Monday, April 29, 2024

Toshirô Mifune, 三船 敏郎, Mifune Toshirō: Part One, Selections of His Japanese Language Film Work

三船 敏郎 (Mifune Toshirō) Toshirō Mifune may have been a Japanese actor, but for the record, he was born on April 1, 1920, in , Seito (Present Day Qingdao)Shandong, China. 

Above the actor in a 1960 publicity photo.

Toshiro's father, Tokuzo Mifune, was both a merchant and photographer, who ran a business between the cities of Seito and Yingkou. His mother, Sen, was a daughter of a high ranking samurai in direct service to the Tokugawa Shogunate. Both of Toshiro's parents were Methodist Missionaries. 

In 1922, the Republic of China took over Sieto, and the Japanese living there, moved to a safer area of China for the nationality. Toshiro's family settled in Dalian, in the coastal province of Fentigan (Present Day Liaoning). He was four-years old at the time of the move. In 1940, at the age of nineteen, with a strong photography background, Toshiro Mifune was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army, aviation division, and served in aerial photography through 1945.

Starting on September 2, 1945, with the surrender of the Japanese Empire, the country of Japan was put under an allied occupation force headed by American General Douglas MacArthur. New to the way the Japanese business community had operated for centuries, was the permission from the allied occupation force for employees to form labor unions. Which created new problems for the employers. 

At the "Toho Studio", founded in 1932 as the "株式会社東京宝塚劇場Kabushiki gaisha Tōkyō Takarazuka Gekijō (Tokyo-Takarazuka Theatre Company)". In October, 1946, a group of ten top movie stars and four-hundred-and-forty-five general employees went on strike. The strike lasted into 1947, and eventually the strikers left "Toho" to form their own film company. 

While at "Toho", a "New Faces Acting Contest" was started. Nenji Oyama, a friend of Toshiro Mifune, who worked in the studio's photography department, submitted his friend's resume to that contest, because his department currently had no openings. The two figured Toshiro could transfer later to photography, should a spot open, if he had been hired as an actor. To both friends surprise, out of 4,000 applicants for the contest. Toshiro Mifune was one of the Forty-eight hired new actors, and an unexpected motion picture acting career began, which would last into 1995.

Toshiro Mifune portrayed One-Hundred-and-Eighty-Six roles by his careers end. I will not, even in two-parts, cover all of them. Some of these feature films are known to many, if only by name, and some not known outside of Japan, Asia, and Foreign movie Art Houses. Additionally, I had problems identifying actors roles, or even the plot of some of his feature films. The titles are known, the actors also, but even on several of the Japanese film sites I used, the actors roles and the plot of the picture remains unanswered. However, all represent a major International Star! 

I begin at the beginning with the feature film considered the actor's first motion picture*. Which also illustrates how "Toho" still worked more as that original legitimate theatre company than a traditional motion picture studio and for that reason I am going into a little more detail with this picture.

*Some reviewers believe the two part, released in October 1947, "These Foolish Times", is actually the first motion picture for Toshirō Mifune, because, I could not confirm, the dates of filming preceded the following feature.

銀嶺の果て (Ginreinohate) aka: Snow Trail released in Japan on August 5, 1947

The motion picture was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka. His name may not be familiar to the majority of my readers, but one film title that Tanaka had come up with, including the initial story idea, and produced, will be. 1954's, "GOJIRA" was re-edited by American film makers, with the direct purpose of eliminating the allegorical anti-American hydrogen bomb theme, and turned into a typical giant monster on the loose story. That re-edited motion picture, was made in the mold of 1953's, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", and became, 1956's, "GODZILLA, King of the Monsters".

The motion picture was directed by Senkichi Taniguchi, his second film in that position, he also co-wrote the screenplay, and co-edited this production.


The name of the other screenplay writer and film-editor is very recognizable to those familiar with Japanese motion pictures of this period, and the films roles of Toshirô Mifune, Akira Kurosawa.

The music was the first motion picture score composed by Akira Ifukube. Once more, for my readers unfamiliar with his work. Akira Ifukube, composed the iconic theme for the living Jurassic Age dinosaur exposed to the United States "Castle Bravo H-Bomb", "Gojira".

The basic story is simple, three men rob a bank, and the police go after them. However, the twist here is that they do not stay in the city, but escape into the snow bound Japanese Alps near Hokkaido, where the picture was shot. The first picture below is of the overly confident police joking with reporters over how stupid the three are to go up into the Alps at this time of year.


The Three Bank Robbers:

Toshirô Mifune portrayed "Eijima", spelled on some sites as "Ejima". The website "Misfortunes of Imaginary Beings"

Said of Mifune's first on-screen appearance, that he:
---goes headlong into his handsome brooding mode, playing a tough, ruthless bank robber on the run in the Japanese Alps.

Takashi Shimura portrayed Nojiro". Shimura started on-screen in 1934, in 1948 he would appear in his first of twenty-one motion pictures directed by Akira Kurosawa, and the next motion picture I will be mentioning with Toshirô Mifune.

However, I want to mention a film not featuring Mifune, directed, or written by Akira Kurosawa that the actor was one of the four central characters. Takashi Shimura portrayed "Dr. Kyohei Yamane-hakase", in director Ishiro Honda's, 1954, "Gojira". My reader should be prepared to see his name in many of the feature films that follow.

Yoshio Kosugi portrayed "Takasugi". Yoshio Kosugi first appeared on-screen in 1924 and at the end of his film career in 1967, had been in one-hundred-and-forty-six feature films, including several of the classic "Toho Studio's" science fiction entries.

Being pursued, the three bank robbers find themselves trapped in a mountain pass, the dog leading the police gets released and confronts "Takasurgi".

In panic, he shoots at the dog, causing an avalanche and "Takasurgi" and several of the pursing police officers are buried in it. "Eijima" and "Nojiro" escape the avalanche, are able to take a short rest, and proceed up the mountain, no longer being pursued. Next, "Eijima" and "Nojiro" see a ski lodge to take refuge in.

The Three Occupants of the Ski Lodge:

Akitake Kono portrayed "Honda". He became a character actor for "Toho Studios" in 1942.

Kono's started with the uncredited role of "Saito" in the Japanese propaganda war epic, 1942's,       "ハワイ・マレー沖海戦 (The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya)". This was the first motion picture about the attack on Pearl Harbor, but obviously with a pro-Japanese slant. The very detailed models, built to represent the American Naval Base and ships in port, were by master special effects artist, Eiji Tsuburaya. Who would design and create many of the Kaiju (Monsters) associated with 1950's "Toho Studio", starting with 1954's, "Gojira". 

Above, Eiji Tsuburaya directing the actor portraying "Gojira", in 1955's, "ゴジラの逆襲, (Godzilla's Counter Attack aka: Godzilla Raids Again)"

Setsuko Wakayama portrayed "Haruko". This was the actresses second on-screen role and she was a member of the same "New Faces Contest" that Toshirō Mifune was hired from. In 1955, Setsuko Wakayama portrayed "Hidemi Yamaji - Koehi's daughter", in "Godzilla's Counter Attack". She was married from 1949 to 1956, to director Senkichi Taniguchi.

Above, Setsuko Wakayama and Toshirō Mifune.

Kokuten Kodo portrayed "Haruko's Grandfather". Kodo started his on-screen work in 1924 and developed into a character actor who used different screen names. He had been born Tanigawa Saichiro in 1887. Kokuten Kodo would appear in several of Akira Kurasawa films and again, was in 1954's, "Gojira", in the role of "The Old Fisherman", billed as Kuninori Kodo. The 1956, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", listed his role as "Old Man on Hill on Oto Island", without any on-screen credit.

The three occupants of the ski lodge have no outside communication and are unaware that their two new guests are bank robbers.

"Nojiro" is surprised that people live this high up in the Alps, and "Honda" replies that normally they would have started down already, but the avalanche and a current blizzard has prevented this. Two of the characters have different reasons in liking the situation, "Eijima", because that means the police and other searchers will not be coming up, and "Haruko", because that means "Honda" can't leave. "Grandfather" believes it will be at least one-week, before that happens. "Nojiro" is settling in to the group and especially likes "Grandfather", but the youthful "Eijima" is on edge. When suddenly he hears a sound outside ---


--- and is told it's from a carrier pigeon. Which is the way the Ski Lodge uses to communicate down the mountain to the town below. The other four people seem not to notice "Eijima's" calculating expression, because they are drunk. 

Now comes an interesting moment in a Japanese made motion picture. Which some reviewers attribute to the fact that Japan was under allied oversight and wanted to put their occupiers at ease. 

"Haruko" gets the drunk "Honda" to do a goofy dance to the American folk song, "Oh Susanna". Both, "Norjio" and "Eijima" begin to relax, and "Norjiro" removes the dark sunglasses he has been wearing since before the avalanche took place.

I turn to the webpage "The Avocado", for what is not in the screenplay, but asks the question of who are these characters?

It is an…interesting choice to have all of these characters who must have backstories…and generally avoid showing their backstories beyond hints. Why is this old man and his granddaughter living all the way up here? What happened to her parents? Did they die during the war? You kind of just have to either guess or just accept not knowing.

As for the robbers? The robbery is the backstory. And that’s it. Everything else has to be inferred. The middle-aged robbers seem to have a past, and went into this robbery out of desperation and need. Takasugi appears to be a troubled psychological state. He is utterly broken and remains dependent on Nojiro. Nojiro is a tough guy, but his gruff exterior appears to cover a noble soul that has guilt over a tragic past.

