Toshiro Mifune


Actor
Toshiro Mifune

About

Birth Place
China
Born
April 01, 1920
Died
December 24, 1997
Cause of Death
Organ Failure

Biography

Although he had originally planned to work in films as an assistant cameraman, Toshiro Mifune was auditioned as an actor, a fortuitous career shift that helped change the course of Japanese cinematic history. He appeared in many of the great post-war Japanese films, most notably those of director Akira Kurosawa.The collaboration between Kurosawa and Mifune began with the film "Drunken An...

Photos & Videos

Family & Companions

Takeshi Shiro
Wife
Married in 1950.

Bibliography

"Something Like an Autobiography"
Toshiro Mifune

Biography

Although he had originally planned to work in films as an assistant cameraman, Toshiro Mifune was auditioned as an actor, a fortuitous career shift that helped change the course of Japanese cinematic history. He appeared in many of the great post-war Japanese films, most notably those of director Akira Kurosawa.

The collaboration between Kurosawa and Mifune began with the film "Drunken Angel" (1948) and continued with such notable works as "Rashomon" (1950), "Seven Samurai" (1954), "Throne of Blood" (1957), "Yojimbo" (1961) and "Red Beard" (1965). The actor also appeared in such varied Japanese films as Senkichi Taniguchi's "Snow Trail" (1947), Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Life of Oharu" (1952), Hiroshi Inagaki's samurai trilogy on Miyamoto Musashi (1954-56) and his "The Rickshaw Man" (1958), in addition to Masaki Kobayashi's "Rebellion" (1967). Mifune also starred in films by non-Japanese directors, including Ismael Rodriguez's "The Important Man" (1961), John Frankenheimer's "Grand Prix" (1966) and "The Challenge" (l982), John Boorman's "Hell in the Pacific" (1968), Terence Young's "Red Sun" (1971), Spielberg's "1941" (1979) and Jerry London's TV miniseries "Shogun" (NBC, 1980).

Mifune's roles tended to fall within the area described in kabuki terms as the "tateyaku" style, that of the forceful, disciplined leading man, in contrast to the softer and more weak-willed "nimaime" male. His fast-paced and explosive style was not all bluster and swordplay; they were infused with a subtle degree of sensitivity and psychological complexity into even the most thick-skinned warrior characters. In the course of his career, Mifune undertook roles ranging from a modern-day cop to a wandering, masterless samurai, from a Japanese version of Macbeth to a drunken Indian peasant. He excelled at playing a wealthy industrialist, a ruthless bandit, a compassionate physician, an aged obsessive and a day laborer.

