Judo -- History -- Drama, Martial artists -- Japan -- 19th century -- Drama

Sanshiro Sugata

(Sugata Sanshiro)

BAMPFA Collection


Susumu Fujita, Denjiro Okochi, Yukiko Todoroki, Akitake Kono,

Akira Kurosawa made his directorial debut in 1943, during the height of World War II and at a time when “you weren’t allowed to say anything worth saying,” as he recalled. “Back then everyone was saying that the Japanese-style film should be as simple as possible; I disagreed and decided that, since I couldn’t say anything because of the censors, I would make a really movie-like movie.” Concerning a hero’s awakening and embrace of a larger ideal (in this case, judo), Sanshiro Sugata has a dazzling cinematic energy that is already pure Kurosawa, complete with novel fight scenes (one done entirely in darkness and shadow, another shot on a windswept, grassy mountainside) and a remarkable control of filmic techniques for capturing emotion, space, and time; one montage of a pair of discarded sandals, for instance, conveys the passing of the seasons with an economy as simple and pure as a line of poetry. Within these eighty minutes lies the foundation of an entire career.

Jason Sanders
  • Akira Kurosawa
Based On
  • the novel by Tsuneo Tomita

  • Akira Mimura
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 80 mins
  • Janus Films

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Sugata Sanshiro (Sanshiro Sugata) documents  

Sanshiro Sugata (credits), Pacific Film Archive, 1979

The waves at Genji's door -- excerpt (book excerpt), Pantheon Books, Joan Mellen, 1976

The films of Akira Kurosawa (press release), Pacific Film Archive, 1974

Suzuki Seiichi and Sanshiro Sugata (article), Kinema Junpo, 1974

Kurosawa on Kurosawa (article), Sight and Sound, Akira Kurosawa

The films of Akira Kurosawa (program), TLA Cinema

Kurosawa: a retrospective (program), Japan Society, David Owens

Sugata Sanshiro (program note), Japan Society, David Owens

Judo saga (manuscript), Ruth Hayler

Sanshiro sugata (program note), Turner Classic Movies, Scott McGee

Displaying 10 of 10 publicly available documents.

View all Sugata Sanshiro (Sanshiro Sugata) documentation on CineFiles.