 As for young Ejima? He is the kind of person whom one might assume would rob a bank. Already an asshole from the start, he spirals further as the movie goes through under the guise of cold pragmatism. But, what would you expect from Mifune? Just look at him? He was born in Japan-controlled China, raised in Japan-controlled China, and drafted into the Aerial Photography unit during WWII. He must have seen some serious shit all his life and the studio bigwigs must have picked up on that just by looking at him.

The climax starts with the sound of barking dogs alerting the two robbers of the approach of the police. Forcing mountain climber, "Honda" to go guide him, "Eijima" promises to kill "Haruko", if he doesn't. The older "Nojiro", has both regrets of the robbery and his life, but goes with "Eijima's" plan to escape across the Alps.

I leave my reader at this point, but give them, as of this writing, a link to the complete feature film for their enjoyment:


No matter in what order you place, "Snow Trail", and the two parts of, "The Foolish Times", the first motion picture starring Toshiro Mifune and directed by Akira Kurosawa is number four.

醉いどれ天使 (Yoidore Tenshi) aka: Drunken Angel released in Japan on April 27, 1948

Director Akira Kurosawa had directed seven previous motion pictures and, including "Snow Trail", either completely written or co-wrote thirteen previous motion pictures. Kurosawa co-wrote this screenplay with Keinosuke Uekusa. The was Uekusa's fifth, of a total of twenty-eight screenplays through 1981. 

Takashi Shimura portrayed "Sanada", the alcoholic doctor of the title who is truly concerned with the health and welfare of the people around him. 

Toshiro Mifune portrayed "Matsunaga", a small-time yakuza boss with tuberculosis.

Those unfamiliar with all of Toshiro Mifune's work with Akira Kurosawa, most likely will concentrate on their samurai features, but their first feature film as actor and director was about Japanese gangsters acting like American gangsters.

Akira Kurosawa is quoted on the website "BFI Program Notes:

In this picture I finally discovered myself. It was my picture: I was doing it and no one else. Part of this was thanks to Mifune. Shimura played the doctor beautifully, but I found that I could not control Mifune. When I saw this, I let him do as he wanted, let him play the part freely. I did not want to smother that vitality. In the end, although the title refers to the doctor, it is Mifune that everyone remembers. 
His reactions are extraordinarily swift. If I say one thing, he understands ten. He reacts very quickly to the director’s intentions. Most Japanese actors are the opposite of this and so I wanted Mifune to cultivate this gift. 
One of the reasons for the extreme popularity of this film at the time was that there was no competition – no other films showed an equal interest in people. We had difficulty with one of the characters: that of the doctor himself. Uekusa Jin and I rewrote his part over and over again. Still, he wasn’t interesting. We had almost given up when it occurred to me that he was just too good to be true – he needed a defect, a vice. This is why we made him an alcoholic. At that time most film characters were shining white or blackest black. We made the doctor grey.

The story is a Japanese Film-Noir, but Mifune's character could easily have been portrayed by American Film-Noir actors, such as Richard Widmark, John Garfield, Richard Conte, or Dan Duryea. As the story could have been filmed in the United States in the same year and reflects, once again, the American influence on Japanese film making during the occupation. As with American Film-Noir, the screenplay concentrates more on each character rather than the setting.

Akira Kurosawa sets his two protagonists and his other characters living in their own world of decay. Everyone dresses like Americans, blasts American music, and even talks like Americans within the buildings and businesses of their slum environment. Which is built around a putrid swamp of industrial waste that was created under the Allied occupation.

The slum setting is best described by the website, "Passion for Movies":

The mosquito-ridden swamp also literally passes off disease to neighborhood members, particularly the vulnerable, mal-nourished children who use the ghoulish place as a playground. The gruff yet well-meaning slum doctor Sanada lives near the swamp and does his best to redeem the surrounding atmosphere, even though he very often fails.

The basic story has Yakuza "Matsunaga", after a gunfight with a rival gang, entering the slum area of the city he controls and going to see "Dr. Sanada" for medical treatment, He may be a drunk, but "Sanada" is still a good doctor and notices two things about the young yakuza. The first is his hand was broken by a bullet, the second that his coughing and other signs indicates tuberculosis. "Sanada" is also very blunt in telling "Matsunaga" what is ahead for him, if he continues his lifestyle.

Into this mix comes the original yakuza boss, "Okada", portrayed by Reizaburô Yamamoto, just released from prison and claiming his territory from "Matsunaga". 

"Okada" is also looking for his mistress, the abused "Miyo", portrayed by Chieko Nakakita, who the doctor is hiding from the yakuza boss and as his nurse, seen below with Toshiro Mifune. 

"Matsunaga's" health is becoming worse as the disease takes further hold. The young yakuza is now coughing blood, but feels obligated by the yakuza's code to protect both "Sanada" and now "Miyo". While, the doctor is still telling him to turn away from this life and think about himself and his health.

The story builds to a climatic, confrontation in the corridor of "Matsunaga's" apartment house, that's being painted, with "Okada".

The film ends with a somewhat off, but uplifting ending as compared to the rest of the screenplay. As a "Schoolgirl", portrayed by Yoshiko Kuta, who had come to the doctor with tuberculous at the start of the story, returns to thank him for his advice and the news she has been cured.

"Toho" was experiencing another strike, and director Akira Kurosawa took his motion picture,             "静かなる決闘, (Shizukanaru Kettō )" aka: "The Quiet Duel", to the studio's competitor, "Daei", to finish shooting, editing, and distributing the feature film. It would be released in Japan on March 13, 1949. Toshiro Mifune portrayed "Dr. Kyoji Fujisaki", and Takashi Shimura, portrayed his father, "Dr. Konosuki Fujisaki". 

The screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, and Senkichi Taniguchi, was based upon a popular play by Japanese playwright, Kazuo Kikuta. It tells the story of an army surgeon, Toshiro Mifune, who at the end of the war is operating on a patient with syphilis and cuts himself during the operation contracting the incurable, at the time, disease. "Kyoji" is discharged, returns home, and joins his father clinic, but is ignoring the disease and its consequences until he crosses paths with the patient that gave it to him. Tormented by a sense of injustice, because he can't help the dying man. He changes his own direction and starts a duel with the disease to save his own life.

I move ahead four motion pictures, and pass the popular 1949, crime film-noir, about a rookie homicide detective, Toshiro Mifune, searching for the pick pocket that stole his gun while they were on a bus. The motion picture was directed by Akira Kurosawa, and titled, "野良犬, (Nora inu)" aka: "Stray Dog".

On January 4, 1950, Toshiro Mifune married actress Sachiko Yoshimine. The two remained married until her death in 1995, and had three children.

スキャンダル (Sukyandaru, aka: Shūbun) aka: Scandal released in Japan on April 26, 1950  

According to Donald Ritchie in his 1999, "The Films of Akira Kurosawa", the director explained this motion picture as a protest about:
the rise of the press in Japan and its habitual confusion of freedom with license. Personal privacy is never respected and the scandal sheets are the worst offenders.

Again, a direct change in traditional Japan as influenced by the allied occupiers after the war.

Ryuzo Kikushima was the co-writer with Akira Kurosawa on this feature film. This was his second screenplay and his first was 1949's, "Stray Dog". 

Toshiro Mifune portrayed artist, "Ichiro Aoye"

Shirley Yamaguchi billed as Yoshiko Yamaguchi portrayed famous classical singer, "Miyako Saijo"

Takaski Shimura portrayed the lawyer "Hiruta", who will do anything to get money, because his daughter, "Masako Hiruta", portrayed by Yoko Katsuragi, has terminal tuberculous.

Above, Takaski Shimiura and Shinichi Himori as "Asai, the editor of the tabloid, Amour".
Below, left to right, Yoko Katsuragi, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, and Toshiro Mifune.

The basic story has classical singer "Miyako Saijo" missing her bus and finding herself on a mountain road without transportation. Along comes artist "Ichiro Aoye" on his motorcycle and talking with the stranded young singer. He discovers they are at the same hotel and he gives her a ride back to the town their hotel is located in. 

However, in town are paparazzi that approach the singer, but she refuses to give them an interview. Later, "Ichiro", innocently, happens to be with "Miyako" on her rooms balcony and paparazzi take a picture of the two. That is used in a fabricated revenge article entitled, "The Love Story of Miyako Saijo".

"Ichiro" hires lawyer "Hiruta" to represent him in a lawsuit against the tabloid. However, "Hiruta" is offered a bribe, needing money for his daughter's health care, by the editor of the tabloid "Asai" to loose the case. 

As "Hiruta" does everything he can to let "Amour" win. He is torn by the fact that "Masako" keeps telling him how nice and caring "Ichiro" and "Miyako" are towards her. As the trial nears it conclusion, "Miyako" dies from her tuberculous, "Hiruta" confesses to the court, and "Amour" looses the lawsuit.

Toshirô Mifune portrayed "Dr. Takeshi Ema", in director and screenplay writer Keisuke Kinoshita's, "The Wedding Ring", about a wife falling in love with the handsome new doctor taking care of her ill husband. According to the website "Japanonfilm":

Kinoshita’s Wedding Ring is a fascinating example of the post-war Japanese “women’s picture,” sort of a cross between Brief Encounter and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  
(Kinuyo Tanaka) plays the woman in the triangle. She had been married for barely a year when her husband (Jukichi Uno) was called up. After the war ended, he was still in POW camps for years, after which he returned home with tuberculosis, which has kept him too weak to leave his bed except for very short periods and kept him in a seaside house for the healthy clean air. 

