Sunday, October 30, 2016

KUROSAWA AND MIFUNE! Visiting a Special Exhibit in Kamakura!

With actor Shigeo Kato at the Kamakura City Kawakita Film Museum.

Today I traveled to Kamakura to visit Japanese Film Legend: Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune. Running from September 16 until January 15 at the Kamakura City Kawakita Film Museum, the special exhibit boasts many rare and interesting items.

Shigeo Kato at the Kamakura City Kawakita Film Museum. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

I was fortunate to attend with veteran Toho actor Shigeo Kato, who himself has appeared in numerous Kurosawa films, going all the way back to Ikiru (1952) and Seven Samurai (1954). It was quite an experience to walk around the exhibit with an actor who has worked with Kurosawa and Mifune many times.

Shigeo Kato meets his old friend Ultraman again! Photo by Brett Homenick.

On hand at the exhibit were many posters for Kurosawa films (both domestic and international), several rare photographs (such as a shot of Toshiro Mifune with Charlie Chaplin and a photo of Mifune visiting the set of Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala), and even a few of their personal effects. For example, a medal awarded to Mifune by UCLA in the mid-1980s was on display, as was a coat Mifune himself made from a blanket he received shortly after leaving the military. Some of Mifune's own shooting scripts from his collaborations with Kurosawa could also be seen.

Kurosawa's memorial message to Mifune (written shortly after the actor passed away) was also on display, as was the Golden Lion award given to Rashomon by the Venice International Film Festival. Additionally, some of Kurosawa's personal art supplies (with which he drew up storyboards) were on hand, along with some of his other belongings, like his binoculars. 

It was a fascinating display filled with Toho history. I was lucky enough to take it all in with a man who was there for most of it. Many thanks to Kato-san for a wonderful afternoon!

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