Akira Kurosawa was perhaps one of the greatest film-makers not only in Japan but around the world. The range of subject-matter, the humour, tenderness, and ferocity of his films still astonish.

And, without him, you would never had "Star Wars" and George Lucas would be stuck making sequels to "American Graffiti".

note: The number in ( _ ) is Kurosawa's age at the time.
Words appearing in quotation marks are the titles of films. Film titles in English are well-known in the west. Those with hard links have brief write-ups with credits, cast, and usually a plot synopsis.

Adapted from the "Akira Kurosawa Database"
http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~adk/kurosawa/AKpage.html


1910 (0)
March 23 Akira Kurosawa was born as the youngest child of four brothrers and four sisters in Ohi-machi, Tokyo. His father was Isamu who was a director of a junior high school. His mother, Shima, came from the family of a merchant in Osaka.

1916 (6)
Apr. He entered kindergarden (Morimura-gakuen-fuzoku youchien) in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

1917 (7)
Apr. He entered elementary school (Morimura-gakuen-fuzoku shougakkou) in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

1918 (8)
Aug. His family moved to Nishi-Edogawa-cho Koishikawa-ku (Suido 1-chome Bunkyo-ku, now). Sep. He changed to another school (Sumida Jinjo shougakkou). Keinosuke Uekusa, the editor, was in the elementary school.

1923 (13)
Mar. He graduated elementary school. Apr. He entered junior high school (Keika-Gakuen Chugaku).

1928 (18)
Mar. He graduated the school. He aspired to be a painter and took the exam for entrance to an art school but failed the exam.
Sep. His painting 'Seibutsu' was accepted for the Nika Exhibition.

1929 (19)
Dec. He submitted his watercolour and oil paintings to the 2nd great proletarian art exhibition.

1936 (26)
Apr. He applied for recruiting an assistant director of PCL and entered PCL. He joined as the third assistant director to Shigeo Yano's "Shojohanazono", Kajiro Yamamoto's "Enoken no Senmanchoja I & II" and Osamu Fushimizu's "Tokyo Rhapsody".

1937 (27)
He joined as the third assistant director to Hidesuke Takizawa's "Sengoku Guntou Den I & II", Mikio Naruse's "Nadare" and Kajiro Yamamoto's "Ryonin no Teisou I & II", "Nihon Josei Dokuhon I" and "Enoken no Chatkiri-Kinta I&II".
Sep. PCL and three companies were combined by Toho. He joined as a chief assistant director to Kajiro Yamamoto's "Utsukushiki Taka".

1938 (28)
He joined as a chief assistant director to Hidesuke Takizawa's "Chinetsu", Kajiro Yamamoto's "Tojuro no koi", "Tsuzurikata Kyoushitsu" and "Enoken no Bikkuri Jinsei".

1939 (29)
He joined as a chief assistant director to Kajiro Yamamoto's "Enoken no Gatchiri Jidai", "Chushingura" and "Nonki Yokocho".
Oct. Kajiro Yamamoto's "Uma".

1943 (33)
Mar. 25 His first directed movie "Sugata Sanshiro" was released.

1944 (34)
Apr. 13 "Ichiban Utsukushiku (The Most Beautiful)" was released.

1945 (35)
May 3 "Sanshiro Sugata Part 2" was released.
May 21 He married Kayo Kato (Yoko Yaguchi who was the main actress in "The Most Beautiful").
Dec. 20 His first son Hisao was born.
GHQ prohibited to release "The Men Who Tread on The Tiger's Tail".

1946 (36)
May 2 "Asu wo Tsukuru Hitobito" was released. He directed this with Kajiro Yamamoto and Hideo Sekikawa, but he removed this from his filmography by himself because he needed to change a lot of scenes to make a concession to the labor union.
Oct. 29 "No Regrets for Our Youth" was released.

1947 (37)
July 1 "One Wonderful Sunday" was released.

1948 (38)
Feb. 8 His father died.
Apr. 27 "Drunken Angel", his first film with actor Toshiro Mifune, was released.

1949 (39)
Mar. 13 "The Quiet Duel" was released.
Oct. 17 "Stray Dog" was released.

1950 (40)
Apr. 30 "Scandal" was released.
Aug. 26 "Rashomon" was released.

1951 (41)
May 23 "The Idiot" was released.
Sep. 10 "Rashomon" received the Golden Lion (Grand Prix) Prize at Venice. Dec. 26 "Rashomon" was released in New York.

1952 (42)
Jan. He moved to Komae, Tokyo.
Mar. 20 "Rashomon" got the American Film Academy Foreign Movie Award.
Apr. 24 "The men Who Tread on The Tiger's Tail" was released.
Oct. 9 "Ikiru" was released.
Nov. 4 His mother died.

1954 (44)
Apr. 26 "The Seven Samurai" was released.
Apr. 29 His eldest daughter Kazuko was born.
June "Ikiru" received the Silver Bear prize at Berlin.
Sep. "The Seven Samurai" got the Silver Lion Prize at Venice.