The article continues:
the husband guesses what is in her mind, confirmed when he realizes she no longer wears her ring when she is not with him. He tries to commit suicide, but the young doctor arrives in time to save him. Tanaka convinces her husband that she genuinely loves him, and Mifune recommends she and her husband go off to the mountains to finish his treatment.

Next for Toshiro Mifune was the motion picture that made director Akira Kurosawa internationally known and above other Japanese directors at the time.

羅生門 (Rashomon) released in Japan on August 26, 1950

The following comes from my article, "William Shakespeare By Akira Kurosawa: Kurosawa By America and Italy" found at:

Origin of the title "Rashomon":

The characters in the Japanese title (羅生門 literally stand for "Castle Gate". 

The original use of "Rashomon", or "Rajomon" was as the name given to the gate at the southern end of Suzaku Avenue, in Heian-kyo, now Kyoto, that leads to the Imperial Palace in that city. At one time in Japan's past, unclaimed corpses would be dumped at the southern gate. The first story about "Rashomon" was from a Noh play by Kanze Nobumitsu around 1420, and was about a servant and an old woman meeting there. In 1915, the writer Teikoku Bungaku wrote a shot story based upon that incident, also called "Rashomon". In 1922, Teikoku wrote a second short story called "In the Grove". In 1950, Akira Kurosawa took the title "Rashomon" and the setting from the 1915 story and the plot from the 1922 story to create his screenplay for his motion picture.

One of the biggest problems facing an investigation of a crime occurs when there are more than one witness and each seems to contradict the others. This is the simple plot to the original story and the film.

A Woodcutter, a Samurai, his Wife, and a Bandit. Four people involved in a rape and murder, but who is telling the truth, or are we even hearing the truth?

Instead of a servant and an old woman, the movie opens with a "The Priest", portrayed by Minoru Chiaki, sitting at the Southern Gate with a "Woodcutter", portrayed by Takashi Shimura. The gate provides both with some shelter from the falling rain. Enter a "Commoner", portrayed by Kichijiro Ueda. The Priest and Woodcutter begin to tell "The Commoner" of the events at a trial they took part in.

Image result for images of movie rashomon

We start first, with the events of what becomes both the rape of a Samurai's Wife and his death told from the point of view of the "Bandit, Tajomaru", portrayed by Toshiro Mifune. He claims to have gotten the two to go with him to look at a cache of ancient swords. He overwhelms the Samurai and ties him to a tree and then rapes his Wife in front of him.

In this version, the Wife, after attempting to kill herself with a dagger, begs the Bandit to duel her husband to save her from the guilt and shame of being raped. The Bandit unties the Samurai, and they duel with the Bandit killing the other. This version makes the Bandit seem extremely cunning, but honorable. However, he admits forgetting about an expensive dagger owned by the samurai's wife.

Image result for images of movie rashomon

Next, we have the story of the "Samurai's Wife, Masago", portrayed by Machiko Kyo, and it is very different. She claims the Bandit left after raping her and she untied her husband. She begged her husband to forgive her shame, but his look said otherwise. She then asked him to kill her as she held the dagger. As her husband continued to stare at her in disgust, she fainted. Waking up, the Wife discovered her husband's body with the dagger in it, and attempted, but failed in killing herself.

Image result for images of movie rashomon

The third version of these events, is told by "The Samurai, Kanazawa no Takehiro", portrayed by Masayuki Mori. His story is told through the use of a Medium, who brings his spirit to the court. He claims that after being raped, his Wife asked to travel with the Bandit, but adding, that the Bandit needed to kill her husband, so she would not feel owned by two different men. Instead, the Bandit asked the Samurai, if he wants his Wife let go, or killed? She runs away and the Bandit goes after her, but couldn't find the Wife and returned to the tied up Samurai. He frees him and leaves. The Samurai then kills himself with his Wife's dagger. Later, the spirit says somebody unknown to him, removed the dagger from  his chest.

The Woodcutter tells the Commoner that all three stories are falsehoods and he witnessed the Samurai being killed by a sword, not a dagger. The Commoner pressures the Woodcutter to admit he saw the actual murder, but lied to avoid getting in trouble with the court. 

The Woodcutter's story, "Tajomaru" begged "Masago" to marry him. Instead, she frees her husband, expecting him to kill her rapist. Instead, "Kanazawa no Takehiro" refuses to fight, afraid he could be killed over a ruined woman. The Bandit takes back his promise to marry the Wife. She rebukes both men over failing to keep their promises to her, and both men unwittingly enter into a duel. The samurai is disarmed and begs the Bandit for his life, but is killed instead. The Wife flees the scene, the Bandit steals the Samurai's sword and injured limps away,

Next, the Woodcutter, the Priest, and the Commoner hear a baby crying and follow the sound to the baby. The three find the baby with a kimono and an amulet, and abandoned by its parents. The Commoner steals the kimono and the amulet and is rebuked by the Woodcutter. At which point, the Commoner deduces that the Woodcutter actually lied, because he has stolen the Wife's dagger to sell for food.

The Woodcutter is attempting to calm the baby after the departure of the Commoner. While the Priest states he has lost his faith in humanity from the events of the trial and the fact that the Commoner has stolen the items found with the baby. The Woodcutter tells him that he intends to raise the baby as his own, restoring the Priest's faith in men as the rain has stopped and sun starts to rise.

Between 1868 - 1869, "Ру́сский ве́стник (The Russian Messenger)", publish the novel "Идіотъ(Idiot)", by Fyodor Dostoevsky. In 1951, director Akira Kurosawa released his motion picture version.

白痴 (Hakunchi) aka: Idiot released in Japan on May 21, 1951

The original novel is divided into four-parts with the central character "Prince Myshkin". Who has returned to Russia after being away for a long period of time and having been treated for epilepsy. The continuing effects of his illness, his innocence and lack of expected social graces for his status make people believe he is a mental idiot, as he moves through the four parts of Fyodor Dostovesky's novel.

The screenplay for Akira Kurosawa's motion picture was co-written by the director and  
Eijiro Hisaita, he had solely, just written the two-part motion picture horror story, 1949's, "The Ghost of Yotsuya".

The following are Kurosawa's characters as compared to Dostovesky's:

Actors                           Kurosawa Character                     Dostoevsky Character
Masayuki MoriKinji KamedaPrince Myshkin
Toshiro MifuneDenkichi AkamaRogózhin
Setsuko HaraTaeko NasuNastasya Filippovna
Yoshiko KugaAyakoAgláya Ivánovna
Takashi ShimuraOno, Ayako's fatherGeneral Epanchín
Chieko HigashiyamaSatoko, Ayako's motherLizavéta Prokófyevna
Eijirō YanagiTohataTótsky
Minoru ChiakiMutsuo Kayama, the secretaryGavríl Ardaliónovich
Noriko SengokuTakakoVarvara

Very briefly, the screenplay was divided into two-parts, and tells the story of a Japanese war veteran, driven partly mad by the war. He returns to Hokkaido, and becomes involved in a love triangle.

The original running time of the motion picture was four-hours-and- twenty-five-minutes. However, that film has been "lost" and the only known version runs two-hours-and-forty-six-minutes. Preview audiences didn't respond well to the original cut and the production company/studio "Shochiku" had the picture severely cut against Akira Kurosawa's wishes.  

According to the United Kingdom's, 2005, "Master of Cinema", DVD:

Of all my films, people wrote to me most about this one... ...I had wanted to make The Idiot long before Rashomon Since I was little I've liked Russian literature but I find that I like Dostoevsky the best and had long thought that this book would make a wonderful film. He is still my favourite author, and he is the one — I still think — who writes most honestly about human existence.

— Akira Kurosawa

The following link, as of this writing, takes my reader to the shortened version of Akira Kurosawa's "The Idiot".


From a very deep story based upon classic Russian literature, Toshiro Mifune found himself portraying "Tora", in director Hiroshi Inagaki's, "海賊団 (Kaizoku-sen)" aka: "Pirate Line" aka: "Pirate Ship" aka: "Pirates". This adventure takes place on a modern day pirate ship with four children stowaways and four adults, not related, asking for transport. However, I could not find a clear description of the story in English, but I did find several mentioning that at the climax. Toshiro Mifune pulls apart his already torn shirt exposing his chest, picks up a large machine gun, and starts shooting the real bad guys.

決闘鍵屋の辻, (Araki Mataemon: Kettō kagiya no tsuji) aka: Vendetta for a Samurai released in Japan on January 3, 1952

The motion picture was directed by Kazuo Mori, he had been directing movies since 1937, and was Daiei Studios primary director of Samurai pictures, but this feature was from Toho. The screenplay was written solely by Akira Kurosawa.

Toshiro Mifune portrayed "Araki Mataemon". He had just been seen in the 1951 
sports feature, "Who Knows a Woman's Heart". Which is about a young man on a University's hockey team and a young woman ice skater at the same University, both dreaming of representing Japan at the Oslo Olympics, with Mifune as the man who helps them.

Takashi Shimura portrayed "Kwai Jinzaemon" 

Screenplay writer Akira Kurosawa beat out director John Ford's, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", from ten-years later, in legend vs reality under Kazuo Mori's outstanding direction.