With a talent for both drama and comedy, Mifune refined, but never totally lost, his earlier "angry young man" demeanor. He twice received the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival and was the recipient of the 1988 Kawakita Award, presented to those who have contributed significantly to Japanese cinema. In 1963, the actor founded his own production company, Mifune Productions. Mifune tried his hand at directing with "The Legacy of the 500,000" (1963), but its failure led him to concentrate his energies on performing and his Mifune Productions specialized in making films for TV.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Legacy of the 500,000 (1964)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Deep River (1995)
Picture Bride (1994)
Shadow of the Wolf (1993)
Ramook
Shogun Mayeda (1991)
Lord Takugawa Ieyasu
Strawberry Road (1991)
Princess from the Moon (1987)
Umi Isubame Joe No Kiseki (1984)
Fisherman
Seiha (1984)
Jinsei Gekijo (1983)
The Bushido Blade (1982)
Inchon (1982)
Saito-San
Sword Of The Ninja (1982)
Winter Kills (1979)
Keith
1941 (1979)
Oginsaga (1979)
Midway (1976)
Paper Tiger (1975)
Ambassador Kagoyama
Red Sun (1971)
The Ambitious (1970)
Band of Assassins (1970)
Isami Kondo
Battle of the Japan Sea (1970)
Admiral Togo
The Ambush (1970)
Yojimbo
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)
Yojimbo
The Man in the Storm (1969)
Saburo Watari
Red Lion (1969)
Gonzo
The Day the Sun Rose (1969)
Kuma
Under the Banner of Samurai (1969)
Kansuke Yamamoto
Akage (1969)
Whirlwind (1968)
Lord Akashi
Admiral Yamamoto (1968)
Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto
Hell in the Pacific (1968)
Japanese soldier
The Emperor and a General (1968)
War Minister Anami
Secret Scrolls (Part II) (1968)
Tasaburo
Tunnel to the Sun (1968)
Kitagawa
Samurai (Part III) (1967)
Musashi Miyamoto
Secret Scrolls (Part I) (1967)
Tasaburo
Samurai (Part II) (1967)
Musashi Miyamoto
I Live in Fear (1967)
Kiichi Nakajima
The Mad Atlantic (1967)
Samurai Rebellion (1967)
Isaburo Sasahara
Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi (1967)
The Sword of Doom (1966)
Toranosuke Shimada
The Gambling Samurai (1966)
Chuji
Rise Against the Sword (1966)
Abare Goemon
Fort Graveyard (1966)
Sergeant Kosugi
Red Beard (1966)
Dr. Niide, Red Beard
Grand Prix (1966)
Izo Yamura
Judo Saga (1965)
Shogoro Yano
Samurai Assassin (1965)
Niino
Samurai Pirate (1965)
Sukezaemon/"Luzon"
Saga of the Vagabonds (1964)
Rokuro Kai
The Legacy of the 500,000 (1964)
Matsuo
The Bad Sleep Well (1963)
Koichi Nishi
The Idiot (1963)
Akama
High and Low (1963)
Kingo Gondo
Chushingura (1963)
Genba Tawaraboshi
The Youth and His Amulet (1963)
Fudo-myoh
Tatsu (1962)
Tatsu
Sanjuro (1962)
Sanjuro
The Lower Depths (1962)
Sutekichi, the thief
Yojimbo (1961)
Sanjuro Kuwabatake
Daredevil in the Castle (1961)
Mohei
I Bombed Pearl Harbor (1961)
Adm. Isoroku Yamaguchi [Yamamoto]
Man Against Man (1961)
Throne of Blood (1961)
Taketoki Washizu
The Important Man (1961)
Animas Trujano
Ankokugai no Taiketsu (1960)
Samurai Saga (1959)
Dokuritsu Gurentai (1959)
The Hidden Fortress (1959)
Rokurota Makabe
Muhomatsu, the Rickshaw Man (1958)
Muhomatsu
Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)
Musashi Miyamoto
The Seven Samurai (1956)
Kikuchiyo
Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)
Musashi Miyamoto
Samurai 1: Musashi Miyamoto (1954)
Musashi Miyamoto
Life of Oharu (1952)
Katsunosuke
The Life of Oharu (1952)
Hakuchi (1951)
Akama
Rashomon (1950)
Tajomaru
Scandal (1950)
Stray Dog (1949)
Murakami
Stray Dog (1949)
Murakami--The Detective
Shizukanaru naru ketto (1949)
Kyoji Fujisaki
Drunken Angel (1948)
Matsunaga--The Gangster
Snow Trail (1947)

Producer (Feature Film)

Band of Assassins (1970)
Producer
The Ambush (1970)
Executive Producer
Red Lion (1969)
Producer
Tunnel to the Sun (1968)
Producer

Cast (Short)

Grand Prix Challenge of the Champions (1966)
Himself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Shogun (1980)

Life Events

1946

Made film debut in small role in a film directed by Akira Kurosawa

1948

Cast by Kurosawa in "The Drunken Angel"; played a gangster suffering with tuberculosis

1950

Starred in Kurosawa's "Rashomon"

1954

Played Kikuchiyo in "The Seven Samaurai"

1957

Starred in "Throne of Blood", Kurosawa's version of Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

1961

Returned to samaurai roles in "Yojimbo"

1963

Formed Mifune Productions

1963

Made feature directorial debut, "The Legacy of the 500,000"

