying suspect Chinese copies off eBay (which is also annoying as they will take around 30-40 days to arrive). So I was just wondering if anybody knows any respectable places on the internet that are selling his really early films?

    Any help would be appreciated,




    The two Sanshiro Sugatas have decent English friendly editions by the Australian company Madman. Depending on where in the world you are, the postage costs may be quite high, though.

    Criterion in also putting out some of the early films in a box set later this year, but the price tag is quite high. Hopefully, the early films will be released individually as well.

    There’s some more information about DVD releases on our DVD page.

    What’s the focus of your dissertation? The time period you are looking at is very interesting in terms of Kurosawa’s career, I would say. There’s a book coming out later this month that will probably interesting you: Censorship of Japanese Films During the U.S. Occupation of Japan: The Cases of Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa.



    Cheers for the swift response Vili I appreciate it, unfortunately I don’t think Madman is for me, as I live in the UK and would be looking at an extended delivery time (and price!). However I’ve checked out the AK 100:25 you directed me too and I will probably end up buying that, even though it isn’t released until December 8th and I have already started my dissertation (but I need those films!)!

    Oh, and excellent choice recommending that book by Sorensen as it will fit right in with my project. I am currently studying the representation of post-Occupation Japanese culture, society and traditions in the ’43-’52 films of Kurosawa. It seems an interesting subject to touch upon, but seeing as my Japanese historical knowledge is near-enough zilch, it should be somewhat of a challenging task to overcome as well!



    If there is anything that we can do to help you TMWAP, let us know. We would be happy to at any point read a draft and comment on it, if you feel like subjecting your work-in-progress for the internet hordes that we are. 🙂

    I suppose that you have already contacted both history and Japanese studies departments for pointers at good reading for the period? It would actually be very interesting to hear what sort of books you are reading to familiarise yourself with the era.

    Too bad Jeremy (a regular here) is on his latest adventure to a far-away land, and won’t be back for a few weeks. But when he does return, he might have some ideas for background reading as well.



    With a few exceptions you’re wasting your money not buying Criterion, especially at points were accurate translations and references can be helpful on your studies.

    The problem is the big UK DVD dealers are rather worthless, the worst properly is Amazon-UK. DVDPlanet.com, however, even with UK shipping, is still a fairly good deal, although they start to rip you off, when your order goes over 5 DVDs, since they charge a base fee and a per DVD fee for international shipping(they are American based). I hear most are getting their orders within a week, but I have noticed the transaction of USPS and Royal Mail has really gotten bad lately.

    As for the individual releases of the upcoming AK100 box set, according to Criterion’s blog, don’t count on it, they say it’s in consideration, which really means a year or two if you’re lucky.

    If your focus is solely on Kurosawa, then properly best to check out the book Vili mentioned. I don’t think however Kurosawa was greatly changed by the occupation’s ruling in film media. Kurosawa was pretty much outside the Japanese propaganda of pre-occupation, and American discredit during the occupation.

    But, of course if you looking for the shown effect on general society pre and post occupation within Kurosawa films, then you should have a wide array of things to look at. Kurosawa did a great job of showing this area without tossing in any distorting agenda in regards to Japanese militarism or American victory, while too not just completely ignoring the conflicts of the American occupation altogether.

    If you looking for the serious conflict of American’s censorship during the occupation, and/or some of Japan’s propagandizing pre-occupation. Then I may be able to point you towards a few directors, and books that deal with this area. This topic however gets really cloudy quickly, as you find lots of contradictions. While Japanese films of the early 1940’s were either outside the militarism push, or right in it. The difficulty however is finding the films, or at least accurate information about them(prepare to do lots of translation if you don’t know Japanese), then finding the director’s, writer’s political agendas to answer all the whys; then recognizing what Japan was pushing, as Japan, unlike the Nazis were very subtle in their propaganda. You’ll have to do more time learning about the distorting of culture the Japanese did, and then what Japanese culture really was, when it change, what pieces were added, dropped, modified, etc, throughout time.

    Best of luck on whatever course you take, all are interesting, and should give you much to write about.

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