The picture opened with Toshiro Mifune, as a real-life legendary Japanese samurai, fighting two great historical Japanese swordsman, and their thirty-followers by himself. The historical incident was known as the "Lgagoe vendetta", fought on November 7, 1634.

Then the voice of the narrator is heard:
Wouldn’t the real story be more interesting?

The picture stops, and the audience sees the actual monument to the incident in Okayama, the capital of Okayama Prefecture in the Chugoku region of Japan.







The story returns to 1634 Japan and the audience learns that "Matagoro", portrayed by Minoru Chiaki, has murdered the brother of "Kazuma", (The names of the other actors in the picture are known, but I could not locate any website with the roles the majority played, such as this one). "Mataemon" as the brother-in-law of "Kazuma" is obligated to join in the revenge.

The website, "Japanonfilm" has this interesting description that goes straight to the "print the legend" of the John Ford film.

It turns out that none of them, including the son, actually want to be there. All are trapped by family obligations, and all are tense and nervous, some to the point of being frozen with terror. We occasionally see this with villains when cornered, in both chanbara and yakuza films, but never can I recall seeing the “heroes” so depicted. Mifune, of course, is the strongest-willed, but, as he comments at one point, “This is the first time I’ve ever used my sword,” even though he was a famous sword teacher of the age, and he makes a point of letting the others know he’s tamping down his nerves. No one “goes mad” or tries to actually desert, nor is there any of the stiff upper lip wit seen in British WWI movies. Everyone “does his duty,” but all of them, Mifune included, would just as soon not have to do so.

When the fight finally erupts, we see not the formal stand-off, announcement, and then the preparatory poses for a chanbara duel, but rather an ambush. Matagoro has taken refuge with their own clan, so Mifune’s best friend (the ever dependable Takashi Shimura) must fulfill his duty to his lord and help protect Matagoro, so we expect at least a real duel between those two. It doesn’t happen; in effect, Mifune simply cuts him down before he can even draw his sword. Fear and terror are visceral, everyone is exhausted within seconds, and flamboyant heroics are not to be found.



I couldn't find specific details of the story, but Toshiro Mifune portrayed "Chiyokichi", and Shirley Yamaguchi was billed as Yoshiko Yamaguchi, portraying "Chino (Hana)". In a love story about a Japanese woman and mistress of an American, couldn't locate the name of the American character, portrayed by Bob Booth billed as Robert H. Booth, in Senkichi Taniguchi's, 1952's, "霧笛, (Muteki)" aka: "Foghorn".

I want to move forward seven motion pictures to a biographical motion picture set during the Second World War. 

太平洋の鷲 (Taiheiyo no washi) aka: Eagle of the Pacific aka: Operation Kamikaze released in Japan on October 21, 1953

The screenplay was written by Shinobu Hashimoto, He had co-written the classic, 1952, "Ikiru", that was directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. Hasimoto would do the same for the next feature film I will be mentioning. 

The director of this feature film was Ishiro Honda, two feature films away from 1954's, "Gojira", and the start of his name being associated with "Toho's" horror and science fiction classics through the 1950's.

This was supposed to be a war-time biography of Japanese "Grand Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto", portrayed by Denjirō Ōkōchi. 

Above, the real "Grand Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto", below, Denjirō Ōkōchi. 

Toshiro Mifune, had thirteenth-billing, portraying the real Japanese Naval flyer, seen below, "Lieutenant Joichi Tomonaga". Who died during the "Battle of Midway", while attacking the United States aircraft carrier, "Yorktown".

Below, is Toshiro Mifune as "Lieutenant Tomonaga".

The motion picture is reviewed by many as a straight remake of 1942's, "ハワイ・マレー沖海戦 (The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya)", but without the Second World War propaganda. The problem is that these reviews do not complete the quote, but paraphrase only a couple sentences of what is written on "Page 31", from my friend August Ragone's, excellent biography "EIJI Tsuburaya: MASTER OF MONSTERS".

Which is  about the special effects creator who oversaw both motion pictures. Yes, Executive Producer Iwao Mori wanted to make a remake of the 1942 propaganda film, but as the following clearly shows, that was the starting point only for Mori, who:
--- was gearing up to produce a large-scale remake of The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya, entitled Eagles of the Pacific (Taiheiyo-no Washi). This time the film would show the impact of the war on those who sacrificed their lives for Japan and those they left behind, and examine the ultimate defeat. 
In 1960, Toshiro Mifune would portray "Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi", in a classic "Toho" film covering most of the events in this motion picture, more later in this article, and in 1976, he portrayed "Admiral Yamamoto" in an American film, again about the same events, that I cover in Part Two.

However, I now turn to a classic Akira Kurosawa motion picture that my reader will also read about the American version in my linked article under "Rashomon".

七人の侍 (Shichinin no Samurai) aka: Seven Samurai released in Japan on April 26, 1954 and shown at the Venice, Italy, film festival on August 25, 1954

The motion picture was directed by Akira Kurosawa, who co-wrote the screenplay. 

The other writers were the previously mentioned Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni.  

The following is a descriptive listing of the "Seven Samurai" actors and their roles, from the website, "Wikipedia"
The list starts with the character of "Kambei Shimada", the leader, and is followed in order, by each samurai "Shimada's" recruits to defend the village.

  • Takashi Shimura as "Kambei Shimada (島田勘兵衛Shimada Kambei)", a war-weary but honorable and strategic roin and the leader of the seven
  • Yoshio Inaba as "Gorōbei Katayama (片山五郎兵衛Katayama Gorōbei)", a skilled archer, who acts as Kambei's second-in-command and helps create the master-plan for the village's defense
  • Daisuke Kato as "Shichirōji (七郎次)", Kambei's old friend and former lieutenant
  • Meiji Miyaguchi as "Kyūzō (久蔵)", a serious, stone-faced and supremely skilled swordsman
  • Minoru Chiaki as "Heihachi Hayashida (林田平八Hayashida Heihachi)", an amiable though less-skilled fighter, whose charm and wit maintain his comrades' morale in the face of adversity
  • Isao Kimura as "Katsushirō Okamoto (岡本勝四郎Okamoto Katsushirō)", the untested son of a wealthy, land-owning samurai, whom Kambei reluctantly takes in as a disciple[11]
  • Toshirō Mifune as "Kikuchiyo (菊千代)", a humorous, mercurial and temperamental rogue who lies about being a samurai, but eventually proves his worth and resourcefulness


The year is 1586, and a bandit gang keeps raiding a mountain village, but the "Bandit Chief", portrayed by Shinpei Takagi, decides to wait to raid the village again until after the harvest.  

In the village, the elder, "Gisaku", portrayed by Kokuten Kodo, billed as Kuninori Todo, suggests that the villagers hire hungry samurai to defend them against the bandits return. 

Going to a nearby town, the villagers witness aging samurai "Kambei Shimada", save a young boy from a thief. "Katsushirō Okamoto", the son of a wealthy landowner, who witnessed this, asks "Kambei" to take him on as an apprentice samurai and the older man reluctantly agrees. Now, "Shimada" searches for experienced, and hungry samurai, who will accept food and lodging for their swords. As the six samurai head to the village, the pretending samurai, "Kikuchiyo" attempts to join them and finally is accepted.

The "Seven Samurai" arrive at the village to teach the villagers how to defend themselves, by self-practice, and the construction of defenses.


"Katsushirō" discovers a farmer's daughter, "Shino (志乃)", dressed as a young man, and they will sleep together, although he recognizes the difference in their social status, and that is resolved at the end when the two part ways. While, "Kikuchiyo" finds samurai armor and weapons and brings it to the others. The others are angered that he brought them armor that came from samurai being killed by villagers, or taken off their bodies after a battle. He angrily talks back at them, stating that it is samurai who are partly responsible for the suffering of farmers, as the other six realize he was a farmer.

The bandit chief's spies are detected and killed and this will lead to a series of battles between the bandit's and the samurai protecting the village.

In the end the bandits will be killed, but only "Kambei Shimada", "Katsushirō Okamoto", and "Shichirōji" are left alive at the hill where the others are buried.

In 1935, Japanese writer, Eiji Yoshikawa (吉川 英治Yoshikawa Eiji) wrote his novel, "宮本武蔵 (Musashi)". The novel was based upon the real-life, Miyamoto Musashi    (c. 1584 – 13 June 1645), a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer, and roin. 

In 1975, another author, James Clavell, wrote a novel that would be turned into a 1980, television mini-series co-starring Toshio Mifune. Like Eiji Yoshikawa, Clavell's novel takes place during the creation of the "徳川幕府 (Tokugawa bakufu)", "Tokugawa shogunate", 1603-1868. I will speak to James Clavell's novel in "Part Two".

Toshiro Mifune portrayed "Musashi Miyamoto" in director Hiroshi Inagaki's classic samurai trilogy. I will be quoting descriptions of each of the three features, from the "Janus Films" website.

Samurai I: "宮本武蔵 (Miyamoto Musashi)", released on September 26, 1954.

In the first part of the epic Samurai Trilogy, Toshiro Mifune thunders onto the screen as the iconic title character. When we meet him, Miyamoto is a wide-eyed romantic, dreaming of military glory in the civil war that is ravaging the seventeenth-century countryside. Twists of fate, however, turn him into a fugitive. But he is saved by a woman who loves him and a cunning priest who guides him to the samurai path. Though the opening installment of a series, this film, lushly photographed in color, stands on its own, and won an Academy Award for the best foreign-language film of 1955.

