Sanshiro Sugata


Action / Adventure / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright65%
IMDb Rating6.7105209

jujitsupartially lost film

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Takashi Shimura Photo
Takashi Shimura as Hansuke Murai, Sayo's father
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
726.93 MB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 19 min
P/S 4 / 18
1.32 GB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 19 min
P/S 10 / 27

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa19848 / 10

a kind of prototype for Kurosawa's future films, aside from being a fine debut

There's a great small scene about ten to fifteen minutes into Sanshiro Sugata where the young and inexperienced Sugata, who has just gotten into a turbulent street-fight, is told by a judo instructor- the one he wants to be his instructor- that he has no humanity, at least not to be fighting Judo, and that giving judo skills to one without humanity is "like giving a knife to a lunatic." Did Akira Kurosawa know that one of his paramount concerns as a filmmaker would be to tell stories where characters were faced with this problem, of either gaining appropriate humanity, or losing it, or having the difficult but rewarding task of embracing it for him/herself? Probably not exactly, at the least that his other end of the career spectrum- Madadayo- would be precisely concerned with this ideal, of a man having to deal with self worth, and the skills that one's been given in life properly and with humility (and, in essence, Kurosawa himself as a director). But it's of interesting note, at least in the scope of his first film, Sanshiro Sugata (Judo Saga),which contains many of the trademarks of a Kurosawa film, and at the same time the fiery passion, if only in big spurts, of a filmmaker right on the edge of a career for Toho studios.

There are little notes to take for Kurosawa fans, little things that will give many a grin and even a laugh at what pops up: the classic "wipes" as means of scene transitions; the usage of slow-motion during an action/fight sequence, in this case at the end of a fight as the opponent conks out and the flag (this part in slow-motion) falls to the ground; Takashi Shimura, who appeared in more Kurosawa films than Mifune, as one of Sugata's opponents, who's a tough cookie but a fair fight who at the end gives Sugata praise as a great fighter; symbolism in usage of the sky, flowers, and other Earthly means as a way to communicate the environment of a scene, and a specific nature about it, as much as the characters in it. All the same, this is not to say that Sanshiro Sugata is exactly a masterwork right off the bat for the 32 year old filmmaker; the use of certain symbols, like when Sugata is in the mucky pond trying to have his own form of penance and snaps out of it once seeing a flower right in front of his face, isn't really as effective as intended and comes off as more of a cliché than anything else. The subplot with Sugata and the daughter is undercooked as romance, even as brief as it is. And the fact that the film now stands as missing 17 minutes is a hindrance; one has to comment on what remains as opposed to what could have been a complete work from Kurosawa (not as detrimental as the Idiot, but still bothersome all the same as in the title-card transitions).

But as an act of passionate action film-making, it stands its ground some 60+ years later in containing some intense scenes involving Sugata's training (I liked seeing Sugata coming face to face with a man who wants to challenge his boss, and dressed in more Western garb than anyone else in the film),and more specifically the actual fight scenes. While its a given that Kurosawa is a pro at getting down stubborn men- and professional traditionalist men for that matter- getting down and dirty and violent, it's impressive in hindsight from the rest of his career that he could add tension just by tilting the camera up during the street-fight, or in staying on the faces of the fighters, and numerous reaction shots, during the fights in the arena area. The Shimura fight especially has an aura of being as thrilling as a modern fight sequence, with aforementioned humanity coming through with every pummel and thrust and toss-up of one character over another. This all leads up to the climax, which is not only a highlight of the film but a highlight in the history of classic Japanese action sequences, as we see Kurosawa already relying on the sky, the grass pushed and pulled by wind, and the compassion of the others around the two opponents (the old man and the girl) as a fight to the death, seen mostly out of sight through the grass, proceeds intensely more due to the intent and emotion of the characters than traditional stunts and fast-pace editing.

Sanshiro Sugata is a worthy production in the cinematic cannon of Kurosawa, acting as a very good stand-alone effort for genre fans while speaking to his practically intuitive cinematic strengths at controlling the pace of a scene and meaning via certain visual cues and enjoyable performances garnered by the pro actors. It does show some of its age, and along with the cuts made in the only version available today (in a print, by the way, that is rather horrid considering who the director is) it had to face some given restrictions due to Japan's censorship laws, but it's also a cunning display of a debut showcasing the talents of a confident director in a film that was meant to be seen by a mass audience, if only for diversion during the war.