1955 (45)
Oct. 15 Fumio Hayasaka (41) died.
Nov. 22 "Record of a Living Being" was released.

1957 (47)
Jan. 15 "Throne of Blood" was released.
Sep. 17 "The Lower Depths" was released.
Oct. He was invited to the 1st London Movie Festival.

1958 (48)
Dec. 28 "The Hidden Fortress" was released.

1959 (49)
Apr. He established Kurosawa Productions.

1960 (50)
Aug. He made a tour to Europe and visited Rome Olympic to make a preliminary inspection of the Tokyo Olympic film that he was to direct.
Sep. 4 "The Bad Sleep Well" was released.

1961 (51)
Apr. 25 "Yojimbo" was released.

1962 (52)
Jan. 1 "Sanjuro" was released.
Sep. He moved to Matsubara Ketagaya-ku Tokyo.

1963 (53)
Mar. 1 "High and Low" was released.

1965 (55)
Jan. He got the Asahi Culture Award.
Apr. 3 "Red Beard" was released.

1966 (56)
June Kurosawa Pro. and Abco Embassy Pro. announced to produce "Runaway Train". But, this plan was canceled afterwards.
It was detected that "A Fistful of Dollars" was the crib of "Yojimbo".

1967 (57)
Apr. 28 20 Century Fox and Kurosawa Pro. announced to produce "Tora Tora Tora!".

1968 (58)
The preparations of producing "Tora Tora Tora !" were going far from smoothly.
Dec. "Tora Tora Tora !" began at Toei Movie Studio in Kyoto, but it was soon suspended.

1969 (59)
Jan. Kurosawa Pro. gave up trying to make "Tora Tora Tora!".
July 'Yonki no Kai' (the Group of Four Horses) was organized by Keisuke Kinoshita, Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi and Akira Kurosawa).

1970 (60)
Oct. 31 His first full colour movie "Dodes'ka-den" was released.

1971 (61)
Jan. He was decorated by President Tito in Yugoslavia.
Aug. 31 TV document program "Uma no Uta" (NTV) that was supervised by Kurosawa was on air.
Dec. 22 He attempted to commit suicide.

1972 (62)
Oct. He moved to EbisuNishi Shibuya-ku Tokyo.

1973 (63)
Mar. 14 He signed the written agreement of "Dersu Uzala".
Sep. "Stray Dog" was remade. (directed by by Higashi Morizaki, Shochiku)

1974 (64)
Sep. 21 His master Kajiro Yamamoto died. (72 years old)

1975 (65)
Aug. 2 "Dersu Uzala" was released.
Sep. "Dersu Uzala" was released in the Soviet Union, and received the gold prize at Moscow.

1976 (66)
Mar. 29 "Dersu Uzala" received the Academy Award for foreign movies.

1978 (68)
Mar. His autobiography ,'Gama no Abura', began serial publication in Shukan-Yomiuri. (end in Sep.)

1979 (69)
Nov. His book 'Kagemusha' (Scenario and drawing) was published.

1980 (70)
Apri. 26 "Kagemusha" was released.
May 23 "Kagemusha" received the Grand Prix at Cannes. 1982 (72)
Feb. 11 Takashi Shimura died. (76 years old)
Sep. "Rashomon" was selected as the Lion of Lions at Venice.

1983 (73)
Nov. 1 Kurosawa Film Studio was built at Midori-ku Yokohama.

1985 (75)
Feb. 1 His wife Kayo died. (63 years old)
June 1 "Ran" was released.
Dec. "AK : portrait of Akira Kurosawa" directed by Chris Marker was released.

1986 (76)
Mar. 24 "Ran" was nominated in four categories of the Academy Award. (Emi Wada got the costume design award.) He acted as a presenter with Billy Wilder and John Huston. Mar. 27 He received the first Akira Kurosawa Prize at the San Francisco movie Festival.
Jun. "Runaway Train" released.

1990 (80)
Mar. 26 He received the Academy Special Honorary Award.
May 25 "Dreams" was released in Japan.

1991 (81)
May 25 "Rhapsody in August" was released.

1993 (83)
Feb. 28 Inoshiro Honda died. (81 years old) He was (in)famous as the director of Godzilla(1954). He was a chief assistant director of "Stray Dog". He was a good friend of Kurosawa and supported "Kagemusha", "Ran","Dreams" and "Rhapsody in August".
Apr. Toho Studiosstarted to release Kurosawa's 31 movies in Toho on Laserdisc and Video.
Apr. 17 "No, Not yet" was released.

1997(87) Apr. 2 Tomoyuki Tanaka died. (86 years old) He was one of most famous producers in Japan. (He produced produced over 200 films) He produced some of Kurosawa's works. (High and Low, Yojinbo, Kagemusha...) He was also (in)famous as the producer of the series of Godzilla.

Dec. 24 Toshiro Mifune died. (77 years old)

1998(88)
Sep. 6 Akira Kurosawa died.

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