Samurai II: "続宮本武蔵 一乗寺の決闘, (Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijōji no Kettō)" aka: "Duel at Ichijoji Temple", released on July 15, 1955.

Toshiro Mifune furiously embodies swordsman Musashi Miyamoto as he comes into his own in the action-packed middle section of the Samurai Trilogy. Duel at Ichijoji Temple furthers Miyamoto along his path to spiritual enlightenment, as well as further from the arms of the two women who love him: loyal Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa) and conniving yet tragic Akemi (Mariko Okada). The film also brings him face to face with hordes of rivals intent on cutting him down, especially his legendary rival Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta). 



Samurai III: "
宮本武蔵完結編 決闘巌流島 (Miyamoto Musashi Kanketsuhen: Kettō Ganryūjima)" aka: "Duel at Ganryu Island", released on January 3, 1956.


A disillusioned Musashi Miyamoto (Toshiro Mifune) has turned his back on the samurai life, becoming a farmer in a remote village, while his nemesis Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta) now works for the shogun. Circumstances bring them back together for one final face-off. Though it’s marked by a memorably intense final battle sequence, the rousing conclusion to the Samurai Trilogy is engaged with matters of the heart as well, as Miyamoto must ask himself what it is that makes a warrior and a man.

Five feature films followed, but the website "IMDb", incorrectly list six, the incorrect movie being 1956's, "The Underworld". Which was the first in a series of eight movies through 1965, known as the "Ankokugai (Underworld) series". Toshiro Mifune did not enter the series until 1959's, "Boss of the Underworld", with thirty-fifth-billing, portraying "Kashimura, the mechanic". He did move to first-billing, in the only other film of the series he was in, portraying "Detective Saburo Fujioka", in 1960's, "The Last Gunfight". 

Having looked to the works of Russia's, Fyodor Dostovesky, to change into a Japanese motion picture. Now, Akira Kurosawa turned for the first time, to Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare. The following come from my article linked under "Rashomon".

 蜘蛛巣城 (Kumonosu-jō) aka: The Spider Web Castle aka: Throne of Blood released in Japan on January 15, 1957


The first question we need to address is why would Akira Kurosawa choose "Macbeth" over some of the other works of William Shakespeare

When you look at Scotland at the time of the real "Macbeth" it compares very well with the feudal Japan of Akira Kurosawa's motion picture. Both countries were feudal in nature and the peasants became the warriors of the Kings and Generals. Although the Scottish peasantry might not have felt the high honor of the Japanese Samurai. Both were fierce and loyal fighters to their lords.

Below, the 10th Century Scottish Warrior

Below, the 10th Century Samurai

Even the real Macbeth's story is connected by a "Prophecy" outlined in a 12th century poem "The Prophecy of Berchan". This 205 stanza poem was written in the Middle Irish language and was alleged to be based upon a prophecy made in the Middle Ages, or even older.

Below, are two of the original motion picture posters


The actual Japanese motion picture title is not "Throne of Blood" as it is known in the United States and many other countries, but "Kumpnosu-jo (Spider Web Castle)", Which obviously  refers to Duinsane Castle in the play  In his film  Akira Kurosawa transfers the basic plot of William Shakespeare's play into a typical Japanese Noh drama. For those unfamiliar with the term Noh, or Nogaku. It is usually defined as:
 classic drama of Japan, developed chiefly in the 14th century, employing verse, prose, choral song, and dance in highly conventionalized formal and thematic patterns derived from religious sources and folk myths.
The main plot of "Spider Web Castle" opens with "General Taketori Washizu (Macbeth)", portrayed by Toshiro Mifune,  and "General Yoshiaki Miki (Banquo)", portrayed by Minoru Chiaki, on the way back to the castle of "Lord Kuniharu Tsuzuki (King Duncan)", portrayed by Hiroshi Tachikawa, billed as Yoichi Tachikawa. The two men are traveling in a deep fog much like the one's found in many areas of Scotland. 

The two men meet a Female Spirit (The Three Witches of Shakespeare in one character) within Spider Web Forest. The "Spirit" foretells their future, "Washizu" will become the Lord of the Northern Garrison, and "Miki", the Commander of the First Fortress. The "Spirit" also tells the two, that eventually, "Washizu" will become the "Lord of Spider Web Castle" and "Miki's" son, portrayed by Akira Kubo, will one day rule there too.

Image result for images of movie spider web castle

When the two General's return to the Castle, "Lord Tsuzuki", does exactly what the Forest Spirit stated would happen and "Washizu" finds himself made Lord of the North Garrison. He next goes to his wife, "Lady Asaji Washizu (Lady Macbeth)", portrayed by Isuzu Yamada,  and tells her all that has happened that day. 

Image result for images of toshiro mifune in spider web castle

"Lady Asaji", convinces her husband to murder "Tsuzuki". Together they place a drug in sake and give it to "Lord Tsuzuki's" guards to make them sleep. After the guards are soundly asleep "Taketori" and "Lady Asaji" go into "Tsuzuki's" sleeping chamber where he is killed with a spear. The spear is placed in one of the guards hands and when he awakens, before he can say anything "Taketori Washizu" murders him also.

"Lord Tsuzuki's" vengeful son "Kunimaru (may be considered either Malcolm, or Donalbain)", portrayed by Takamaru Sasaki, and an advisor to "Tsuzuki" named "Noryiasu Odagura (Macduff)", portrayed by Takashi Shimura, below, suspect that "Washizu' has killed "Kunimaru's" father.

"Kunimaru" and "Noryiasu}, go to "Miki",  and tell him their beliefs. "Miki" will not believe that about his friend. 


"Washizu" is unsure of "Miki", but wants to trust his friend. He also wants to make "Miki's" son his heir as he and "Asaji" cannot have children. However, at this point in "Kurosawa's" version of "Macbeth". "Asaji" reveals that she is pregnant and "Washizu" decides he must kill both "Miki" and his son to protect his own unborn heir.

At a grand banquet, after drinking too much, the "Ghost of Miki" suddenly appears and "Taketori" in his confusion over this, pulls out his sword, and attempts to murder the ghost. By his action and remarks, he has revealed himself to those present. "Lady Asaji" attempts to explain her husband's action as drunkenness and nothing more, but one of his samurai appears with "Miki's" severed head and explains that "Miki's" son has escaped the ambush.

This is followed by "Lady Asaji" loosing the baby, and "Washizu" returning to Spider Web Forest to seek out the Forest Spirit for help. However, another slight change to the original occurs here, as the next prophecy only says "Taketori" will loose, if the very trees of Spider Web Forest raise up against the castle. As trees cannot move, both "Lord Washizu" and his men are confident that they will succeed in killing all his enemies.

At night, the sound of wood being cut is heard. In the morning, "Lord Washizu" is awakened by the screams of his attendants, and he finds his wife in a catatonic state washing her hands clean of the blood she sees on them over and over again.

This is immediately followed by a very frightened guard of Spider Web Castle entering and informing "Lord Taketori Washizu", that the trees of the forest have come to the castle. Looking out from one of the battlements, it dawns upon "Washizu", that his enemies have used cuttings from the trees of Spider Web Forest to cover their advance, and that the "Spirit's" second prophecy is about to be fulfilled.

The Lord of Spider Web Castle attempts one desperate act to stop that fulfillment, and as his samurai archers fire upon the opposing force. Now, realizing the reality of his situation, "Lord Taketori Washizu's" archers turn on him and as the above images show, kill their Lord.

Akira Kurosawa returned to Russian Literature and playwright Alexei Maximovich Peshkov,
known to the world as Maxine Gorky, and his 1902 play, "На дне (At the Bottom)". 

According to Donald Ritchie, in his 1996, "The Films of Akira Kurosawa", the director explained the reason for this feature film as:

I’d always wanted to make Gorky’s play into […] a really easy and entertaining movie. After all The Lower Depths isn’t all gloomy. It is very funny and I remember laughing over it. That is because we are shown people who really want to live and we are them—    I think—humorously.

どん底, (Donzoko) aka: The Lower Depths the road show version premiered in Japan on September 17, 1957

The original play was set in 19th-Century Russia, but
Kurosawa changed the story to the Edo Period, 1603-1868, when Japan was under the control of the "Tokugawa shogunate". Hideo Nguni, 1954's. "Seven Samurai", co-wrote the screenplay.

There are thirteen individual characters that make-up "The Lower Depths" of society, renting a bed for a night or longer, within a tenement, located in the lower slum area of the city. The tenement is run by a landlady named "Osugi", portrayed by Isuzu Yamada. Rounding out her family is "Osugi's husband, Rokubei", portrayed by Nakamura Ganjiro II, and a sister, "Okayo", portrayed by Kyoko Kagawa.

Each of the thirteen renter's lives plays out around and within the tenement. Some are intertwined with one of the others. Such as the "thief", "Sutekichi", portrayed by Toshiro Mifune, who presumes to be the leader of the tenants, and is having an affair with the landlady.

Another tenant is a "pilgrim", named "Kahei", portrayed by Bokuzen Hidari, brought to the tenement by "Okayo", puts on the robes of a Buddhist priest and assumes the role of a mediator between the others in a "grandfatherly" way.

Above, Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, and Bokuzen Hidari

Among the other tenants is "the prostitute Osen", portrayed by Akemi Negishi.

Kamatari Fujiwara portrayed "Danjuro, the actor", below left, speaking to Bokuzen Hidari.

Also staying at the tenement are a candy salesman, a gambler, an ex-samuari, a wrestler, his associate, a tinker and his wife, a cooper, a police agent, and a cobbler. 

