The past twelve months have been pretty incredible, for fans of Akira Kurosawa.
Last week, Criterion finally released their incredibly gorgeous 2-disc Blu-ray edition of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Last December we saw the epic box set of 25 films brought together for the first time under the Criterion banner. Over the past twelve months we’ve seen the Blu-ray editions of Sanjuro and Yojimbo released, as well as an Eclipse Set of the Early Works of Kurosawa. While we still haven’t seen the much anticipated Blu-ray for Rashomon yet, I’m sure that’s in the works for 2011 (fingers crossed).
As if all of this weren’t enough, a new collection of Kurosawa’s scripts is being released next week in Japan, with three previously unavailable works. Several outlets (listed below) are reporting that the following scripts, all early works from Kurosawa’s career have been discovered by Yasuki Hamano, professor of media at Tokyo University:
- Kanokemaru no Hitobito:
- Written by Kurosawa’s Rashomon collaborator, Shinobu Hashimoto, Kanokemaru no Hitobito was planned to go into production with Toshiro Mifune but halted before the story was completed. According to Tokyograph, the story is: “sailors on an old transport ship who overcome stormy weather.”
- Asu wo Tsukuru Hitobito:
- A collaborative project put together by Toho, Asu wo Tsukuru Hitobito (Those Who Make Tomorrow) is a piece of Kurosawa’s filmmaking past that he pubicly acknowledged as not being solely his own. IMDB describes it thusly:
Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, one of whom boards with the sisters and their parents. The girls’ father argues with them about their strike, but finds his views changing when he himself loses his job.
- Youki na Koujou
- Written shortly before his directorial debut in Sanshiro Sugata, Youki na Koujou was broadcast on NHK in August of 1942. According to Vili Maunula over at AkiraKurosawa.info, the title roughly translates to “Cheerful Factory” and Vili suggest that the play may be similar in theme to Kurosawa’s early work: The Most Beautiful.
Now you can order the upcoming book which collects these works over at Amazon.co.jp, but you’ll have to be able to read Kanji. I haven’t come across any word of a translation in the works, but I’d like to hope we’ll get the chance to read over these works.