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Kurosawa Wikipedia Page Now Being Edited


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    I have edited the Kurosawa page, changing the introductory section considerably and adding a whole new (long) Criticisms section. (Please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Kurosawa.)

    Some people have already weighted in that the latter is excessive, that the negative will outweigh the positive, though the section is shorter by about a third than what I originally intended. I believe that when the Life and Career; Artistic Technique, Style and Content; and Worldwide Impact sections of the page are finished, the overall effect will be much more more pro-Kurosawa than otherwise. Thanks to all those whose suggestions influenced my changes.

    Vili has promised to revise the Life and Career section sometime after the July holidays. All those who want to be involved with this process are strongly encouraged to join, in whatever capacity they choose.

    Deadline for all changes will be August 4th, three weeks before August 25th, the 60th anniversary of the debut of Rashomon, which is when (if all goes well) the page will appear as a Featured Article.

    David B.



    Its looking good so far. I agree the ‘criticisms’ section seems excessive now, but presumably as it builds up it will achieve its proper place. But perhaps it might be worth noting in that section Yoshimoto’s comments that much of the criticism arose from the problematic way (for both Japanese and foreigners) that Kurosawa refused to allow himself to be pigeonholed as ‘Japanese’. Also Tony Raynes assertion that Mizoguchi was in fact guilty of deliberately ‘orientalizing’ his films to appeal to western critics (he says this in the accompanying DVD to the Masters of Cinema Region 2 release of his films).

    Sorry, btw, that I can’t directly contribute, but I’m still barred from making comments on Wikipedia!




    Thanks for the comments. I appreciate your participation. It is not necessary for you personally to edit or to add comments to Wikipedia to assist me in this project. If you post any comments you have on my edits to this page, I will get them. Suggestions, ideas and, above all, moral support, are definitely encouraged!

    As far as the Mizoguchi comment is concerned, for reasons of space I want to avoid getting too far into controversies over another director, which would strike the reader as irrelevant. I just wanted to make the point that Kurosawa and Mizo were much more alike than these rather naive French critics believed. From what I’ve read, in the 1930s, Mizoguchi was considered a very cutting-edge, innovative “Westernized” director. He was even very politically Left for the time.

    You can help me tremendously on one aspect of the Kurosawa page. In the Worldwide Impact section, there is a subsection called Homages and Allusions which is extremely underpopulated. If you know of verifiable allusions or tributes to Kurosawa that we can reference and link to in that subsection, pass them on to me and I will edit them in. Or if you see any other section on the page that you would prefer to work on, let me know. Thanks.




    Thanks dylanexpert, I’ll do what I can.

    I think the best source of information on Homages and Allusions are in D.P Martinez’s book on Kurosawa. She describes The Outrage as the only outright remake of Rashomon, but also notes that Iron Maze credits Akutagas In the Grove as its source. She also notes (page 66) an apparent homage to Rashomon in a scene in George Cukors Les Girls. There is an Italian sex comedy that is an apparent tongue in cheek homage (pp69-73) Quante Volte… Quella Notte. She describes (no references) Kubricks The Killing as being influenced by Rashomon (p.78) and suggests (p.79) that there are also echos of Rashomon in Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad. Courage Under Fire was made by Kurosawa enthusiast Edward Zwick and is described as ‘Rashomon goes to War’ (p.87). It is also suggested that Run, Lola, Run is directly influenced (she quotes Galbraith as suggesting this (p.92).



    Seven Samurai of course has several outright remakes and has influenced numerous films. The Magnificent Seven is of course an outright remake. The later Battle Beyond the Stars is considered by Martinez o be a direct remake (also with some references to Star Wars, which of course was influenced by Hidden Fortress)(p.128). A Bugs Life is directly influenced by both Aesops The Ant and the Grasshopper and Seven Samurai. Martinez considers Galaxy Quest to be a tongue in cheek tribute to Seven Samurai as well as the whole science fiction genre (pp135-140).



    Yojimbo of course has a direct (and unauthorized) remake in Fistful of Dollars, and an indirect remake in Last Man Standing.

    Needless to say, there are numerous homages and allusions in the Star Wars series. Arguably, Spielbergs use of the ‘wipe’ in the Indiana Jones series is also a Kurosawa allusion. There are also claimed to be homages to Kurosawa in John Woo’s films and in Zhang Yimou’s more recent epics, although I can’t quite think of what they are at the moment.