1965

Made last film with Kurosawa, "Red Beard"

1968

Teamed with Lee Marvin in "Hell in the Pacific", directed by John Boorman

1979

Played the submarine commander in Steven Spielberg's "1941"

1980

Starred as the warlord Toranaga in the NBC miniseries "Shogun"

1995

Final film role in "Deep River"

Photo Collections

The Seven Samurai - Movie Poster
Here is the original Japanese-release movie poster for The Seven Samurai (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Rashomon - Movie Poster
Here is the original Japanese-release movie poster for Rashomon (1950), directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Videos

Movie Clip

Red Beard (1966) - He's The Dictator Here In early 19th century Japan, skeptical young doctor Yasumoto (Yuzo Kayama) is introduced to the clinic and the head man (Toshiro Mifune, title character), early in Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard, 1966, from a novel by Shugoro Yamamoto.
Stray Dog (1949) - Just Give Me A Hint The frustration and exhaustion of detective Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) is paplaable, as he pursues the notorious woman pickpocket Ogin (Teruko Kishi) through the sweaty streets of Tokyo seeking his stolen pistol, in Akira Kurosawa's Stray Dog, 1949.
Drunken Angel (1948) - Don't Think Like A Slave! First domestic scene for Takashi Shimura as the title character, inebriate Tokyo doctor Sanada, arguing with granny (Choko Iida) and scolding his assistant and friend Miyo (Chieko Nakakita) for her fear of a gangster due to be released from prison, in Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel, 1948.
Drunken Angel (1948) - There's Nothing Left To Drink Doctor Sanada (Takashi Shimura, title character) has contrived an excuse to visit his new patient, gangster Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) at his night club, aiming to scold him for failing to show him a damning x-ray, in grungy post-WWII Tokyo, in Kurosawa’s landmark Drunken Angel,1948.
Drunken Angel (1948) - You Already Look Like A Ghost Staggering home in the Tokyo slums after a bad night, consumptive gangster Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune, in his first picture for director Akira Kurosawa) tangles with snarky sometime-girlfriend Nanae (Michiyo Kogure), then meets dreaded crime boss Okada (Reizaburo Namamoto), just released from prison, in Drunken Angel, 1948.
Sanjuro (1962) - Attack Me! Toshiro Mifune (title character) is pretending he's defected and joined evil Muroto (Tatsuya Nakadai), when his pals led by Iori (Yuzo Kayama), not in on the scheme, stage a raid, in Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro, 1962.
Sanjuro (1962) - Killing People Is A Bad Habit Having just rescued the chamberlain's daughter (Reiko Dan) and her mother (Takako Irie), Toshiro Mifune (title character), Iori (Yuzo Kayama) and their gang decide to flee, in Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro, 1962.
Yojimbo (1961) - Chickening Out The Samurai Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) makes a strategic switch of sides, as the first confrontation between warring clans takes shape, in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, 1961.
Yojimbo (1961) - There's No Cure For Fools The Samurai (Toshiro Mifune) demonstrates his value by slaughtering three ruffians and placing an order with the coffin-maker (Atsushi Watanabe), early in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, 1961.
Drunken Angel (1948) - You're A Leech Following up on their violent meeting the night before, inebriate doctor Sanada (Takashi Shimura) pursues gangster Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) to his lair in the slums, early in Akira Kurosawa's Drunken Angel, 1948.
Sanjuro (1962) - You Wanna Fight? From the opening scene, Toshiro Mifune (title character) shows the nine Samurai led by Iori (Yuzo Kayama) that their true enemy is the superintendent, whose henchman Muroto (Tatsuya Nakadai) appears with posse, in Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro, 1962.
Yojimbo (1961) - The Chance To Get Killed! The wandering Samruai (Toshiro Mifune) comes upon a son (Yosuke Natsuki) arguing with his father, before his memorable entry into the town, in Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, 1961.

Trailer

Promo

Companions

Takeshi Shiro
Wife
Married in 1950.

Bibliography

"Something Like an Autobiography"
Toshiro Mifune