"Each one [of the films I’ve made with Kurosawa] is something very like a revelation to me—not only about him, but about myself as well. Talking about actors’ realizing themselves, when I am with Kurosawa… I realize myself best. And yet he never dictates. Rather, he allows you to do your best, and for him you do it.”

Takashi Shimura
March 12, 1905 – February 11, 1982


Life is briefFall in love, maidensBefore the crimson bloomFades from your lipsBefore the tides of passionCool within youFor those of youWho know no tomorrow

Life is brief
Fall in love, maidens
Before the crimson bloom
Fades from your lips
Before the tides of passion
Cool within you
For those of you
Who know no tomorrow

Miki Odagiri, Akira Kurosawa, and Takashi Shimura on the set of Ikiru.

Miki Odagiri, Akira Kurosawa, and Takashi Shimura on the set of Ikiru.

Ikiru // dir. Akira Kurosawa

What I remember best here is the long wake sequence that ends the film, where from time to time we see scenes in the hero’s later life. Originally I wanted music all under this long section. I talked it over with Hayasaka [Hayasaka Fumio, the great Japanese composer who worked with Kurosawa and Mizoguchi] and we decided on it and he wrote the score.Yet when it came time to dub, no matter how we did it, the scenes and music simply did not fit. So I thought about it for a long time and then took all the music out. I remember how disappointed Hayasaka was. He just sat there, not saying anything, and the rest of the day he tried to be cheerful. I was sorry I had to do it, yet I had to. There is no way now of telling him how I felt – he is gone.He was a fine man. It was as though he (with his glasses) were blind and I was deaf. We worked so well together because one’s weakness was the other’s strength. We had been together ten years and then he died. It was not only my own loss – it was music’s loss as well. You don’t meet a person like that twice in your life.Akira Kurosawa [x]

Ikiru // dir. Akira Kurosawa

What I remember best here is the long wake sequence that ends the film, where from time to time we see scenes in the hero’s later life. Originally I wanted music all under this long section. I talked it over with Hayasaka [Hayasaka Fumio, the great Japanese composer who worked with Kurosawa and Mizoguchi] and we decided on it and he wrote the score.

Yet when it came time to dub, no matter how we did it, the scenes and music simply did not fit. So I thought about it for a long time and then took all the music out. I remember how disappointed Hayasaka was. He just sat there, not saying anything, and the rest of the day he tried to be cheerful. I was sorry I had to do it, yet I had to. There is no way now of telling him how I felt – he is gone.

He was a fine man. It was as though he (with his glasses) were blind and I was deaf. We worked so well together because one’s weakness was the other’s strength. We had been together ten years and then he died. It was not only my own loss – it was music’s loss as well. You don’t meet a person like that twice in your life.

Akira Kurosawa [x]

Ikiru // dir. Akira Kurosawa

Ikiru // dir. Akira Kurosawa