The central plot has the tenement landlady, "Osugi" trying to get "Sutekichi" to murder her husband, "Rokubei", so she can turn him over to the police and be ride of him also. She is jealous with "Sutekichi", because the thief is in love with "Okayo", who will have nothing to do with him. "Sutekichi" sees through her plan and refuses to take part in a murder. "Rokubei" discovers the affair between the thief and his wife, gets into a fight with "Sutekichi", and is saved by the intervention of "Kahei". While, "Okayo" starts to have feelings for the thief.

"Sutekichi" finds out how badly "Osugi" and "Rokubei" treat "Okayo", and accidentally kills "Rokubei". "Osugi" now blames "Sutekichi" for her husband's death, but he counters to "Shimazo, the Police Agent", portrayed by Kichijaro Ueda, that "Osugi" goaded him into the murder. Now, "Okayo" believes that both her sister and the thief used her to provide a reason for the murder. The one person who could tell the truth, "Kahei", runs away, leaving the others to their fates.

On May 25, 1977, American director George Lucas released "Star Wars". Nineteen-years before that motion picture, director Akira Kurosawa released a motion picture, that according to Lucas, inspired his original draft screenplay for "Star Wars".

 隠し砦の三悪人 (Kakushi Toride no San Akunin The Three Villains of the Hidden Fortress) aka: The Hidden Fortress released in Japan on December 28, 1958

This was Akira Kurosawa's first motion picture in the wide-screen process, "Toho-Scope".

Besides the director, there were three other writers he had previously worked with, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, and Shinobu Hashimoto.

 The uncredited Special Effects supervisor was Eiji Tsuburaya.

Akira Kurosawa's character's and their George Lucas original "Star Wars" counterparts:

Toshiro Mifune portrayed "General Rokurota Makabe (A little Han Solo mixed with Obi-Wan Kenobi)".

Misa Uehara portrayed "Princess Yuki (Princess Leia)".

Minoru Chiaki portrayed "Tahei (C3PO)".

Kamatari Fujiwara portrayed "Matashichi (R2D2)".

Above left, Minoru Chiaki and right, Kamatari Fujiwara.

Susumu Fujita portrayed "General Hyoe Tadokoro (more Anakin Skywalker than Darth Vader?)".

Takashi Shimura portrayed the old and wise "General Izumi Nagakura (Yoda)".

The following is the basic screenplay for Akira Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress", that inspired George Lucas 

Two peasants, "Tahei" and "Matashichi", sell their homes to enlist with the feudal "Yamana clan", in major power 1336 -1473, hoping to make their fortunes as soldiers. Instead, the two are mistaken for members of the defeated "Akizuki clan", 1202 - 1914. 

Historical footnote:

It should be noted that the "Akizuki clan" was located on the large island of "Kyushu", the most southernly of Japan's four largest islands. While the "Yamana clan" was located on the island of "Honshu", located northeast of "Kyushu", across the "Kanmon Straits". Making the two clans fighting each other, as Akira Kurosawa does in "The Hidden Fortress", a still debated impossibility. Starting in 1473, something happened, and "The Yamana clan" became a minor power on "Honshu". After reorganizing itself in Gunnai, part of the eastern portion of "Yamanashi Prefecture", located in central "Honshu".

However, on with the screenplay:

"Tahei" and "Matashichi" are forced to give up their weapons and dig graves for the "Yamana clan". After which, they are sent on their way without food. Next, as the two quarrel with each other and split up. They're reunited after being captured by the "Yamana clan" and join other prisoners digging through the "Akizuki's" castle looking for that clan's hidden gold reserve. The prisoners start a revolt and the two are able to slip away, steal some rice, and make camp near a river.

While making a fire, the two discover a gold coin marked as belonging to the "Akizuki clan". "Tahei" and "Matashichi" start hunting for more gold coins, but a mysterious man approaches and the two peasants believe he must be a "Bandit"

Questioned and frightened, the two explain to the "Bandit", their plan to escape Yamana territory. Rather than taking the accepted route through the heavily-guarded border into the neighboring "State of Hayakawa", located in central "Honshu". The two plan to travel directly to the city of "Yamana" and cross the border through it, not raising attention.

Historical footnote:

It should be noted that the city of "Yamana", during the Edo Period, 1603-1868, was under the control of the Tokugawa Shogunate,  but recognized the smaller “Yamana clan”, that controlled the city, as a full-member of the shogunate.

The "Bandit" is very interested in the plan, shows the two another gold coin, and "Tahei" and "Matashichi" join the stranger to acquire it. The stranger will take them to a secret campsite in the mountains.

Unknown to "Tahei" and "Matashichi", is that the stranger is actually the famous "Akizuki General,
Rokurota Makabe", who originally planned to kill the two peasants, but after hearing their plan decided to use them to transport the hidden Akizuki gold, 200 kan (equal to approximately 165 United States pounds),  in hollowed out tree trunks. At the camp, the two meet a young woman named "Yuki". What is not told to "Tahei" and "Matashichi", is like "Makabe" being an "Akizuki General", "Yuki" is a "Akizuki Princess", and the two peasants will be helping the general get the princess, and the gold, to the lord of "Hayawaka Fortress". Who has promised to protect her and "General Makabe". At the cave is an old man, actually "Akizuki General Izumi Nagakura", who makes plans with "Rokurota".

Above left, Eiko Miyoshi portraying "The Old Lady in Waiting", Misa Uehara, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura.

"Rokurota", "Yuki", "Tahei" and "Matashichi" leave with the gold on horses. The cave is attacked and the four look back to see fire on the hill the cave is on, knowing the fate of the "Old General" and the "Old Lady in Waiting". 

Before, "General Makabe" and "Princess Yuki" left on this journey, her younger sister was ordered to go to the "Yamana clan" and pretend to be "Yuki", knowing that she would be executed, stopping any search for the princess.

One night, stopping at an inn, "Princess Yuki" forces "General Makabe" to buy the freedom of a young Akizuki woman prostitute, portrayed by Toshiko Higushi

After being freed, the young woman refuses to leave and will accompany them. They're spotted by a Yamana patrol, and the general is forced to kill them. Taking one of the Yamana battle horses, "General Makabe" pursues some stragglers and accidentally rides into a Yamana encampment. There "Rokurota" faces his old rival, "Hyoe Tadokoro", who tells the other it is sad he did not face him in battle. However, now, "Tadokoro" challenges "Makabe" to a lance duel.

"Rokurota Makabe" wins the duel, but lets his rival, "Hyoe Tadokoro" live, steals a horse and rides out of the encampment and joins the other three.

Next, the group loses their horses and obtains a cart and makes their way into the city of Yamana during the Fire Festival. The plan was to divide the gold among themselves, but under the eyes of the Yamana soldiers. They are forced to toss the cart, with the gold hidden still in it, onto the fire and join the villagers in their chant to avoid attention to themselves.

"Yuki" is taken by the philosophy of the fire festival, about the shortness of life and the pettiness of the world. 

The following morning, the four dig out of the fire's remains whatever amount of gold each can carry. Later, one night they come to the Hayakawa border and are surrounded by Yamana soldiers, "Tahei" and "Matashichi" manage to escape in the confusion, but the others are captured. 

At which the two peasant's attempt to take credit for capturing the bandit, "Rokurota", at which the Yamana soldiers laugh at them as they are also prisoners.

"Yamana General Hyoe Tadokoro" comes to identify the prisoners before their execution, and "Rokurota" sees the other's face is now scarred. "Tadokoro" tells him that the Yamana Lord ordered his face scarred, because he let "Makabe" escape. "Princess Yuki" states she has no fear of death and now thanks "General Rokurota Makabe" for letting her seeing both humanities ugliness and beauty from another perspective, and repeats the Fire Festival's chant.

The next day, as the soldiers march the prisoners to their execution, "Tadokoro" suddenly starts to sing the Fire Festival Chant and sends the horses carrying the gold across the boarder. He frees the prisoners, distracts the guards, so they can ride off across the boarder. However, "Princess Yuki" yells to "Hyoe Tadokoro" to join them. The five manage to cross the border to safety, but separated from the horses carrying the gold.

However, "Tahei" and "Matashichi" stumble upon the horses with the gold and start to argue about dividing the gold between themselves. Deja vu, this time they are arrested by Hayakawa soldiers as thieves. The two peasants are brought before an armored samurai and a well-dressed noble woman and stare in amazement at "Princess Yuki" and "General Makabe". Who have now revealed their true selves to the two men.

Above left to right, "Yamana General Hyoe Tadokoro", "Azizuki Princes Yuki", and "Akizuki General Rokurota Makabe". 

The movie ends with "Princess Yuki" thanking "Tahei" and "Matashichi" and presenting them with a single ryō, and the two peasants leaving having made their fortunes,.

Historical footnote:

The Currency Museum of the Bank of Japan states that one ryō had a nominal value equivalent to 300,000-400,000, but was worth only 120,000–130,000 yen in practice, or 40,000 yen in terms of rice.

Two motion pictures after the previously mentioned crime drama, 1960's, "The Last Gunfight", found Toshiro Mifune once again in the Japanese Imperial Navy and at the battle of Midway Island.

