To Japan and back: a study into the transcultural exchange of influence between Western cinema and Akira Kurosawa

Avery, Samuel (2009) To Japan and back: a study into the transcultural exchange of influence between Western cinema and Akira Kurosawa. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This study explores the transcultural influence which has shaped the work of acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. With a focus on Kurosawa and the west, this study traces the influence of western media and culture on the director and ultimately Kurosawa's return of influence upon western filmmakers. Kurosawa was a true auteur of cinema but he learned and developed much of his technique and style from western filmmakers such as John Ford, Charles Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and Sergei Eisenstein. Additionally, Kurosawa absorbed much from western literature and art. Recognised as a much more westernised director than his Japanese counterparts, Kurosawa received a great deal of praise and recognition from western audiences. This led to a substantial return of influence upon key western filmmakers, inspiring highly distinguished directors such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Sergio Leone. Kurosawa's contribution to cinema has concreted his legacy in film history whilst forming an eternal influence which still functions within contemporary cinema. Due to this two way nature of transcultural exchange between Akira Kurosawa and the west this study follows a similar structure composed of two chapters. The first explores the influence of the west on Kurosawa, with particular focus on John Ford and Sergei Eisenstein. This is naturally followed by a second chapter examining Kurosawa's return of influence. In order to accomplish this study it was necessary to engage in an auteurist analysis of Kurosawa. The notion of authorship within film has regularly been problematized through varying aspects such as author intention and audience interpretation. The transcultural exchange of influence can therefore raise questions of authorship which is addressed in the examination through investigating the extent of influence within the global film industry. This study makes use of a range of various primary and secondary resources in order to retrieve both first hand information and scholarly analysis of Kurosawa. An understanding and knowledge of key films was also necessary when conducting in the examination, as close textual analysis helped formulate and solidify arguments. An additional knowledge of Japanese movements of culture and society contextualised within the history of film also helped develop further understanding within the subject area. Through this study I discovered that much transcultural exchange took place between the cinema of Kurosawa and the west. This resulted in the further development of filmic techniques as well as the expansion and creation of new genres. The end result of this study provides an extensive examination into the transcultural cycle of influence functioning between Akira Kurosawa and the west.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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