    Various Kurosawa films on Wikipedia have an “Influence” or “Legacy” section.

    For instance:




    You could also go to imdb and look at the “Movie Connections” sections of Kurosawa films. E.g. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047478/movieconnections

    Ugetsu: Yimou’s “Hero” employs the Rashomon effect. John Woo’s recent Red Cliff is full of Kurosawa references, from the use of wipes to the staging of the battle scenes (think Ran or Kagemusha).

    “DAVID: It seemed to me, and you must tell me if I’m wrong, that one of the influences on this film was not Chinese at all but Japanese and particularly Kurosawa.

    JOHN WOO: Yes. Yes.

    DAVID: Yes? Because it looks sometimes like a Kurosawa film. Could you speak about the influence, then, of Kurosawa on your work?

    JOHN WOO: When I was little, I started watching Kurosawa’s films. I admired him a lot. In his films, not only did he create a vivid hero image, he also produced a very humane movie. He cared so much about people and what happened in the world. He was also very empathetic towards others’ feelings and his own.

    His action films have always triggered lots of thoughts in me. Because I loved his movies so much, after I became a director, it didn’t matter what kind of film I was directing, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2, FACE/OFF, A BETTER TOMORROW, or THE KILLER, I always reviewed his movies and used them as a reference.

    So when shooting RED CLIFF, on lots of occasions when communicating with my crew, stuntmen and cinematographer I would tell them what the ideal images in my head were and I would tell them I wanted it like Kurosawa’s films. If they were not familiar with his movies I would show them one, like SEVEN SAMURAI. I would show them the camera use and the shot angles.

    When I shot RED CLIFF, although it’s about war, I would always hope that the audience could find some humane aspects through such a war movie, just like a Kurosawa movie.”

    From: http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2616304.htm



    Good work with the criticism section, dylanexpert!

    I do agree however that the section is a bit longish for a Wikipedia article. Perhaps many of the quotes could rather be paraphrased than given as direct quotes? This way, it might be possible to cut down each section into two or three paragraphs: one or two sentences to explain the “charge”, one paragraph in which the main examples of the attack are paraphrased, and a final paragraph to attempt some sort of resolution and counter examples. I feel that as it stands now, the discussion goes into far too many details about individual films and critics.

    Don’t get me wrong though, this is an excellent review of literature, but I just think that given the purpose and the place (a Wikipedia article), it is a little too much. Fortunately, you have done such an excellent job here that working down the length shouldn’t be terribly difficult, once one sets his mind into the paraphrasing mode.

    I’m curious, however, what made you choose the order that you chose for the sections? Specifically, I wonder if the section “Mizoguchi versus Kurosawa dispute” might in fact not be the best one to start with, as I think that it is the least often mentioned criticism against Kurosawa from the ones listed. I would in fact also consider changing it to something like “Kurosawa’s place in the Japanese canon”, and look at not only Kurosawa’s place in relation to Mizoguchi, but also to Ozu and Naruse, and possibly later the new wave directors. This would of course mean cutting down some of the references on Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, but I think would benefit the article without needing to be much longer than what it currently is.

    Yes, I want to both have the cake and eat it — shorten the section and add more content to it. 😛

    Here’s some more content:

    Sorensen‘s suggestions that Kurosawa had less problems with wartime propaganda than he perhaps later admitted could be included in the section “Political controversies”.

    – In the “Alleged elitism” section, Kurosawa’s nickname “Kurosawa tenno” (Emperor Kurosawa) could be mentioned (and then referred to again in the last section, where you do mention it). I actually just happened to mention this topic in another thread, if that helps any for the reference (Yoshimoto).

    – In “Accusations of pandering to Western audiences”, one could mention that not only were many of Kurosawa’s films popular in the West, but he was also criticised for using western film techniques and themes. His use of them is already mentioned in the section, but isn’t mentioned as an example of “pandering”. Also, if one wants to include a quote here for Kurosawa’s defence, rather than using Bock, one could use any of the many interviews in which Kurosawa himself denies making films for the west. Do you have Cardullo?

    As for remakes, homages, etc., I have a list of some kind here which may be used as you best see fit.

    I would, however, make the influences section much shorter than what it currently is on the Wikipedia page, and move most of the specific references to individual film pages. There are far too many films to mention here, and if we try to list them all, it will end up just that — a list. It would in my opinion be much better just to give a few canonical examples, and perhaps then mention that more information can be found from pages on individual films.