ハワイ・ミッドウェイ大海空戦 太平洋の嵐 (Hawai Middouei daikaikusen: Taiheiyo no arashi) aka: Tempest Over the Pacific: The Air Battles of Hawaii and Midway aka: Storm Over the Pacific released in Japan on April 26, 1960

The motion picture, as with the previously mentioned 1942, "ハワイ・マレー沖海戦 (The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya)", are both part of my article:

"I BOMBED PEARL HARBOR: December 7, 1941 in Motion Pictures", found at:

Explaining my article's title comes from the article itself in the following four paragraphs:

"I Bombed Pearl Harbor" is a provocative title for the American re-edit by producer/director Hugo Grimaldi of a 1960 Toho Studio's picture about Pearl Harbor and the battle of Midway Island. Below is the also provocative poster for this American re-edit purposely designed by Grimaldi.

Image result for images of I bombed pearl harbor

Hugo Grimaldi's re-edit was 98-minutes, twenty-minutes shorter than that original Toho Studio's feature and was released on Wednesday December 6, 1961 to cash in on the 20th Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Hawaii. 

It should be noted that "I Bombed Pearl Harbor" at a re-edited length of 107 minutes was released in Japan in Japanese with English subtitles as "Storm Over the Pacific". This causes confusion when looking up the Toho production. As "Storm Over the Pacific" became the shorten English language name, also associated with the original 118 minute long feature.

Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka and directed by Shue Matsubayashi. "Tempest Over the Pacific: The Air Battles of Hawaii and Midway" was the first non-propaganda motion picture attempting to tell the story of Pearl Harbor and the follow up Naval Battle at Midway Island from the point of view of the Japanese. That specific subject would not be readdressed until exactly ten years later with "Tora, Tora, Tora".

Yosuke Natsuki portrayed the fictional Naval bombardier, "Lieutenant Koji Kitami", that the story is built around. 

Toshiro Mifune portrayed real-life "Admiral 
山口 多聞 (Yamaguchi Tamon) aka:
Tamon Yamaguchi". The website "IMDb" has his name shown incorrectly as "Isoroku Yamaguchi" and explains why they cannot identify the actual person Mifune was portraying.

Above, the real "Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi", and below Toshiro Mifune.

The Basic Screenplay:

"Admiral Damon Yamaguchi" is the task force commander of a fleet of 30 ships sailing in the Pacific Ocean between Japan and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He awaits orders to either return to his homeland, or continue sailing toward Hawaii. Negotiations in Washington D.C. between the Empire of Japan and the United States breaks down. On December 1, 1941, "Admiral Yamaguchi" receives his orders to attack the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. 

The audience meets bombardier "Lieutenant Koji Kitami" and his friend's on-board the aircraft carrier, "Hiryu", and they're excited over the upcoming attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, the surprise attack takes place and, later, on-board all the Japanese naval ships, a celebration will also take place over their destruction of the American Navy ships in the harbor.

"Lt. Kitami" returns to Japan and the audience in the longer version, meets his mother and childhood sweetheart, "Keiko", portrayed by Misa Uehara. After this brief and peaceful interlude in the lieutenant's life, the audience learns that although he wants to marry "Keiko". "Koji" feels such a marriage would make him less worthy as a Japanese Naval officer. That decision is put on hold, as he is called back to duty on-board the "Hiryu".

"Marshal Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's" words after the attack, without a formal declaration of war, and the discovery that the American aircraft carriers were out is sea, is often quoted and is used in this film:
I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve
However, "Koji's" and his friend's faith in the leaders of Japan continues from the small victories that follow the Navy. The film's climax now comes with the "Battle of Midway Island", June 4-7, 1942, with the reverse surprise attack by the American's who have broken the Japanese code.

The Japanese fleet under "Admiral Damon Yamaguchi" sails into the American trap and a fierce battle takes place. The Japanese aircraft carriers are destroyed and "Admiral Yamaguchi" dies with his aircraft carrier. "Lieutenant Koji Kitami" and some of the rescued flyers are seen saluting their lost comrades.

The motion picture ends with a ghostly look at the sunken "Hiryu" and the ghosts of "Yamaguchi" and some others talking about the stupidity of war and its consequences.

悪い奴ほどよく眠る,(Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoku Nemuru,) "The worse the villain, the better they sleep"
aka: The Bad Sleep Well released in Japan on September 15, 1960

Although "The Hidden Fortress" was a commercial success for "Toho", the executives were angry with Akira Kurosawa for going over budget. As a result, the director left the studio and formed his own company, "Kurosawa Productions" in 1959. He also decided his first motion picture under his own company would have social significance and this was that motion picture.

According to the "New York Times" film critic Bosley Crowther, January 12, 1963, this motion picture is:
--- an aggressive and chilling drama of modern-day Japan, which gives to an ordinary tale of greedy and murderous contention a certain basic philosophical tone
what amounts to cliches in this type of strong arm fiction in a way that makes them seem fresh and as fully of sardonic humor as though we had never seen their likes before.
The Major Characters are seemingly involved with Bribery, or is it something else?

Toshiro Mifune portrayed "Koichi Nishi", personal secretary of "Iwabuchi".
Masayuki Mỏi portrayed "Public Corporation of Vice-President Iwabuchi".
Kyoko Kagawa portrayed "Yoshiko Nishi", "Kochi's" wife and "Iwabuchi's" daughter.
Takashi Shimura portrayed "Administrative Officer Moriyama".
Ko Nishimura portrayed "Contract Officer Shirai"
Kamatari Fujiwara portrayed "Assistant-to-the-chief Wada".

I am not going to tell my readers anything else about this two-hour-and-thirty-one-minute crime drama, but, as of this writing, the following link takes them to a great Akira Kurosawa story:

Moving forward to a movie starring Clint Eastwood, oops, my bag, see the link under "Rashomon".

用心棒 (Yōjinbō) aka: Yojimbo (Bodyguard) released in Japan on April 25, 1961

This classic was directed by Akira Kurosawa, who also came up with original story, and co-wrote the screenplay.

Toshiro Mifune portrayed "桑畑 三十郎 ( Kuwabatake Sanjuro)", described as a wandering ronin and master swordsman drawn into a gang war. 

Important townspeople to the screenplay:

Eiji Tono portrayed "権爺 (Gongi)", described as the Izakaya (Tavern) owner and the ronin's ally and confident.

Atsushi Watanabe portrayed the town's coffin maker that will be kept busy by "
Kuwabatake Sanjuro".

Takashi Shimura portrayed "徳右衛門 (Tokeumon)", a sake brewer who claims to be the town's new mayor.

Kamatari Fujiwara portrayed "多左衛門 (Tazaemon)", the town mayor and silk merchant going insane with fear. 

Above the two mayors, Fujiwara in the foreground, and Shimura in the background.

The town is run by two rival Yakuza gangs.

The oldest gang is led by:

Seizaburo Kawazu portraying the original Yakuza gang leader, "Sebei", who had control of the entire town, and now works out of a brothel,

Isuzu Yamada portrayed "おりん (Orin)", center below, described as the wife of "Sebei" and the real brains behind his operation.

The Second Gang is led by:

Kyu Sazanka portraying "丑寅 (Ushitora)", described as once being "Sebei's" Lieutenant, who broke away to start his own gang.

Daisuke Kato portrayed "亥之吉 (Inokichi)", described as the younger brother of "Ushitora", seen in center below.

Tatsuya Nakadai portrayed "卯之助 (Unosuke)", described as a gun-toting gangster and the youngest brother of "Ushitora".

The plot is simple and familiar even to fans of Italian Spaghetti Westerns that followed three-years later. Ronin, "Sanjuro", comes into an "American Wild West Style Japanese Town" and gets himself a room above the tavern. After realizing there are the two rival gangs, "Sanjuro" proceeds to play one against the other, being paid by both to take care of the other. As a result, a gang war erupts between the two Yakuza factions and as the silk merchant, "Tazaemon" has aligned himself with "Seibei", "Ushitora", proclaims the sake merchant, "Tokeumon", the new mayor.

At one point, "Sanjuro" rescues a farmers wife from "Unosuke", and in turn is severely beaten-up by the his brother's gang. With the help of the coffin maker, the ronin leaves the town in a coffin and starts to recover from his injuries. "Unosuke" believes that "Sanjuro" is too injured to do anything and must be hiding in the tavern, but when it is discovered he's not there and "Gonji" refuses to tell him anything. "Unosuke" takes out his revenge on the tavern owner.

Later the same day, at one end of town, the shadowy figure of "Sanjuro" is seen approaching.

When the fighting ends, the ronin is still standing and he frees "Gonji". Next, as "Sanjuro" looks over the scene, a now insane "Tazaemon", in samurai clothing, comes out and stabs "Tokeumon" to death. "Sanjuro" turns and walks out of the town, believing, now, things are as they should be.

Released on January 1, 1962, "椿三十郎 Sanjuro Tsubaki", is the sequel to 1961's, "Yojimbo". 

The first screenplay was based upon a short story by Japanese author 山本 周五郎, (Yamamoto Shūgorō's), entitled, "日日平安 (Hibi Heian - Peaceful Days)", but with the success of the 1961 motion picture. The story was rewritten as a sequel to "Yojimbo", with changes made to permit the inclusion of our anti-hero.

When Toshiro Mifune's ronin was asked his name in 1961's, "Yojimbo". He sees a mulberry field in the distance, and replies, "桑畑 三十郎 ( Kuwabatake Sanjuro)", "Kuwabatake" means "Mulberry Field". When asked his name in this sequel, he now replies "椿三十郎 Sanjuro Tsubaki", "Tsubaki" means "Camellia". 