    The same goes for the section on Kurosawa’s reputation and influence — I would only include a few main examples (maybe half a dozen directors), and note that the actual number of directors influenced by Kurosawa is far too great to be listed here. Rather than concentrating on a list of names or titles, we should concentrate here (and in the remakes & homages section) on how Kurosawa actually was an influence — what is it that people have learnt from him?




    You make a lot of excellent points. My responses are as follows:

    – Everyone who has commented says that the Criticism section is way too long and everyone is right. So I’m going to copy the whole section to a separate linkable page and then boil down its essence into (at most) 12 short paragraphs to retain on the main page, divided into two subsections rather than eight: General Criticisms and Japanese Criticisms.

    – Kurosawa Vs. Mizo – I disagree with you there. It’s perfectly logical to mention it first for chronological reasons (the French New Wavers were among the very first Kurosawa-knockers) and because, in fact, their preferences still for some reason carry weight, and not only in Europe. Even today, auteurism-influenced American critics like Jonathan Rosenbaum and Terrence Rafferty express fealty to Mizoguchi and trash Kurosawa as “sweaty” or “uneven”(!). So the controversy is very worth mentioning in this context. (Bringing Ozu and Naruse into the act might be interesting, but would make that part too diffuse and much, much too long! Remember, at that time (1950s), AK and KM were the big guns to Western filmmakers and critics; Ozu and Naruse were both almost totally unknown then.)

    – I haven’t read Sorenson (about the wartime propaganda angle) and in any case I think the point was made sufficiently well by Prof. High.

    – I’m thinking of combining the “elitism” and “arrogance” themes into one or two paragraphs, retaining Yoshimoto’s reference to “tenno.” I myself considered adding the “Kumazawa tenno” quote from Yoshimoto, but it makes the whole thing just too damn long.

    – I just got the Cardullo book from Amazon on Wednesday. I am going to take your advice and find a reference to AK’s “pandering” Western technique from that collection.

    – I don’t know how one could write the Influences section (which I actually didn’t write by the way) without mentioning individual films.

    – However, I agree that the “Reputations” subsection can be both shorter and more illuminating and that the Homages section should concentrate on Homages to AK in general and not specific films.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments. This is hard work, but we’ll make our deadline.

    David B.



    I don’t know how one could write the Influences section (which I actually didn’t write by the way) without mentioning individual films.

    I wouldn’t actually suggest doing that, but rather limiting the number of films mentioned to a handful of the most prominent examples, and through them exploring how Kurosawa has influenced the film world. Quality over quantity.



    I started my part of the work by typing in the first two sections of the Life and Career section: ‘Growing Up’ and ‘Director in Training’. Feel free to comment, edit, modify, etc. I’ll continue typing the next sections either tomorrow or later this week.

    A couple of remarks:

    – I changed the title of the first section from ‘Youth’ to ‘Growing Up’, mainly because “youth” as a term I think primarily implies ages 10-20 or thereabouts, and also because the section really is about Kurosawa’s identity formation through early influences, i.e. “growing up”.

    – I decided to include the years with the section titles, as I think that will make it much easier for the readers to skim the article.

    – I’m a bit afraid that the two sections might be too long?

    – The only major thing that I can think of that I left out is the Great Kanto Earth Quake and that often repeated anecdote about Heigo taking young Akira to see the dead. I left it out for two reasons: it would increase the length, and I felt that given the biographical narrative, it doesn’t necessarily fit in, how ever interesting the anecdote — unless, that is, you start talking about Kurosawa’s artistic need to approach subject directly, or some such.

    – dylanexpert, you suggested at one point that I include a mention in the “Director in training” section about Yamamoto’s role as a mentor to Kurosawa, and how it may have influenced the theme of master-student relationships in his films. It could go in, if you think that it is important, but I couldn’t find any reference to it, although I’m fairly sure that I remember someone talking about it. Do you remember who wrote about it?

    – I think I used a slightly wrong way to mark the citations. I’ll look into that at some point. At least the information is all there (the problem being that I repeated full details of each work every time I cited it, which clearly isn’t the norm).



    I now added the section Directorial debut and wartime works (1941-1945). Still a little concerned about the length.