There is no "American Wild West Style Town" setting in this feature film, and the setting is now a clan fortress town. Which serves the purpose of reflecting the power struggles going on at the end of the
"Edo Period", the late 1860's, where both motion pictures are supposed to take place during. One added element is that Toshiro Mifune's "Ronin Without A Name", develops into a more solid and likable person, as he discovers that is adversary is actually a ronin with the same background as his own and could therefore almost be his double gone bad.

Above, the two ronin, "Hanbei Muroto", portrayed by Tatsuya Nakadai, and "
Sanjuro Tsubaki", portrayed by Toshiro Mifune.

Between 1961's, "Yojimbo" and 1962's, "Sanjuro Tsubaki", Toshiro Mifune starred in one, non-Japanese-language motion picture made in Mexico and in Spanish.

Ánimas Trujano: El hombre importante (Animas Trujano: The Important Man) shown at the "Venice Film Festival" in August 1961

According to the website for the "Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia", dated 07/19/23:

In an article written by Aura Resendiz, and translated by Andrea Cabrera, about the movie, "Ánimas Trujano: El hombre importante"my reader will find:

That the motion picture was directed and co-written by Ismael Rodríguez, based upon a novel written in 1951, "La mayordomía (The Stewardship)", by Rogelio Barriga Rivas
In Ánimas Trujano: El hombre importante, Toshiro Mifune plays an indigenous man from an Oaxacan village who wants to become the village's butler. However, his reckless and lazy character, added to his taste for alcohol, plays against him in his quest to obtain a degree which, apparently, only those with prestige and purchasing power can aspire. 

The Japanese actor learned his dialogues without knowing Spanish, only by phonetic memorization. However, it was Narciso Busquets (Pedro PáramoCadena Perpetua) who ended up dubbing Mifune and voicing the character. "It's my voice but in Japanese," Rodríguez told IMCINE in 1993, about Busquets' reaction after hearing the protagonist's pronunciation of Spanish.

But how did Mifune get to Mexico? It was Rodríguez who took the first step. The director was already interested in adapting Barriga Rivas' work to the big screen. After seeing the interpretation of the Japanese actor in the film The Rickshaw Man (1958), by Hiroshi Inagaki, he thought that "that was his Ánimas Trujano", as the Mexican filmmaker confessed in an interview with the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE) in 1993.

How about a little fantasy and "Sinbad the Sailor", or maybe not! 

大盗賊 (Daitozoku) aka: The Great Thief released in Japan on October 23, 1963.

Above the original Japanese "Toho Studios" poster, and below the poster for the re-edited, dialogue censorship changed United States version from "American International Pictures (AIP)".

The Lost World of Sinbad aka: Samurai Pirate released in the United States on March 17, 1965

The motion picture was directed by Senkichi Taniguchi. From a story by writer Toshio Yasumi, and a screenplay by Takeshi Kimora, 1957's, "The Mysterious" and 1958's, "The H-Man", and Shin'ichi Sekizawa, 1961, "Mothra", and 1963's, "King Kong vs Godzilla".

The special effects were from Eiji Tsuburaya, who had just finished 1963's, "Matango" aka: "The Attack of the Mushroom People", and followed this feature film with 1963's, "Kaitei gunkan" aka: "Atragon".

Toshirō Mifune portrayed "Sukezaemon Naya" in the original "Toho" version of the story. In the American version, he is "Sinbad", with a nick-name of "Luzon"  (Dubbed by an unknown voice artist). Mifune had just starred in the Second World War film, 1963's, "Attack Squadron".

Tadao Nakamaru portrayed "The Chancellor", 1955's, "Godzilla Raids Again", both 1958's, "The H-Man", and "The Hidden Fortress", 1960's, "The Last Gunfight", and 1963's, "Attack Squadron".

Mie Hama portrayed "Princess Yaya", 1962's, "King Kong vs Godzilla", 1963's,"Attack Squadron", 1967's, "James Bond-You  Only Live Twice", and 1967's, "King Kong Escapes".

Kumi Mizuno portrated "Miwa the Rebel Leader", both 1965's, "Frankenstein vs Baragon", and the "Invasion of the Astro-Monster". Along with both 1966's, "War of the Gargantuas", and "Ebriah, Horror of the Deep"

Ichiro Arishima portrayed "Sennin the Wizard", his dialogue and some scenes were changed because of American censorship requirements. Arishima is better known to non-Asian audiences for 
1962's, "King Kong vs Godzilla", portraying "Mr. Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals", see second picture below, and like this feature. His role is also very different in the original Toho release.

Hideyo Amamoto portrayed "Granny the Witch", 1960's, "The Last Gunfight", 1961, "Yojimbo", 1962's, "Gorath", the character actor portrayed one of the mushroom people in 1963's, "Matango",
he was the "High Priest of Mu" in 1963's, "Atragon", "Princess Salno's aide" in 1964's, "Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster", and billed as Eisei Amamoto, portrayed "Dr. Hui", in 1967's, "King Kong Escapes". 

Above, Hideyo Amamoto as "Granny the Witch", below without make-up.

Takashi Shimura portrayed "King Raksha". He had been in 1961's, "Mothra", 1962's, "Gorath", 1963's, "Attack Squadron", and in 1964's, "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster".

There are two main versions of this motion picture, the original Toho version has a sex starved wizard, in the "AIP" re-edit, he has been changed into more of a comic relief until he takes on the witch. 

"Sukezaemon Naya (Sinbad)" has a chest of gold stolen from him by "The Black Pirate", portrayed by Makoto Sato. He finds himself shipwrecked in a country where kind "King Rakish" is dying and his daughter, "Princess Yaya" will become ruler. With the help of "Granny the Witch", the "King's" evil "Chancellor" is marrying the princess. 

First, on shore, the shipwrecked "Samurai Pirate" meets the looney and tricky wizard "Sennin". Next, he meets the rebel leader, "Miwa", and learns of the "Chancellor's" plans and that "The Black Pirate" brought the chest of gold to the "Chancellor". All, "Sinbad" wants is to get his gold back, but in an attempt to enter the castle, meets "Princess Yaya", and almost is killed by the "Chancellor" and the "Black Pirate's" henchmen.

In short, "Sukezaemon Naya", "Miwa", "Sennin" and "Princess Yaya" form a plan to stop the "Chancellor" and "The Black Pirate", but must also destroy "Granny". Which in grand adventure, Japanese-Arabian Nights form, they do! Even having "Sinbad the Samurai Pirate" fly into the castle attached to a giant kite.

For those of my readers that like the character of "Sinbad", my article is "SINBAD (SINDBAD) THE SAILOR: From Popeye to 2016 Japanese Anime", to sail the seven-seas at:

Toshiro Mifune's 17-years association with director Akira Kurosawa came to the end with a feature film based upon two sources. One was the 1959 collection of short stories, "Akaihige Shinryotan", by Japanese novelist 清水 三十六 (Shimizu Satomu) aka: 山本 周五郎 (Yamamoto Shūgorō). The second was Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's, 1861, "Humiliated and Insulted". 

"赤ひげ (Akahige)" aka: "Red Beard", was released in Japan on April 3, 1965, in a roadshow presentation. It tells the story of an old and wise country doctor, "Dr. Kyojo Niide", portrayed by Toshirō Mifune, who has to work with a young military doctor,"Dr. Noboru Yasumoto", portrayed by Yuzo Kayama, doing his post-graduate training. "Dr. Yasumoto" comes from a very privileged class and believes he shouldn't have been sent out country with its lower class of people. That he should have been automatically raised in position due to his social status. The two clash and the young doctor will become the humiliated of Fydor Dostevsky, but finally learn from the older doctor humility. In this "Golden Globe" nominated "Best Foreign Film". In which, Toshirō Mifune won the "Best Actor Volpi Cup", at the "26th Venice Film Festival".

Getting away from the heavy drama, Toshirō Mifune returned to the fun of "Samurai Pirate", with:

奇巌城の冒険 (Kiganjo no boken) aka: Adventure in Kigan Castle released in Japan on April 26, 1966

This fantasy family adventure was directed by Senkichi Taniguchi, from a story by 津島 修治  (Tsushima Shūji) using his pen name of 太宰 治, (Dazai Osamu), 1940's, "走れメロス (Hashire Merosu)" aka: "Run, Melos!" The screenplay was written by 馬淵 薫Mabuchi Kaoru, using his pen name of 木村 武Kimura Takeshi.

Toshirō Mifune portrayed soldier of fortune, "Osumi". 

Tatsuya Mihashi, on the left, portrayed "The King". He had just been seen in a Hitchcockian movie, 1966's, "The Stranger Within a Woman". 


Tadao Nakamaru portrayed "The Priest, Ensai".

Mie Hama portrayed the "Innkeeper's Daughter".

Above, Toshirō Mifune, Mie Hamma, and Yumi Shirakawa portraying "Queen Izato".

Hideyo Amamoto once again portrayed "Granny the Witch".

The simple and familiar screenplay has "Osumi" and the "Priest, Ensai" traveling to a middle eastern country in a quest to retrieve the ashes of the "Great Buddha". There they are captured by an "Evil King", with the help of "Granny the Witch", fight against the odds to free the country from the "King's" tyranny and retrieve the "Great Buddha's" ashes.

1966 would end with Toshirō Mifune in his first American made motion picture, "Grand Prix". 

To be continued in "Toshirô Mifune, 三船 敏郎, Mifune Toshirō: Part Two, Selections of His English Language Work", at:


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