    Proof-reading, suggestions, comments and edits are, as always, very much welcome.



    You could look at other Featured Articles to help gauge the appropriate length. Here’s a list:




    Thanks for the link Blah, that’s useful! I had been checking a few articles as comparison, and the lengths seem to differ quite widely. I think I’ll just write what I think should be there, and we’ll see if it ends up too long or if it’s missing something crucial, and edit accordingly.



    Just FYI, the article is currently 152 kilobytes (you can check this info by going to “Edit Article”). I was looking at this page and it says that an article with more than 100 KB “Almost certainly should be divided.”



    Thanks for the heads-up, Blah! It indeed seems to be moving towards a length which is simply too much for Wikipedia’s standards. I think what we will be doing is that I finish the biography section the way I am writing it now, and after that dylanexpert will pull out his editorial scissors and cut the whole article to a length more proper for its intended purpose.

    Although it is not perfect, I think that the page is coming along pretty nicely. It’s been a lot of work, and I’m sure dylanexpert has done even more than I have, but I think that it has been well worth it. It’s good to finally start to see a Wikipedia page worthy of Kurosawa’s standing!

    Any help would of course still be much appreciated! Any takers for the “Kurosawa’s Reputation Among (Influence On?) Other Filmmakers” section, for instance?



    The page is making steady progress. I have no doubt that it’ll become a Featured Article worthy of its subject. 🙂 With regards to helping you guys out, alas, my writing prowess isn’t quite up to par. I wouldn’t know where to start. I could, however, help with grammar/spelling corrections.

    I’ve also started changing the references you made into the shortened references similar to dylantxpert‘s (my username is “Olduch”). Though, if you don’t want anyone changing your work, let me know. Basically:

    For a reference to Kurosawa’s autobiography, insert this: <ref>{{Harvnb|Kurosawa|1982|p=”insert page number(s)”}}</ref>

    For Richie’s book, insert:

    <ref>{{Harvnb|Richie|1999|p=”insert page number(s)”}}</ref>

    For Galbraith’s book, insert:

    <ref>{{Harvnb|Galbraith|p=”insert page number (s)”}}</ref>

    If it’s multiple page numbers, change the “p=” to “pp=”



    Thanks Blah, that was actually something I was going to do at the very end, but if you can do it, it certainly saves me a lot of effort! Thanks!

    Please note that in some cases the editions that me and dylanexpert use are slightly different — I think at least with Prince’s book he uses the 1991 edition, while I’m constantly referring to the 1999 expanded one. Page numbers don’t match there, so be careful! (I’m not sure if there are any other such cases.)

    There is also one lazy reference where I basically cite myself (well, the “theatre” page on akirakurosawa.info), as I didn’t want to go through the sources I list on my page to find out which exactly had the required information. If you want to change that to a more direct reference, go ahead!

    If you don’t feel like writing anything, fixing typos and grammar is certainly helpful, and if you have any comments about the content (what to add or remove), feel free to let us know!



    Okay, thanks for letting me know. I added the 1999 edition to the Sources section.

    For the reference in which you cited yourself, actually, you did include the direct reference. Your page cites “Galbraith 63” and “Kurosawa’s 1993 video interview with Nagisa Oshima.” The Wikipedia article references Galbraith 63-64, Kurosawa’s autobiography, and your page. So, if you want, I could simply delete the reference to your site.

    EDIT: Unfortunately, I noticed you also use a different edition of “Something like an…” than dylanxpert. You use the 1983 edition and he uses the 1982 edition. Massive screw up on my part, sorry! 😯 I’ll fix it.

    For the Prince 1991 edition:


    For the Prince 1999 edition:


    For the Kurosawa 1982 edition:


    For the Kurosawa 1983 edition:




    Sorry for double posting, but just an update of what I’ve done: I’ve shortened most of the references and made some minor corrections/edits (I read the whole Life and career section and these were the only mistakes I could find), which you can view here.

    Also Vili, you don’t need to add quotation marks for the page numbers in pp=.



    No worries about double posting or reference mixups, I’m really thankful that you are helping us with the project!

    Thanks especially for the proof-reading: I didn’t actually know that “filmmaker” was the standard spelling at Wikipedia but you are of course right, and also Google very much prefers your spelling. My (British English) spell checker sees red with that, though! Not that it would be the first time spell checkers are mistaken, but I have also always used “film maker” (then again, at one point I was convinced that the proper spelling of “genius” is “geanious” — not very geanious of me, I’m afraid).

    And yes, I forgot to delete the quotation marks after I lazily copy-pasted the reference format. 😛 Thanks for the heads-up!

    Now that you have read the Life and Career section, which parts/bits would you personally remove, considering that the article now runs 150kb and should probably be, as you noted, under 100kb?



    Hmm, well if it was up to me, I wouldn’t remove anything! But since we have to, I would suggest shortening the early parts, such as the Growing Up and Director in training sections. Additionally, I think some of the mentions to his work on scripts could be whittled down. BUT, please take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Something to consider: the “Directorial approach” section seems quite redundant so can we assume that that’ll eventually be pared down, if not altogether gotten rid of?

    And finally, during my edits I noticed a couple of mistakes. First, citation #76 cites Galbraith’s book, specifically pages “118-115.” Did you mean 115-118?

    Second, your original “unshortened” references to “Something Like an Autobiography” is as follows:

    <ref>{{cite book

    | last = Kurosawa

    | first = Akira

    | title = Something Like and Autobiography

    | publisher = Vintage Books

    | year = 1983

    | pages = 180–187

    | isbn = 0520220374 }}</ref>

    You added a “d” to “an” in the title, a minor typo. But more importantly, I did some research on the 0520220374 ISBN and it leads to Donald Richie’s book, not Kurosawa’s autobiography. Was this simply a typo as well? And if it was a typo, then could you provide the correct ISBN? If I had to guess I’d say it’s 0394714393…



    You have hawk’s eyes Blah! The Galbraith reference #76 should actually be 108-115, and yes the Autobiography ISBN is 0-394-71439-3. I need to learn to use copy-paste better. Thanks again!

    As for what to cut out, I’ll leave it to dylanexpert — we seem to disagree with quite a number of things regarding how to present the article, but since it’s sort of his baby now I’ll leave it up to him and just enjoy the ride. In any case, it seems that “Directorial approach” is now gone. Another section which I think could be removed is “Further reading”, since as per Wikipedia’s manual of style it should only contain works not mentioned in the references, and most if not all of those books are already there.



    In the autobiography, Kurosawa mentions how, before he made the film, his mental image of the Rashomon gate, which was at first quite modest, grew bigger and bigger until it attained the enormous dimensions we see in the film. I think our Wikipedia site is sort of like that Rashomon gate: it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger! 😉

    Blah: Glad to have you aboard! Your proofing skills are most welcome. To me, you made some suggestions for changes which I will soon implement.

    To all: I remember reading somewhere a comparison between Ozu and Mizuguchi with Kurosawa to the effect that O and M both have their own space within their filmic worlds and that AK does not. Does anybody remember where that appeared? Stephen Prince? Richie? This website?

    As Supervisory Editor, I have final say (as Vili agrees) but all comments, suggestions, etc., are welcome.

    Anybody who wants to comment privately without posting to this board can email me at dylanexpert@aol.com.

    Thanks to all for your knowledge and enthusiasm about AK and Japanese cinema in general!



    I’d also like to say that anyone who might have uncopyrighted jpeg or gif photographic images of Kurosawa that we can put on the site should forward them to me. We have only one photo up there and two others to go up soon.



    I’m glad I could help. 🙂 However, it seems somebody has already made two of the changes I suggested…

    At any rate, I came across two more errors.

    1. Citation #51 reads “Yoshimoto, Mitsuhiro (1999). The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa. Princeton University Press. pp. 55-56. ISBN 0691010463.” Just to make sure, that’s supposed to be Stephen Prince, right?

    2. According to the current citations, the ISBN for Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto’s 1994 “Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema” is 0801846617. This ISBN leads to Goodwin’s “Akira Kurosawa and Intertextual Cinema” (1994).



    I’m really sorry about my carelessness with the references. I don’t have the books with me now, but I think that if it’s in the Life and Career section, as a rule of thumb follow the author’s name, as I would assume that I at least kept my eye on that when copy-pasting references! Or, if you have the chance to check the reference from the book, and it looks like it indeed is Prince in the first case, then it must be Prince. I will double check this when I get back home towards mid-August. Again, I’m really sorry about the sloppy referencing!

    And to think that I used to tell off my university students because of their lack of respect towards proper and careful source referencing! Ouch!

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