Reviewed by benoit-310 / 10

How and why this film was censored

"Sugata Sanshirô" (1943) is a masterpiece that inspired countless sequels and imitations glorifying martial arts practitioners and their quest for inner and outer perfection. The 91-minute restored film we know today is still missing important scenes. Here is a short history of that censorship.

According to a very interesting online article by Walter Klinger, the film was submitted to two distinct forms of censorship. First of all, during production, from government censors urging Kurosawa to make a film glorifying Japanese warriors and their spirit of devotion to "chuukou", i.e. "loyalty and devotion" understood as an infallible principle requiring absolute loyalty to one's superiors and blind obedience to orders (a principle that made Kamikaze pilots possible). In the pond scene, Sanshirô's master urges him to follow "chuukou" and after his nighttime revelation, Sanshirô bows obediently to his master.

In the post-war period, all references to this principle were outlawed by the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces (SCAF - the occupying Americans) as an anti-social remnant of Japanese feudalism which was perceived as the root cause of Japan's stubborn refusal to surrender. Not only was the "chuukou" word excised from that scene in mid-sentence (and never put back in, even in the "restored" version) but all subsequent editions of the novel the film was based on, even in animé or manga form or in film remakes and sequels, were also excised for the same reason, which means that the hero was reduced to finding "satori" in other more universal Zen sources or nuanced feelings, such as the love of his beloved, the realization of his own selfishness or respect for his master.

As post-war young Japanese people weren't particularly fond of "chuukou" to begin with, especially as it concerned blind devotion to tradition and unconditional loyalty to one's parents (or employers),this was not seen as a major problem.

The SCAF, however, also outlawed scenes of feudal loyalty, cruel violence and the "undemocratic idea of revenge", "feudal" commodities for which the Japanese public never really lost its tremendous appetite, and which eventually became the main themes of Yakuza, samurai and martial arts films. Furthermore, martial arts, including judo, with their stigma of "warrior's ways" and "blind obeisance", were also banned from government-sponsored settings like schools and police departments, until 1950, at the very time when they were conquering the rest of the civilized world, including America.

Reviewed by luisguillermoc37 / 10

The first step to mastery

The modernization of Japan began with the Meiji era in 1867. Mutsuhito, who proclaimed himself Emperor Meiji (loyalty to the rule) to ascend the throne, began a series of significant changes included the abolition of privileges, granted the right to wear a name (hitherto exclusive to samurai and the nobility) and opened the voting for the election of governors, among other measures that began the decline of more than 250 years of feudalism, to make way for the Meiji democracy would go until 1912, and that would open the way for Japan to begin to become a society, certainly more balanced.

Sugata Sanshiro proudly carries his name. Man of the people, attending a school of Jiu Jitsu, a martial art which derive Judo, a risky way to debug the techniques, paradoxically, called "art of softness". But when he meets the skill of the master judoka Yano, Sanshiro decides to become his student and then faced the challenges that will give him a place in the new institute.

What follows then are the circumstances of life that prove the man to his ideals and give opportunity to specify the strength of their inclinations. For it is with chiselases which are polished gems and it is with fire that demonstrates the strength of the metal. But there are things that weigh in man, as love is born and who never wants to hurt, and then, when man is forced to the difficult choice between self- interest or what benefits the group.

I think, "Sugata Sanshiro", was a good start for the master Kurosawa. The film denotes human sense, defending the rules and the collective interest, as it should be, but also understands the meaning of love and compassion, and rejoices as they deserve. The director shows fairly distanced with the scenes of violence, and although I'm sure weighed and weighed now more than ever, this gives a clear account of its central goal was the feeling and no physical force. After all, is in being and not in the domination, as a man can know himself, and as the teacher Yano says:"The way is the search for truth that governs the nature of man, as this is what will give us a peaceful death."

It must have been that this first film was well received at the box office since, two years later, the third Akira Kurosawa film, continue the story with the title "Soku Sugata Sanshiro". There is only regrettable that so valuable a work, with moments of undeniable beauty plastic, and is committed to a positive outlook on life, Japan's clumsy censorship of the time (¿perhaps there will not be clumsy censorship?),has cut about 600 feet, which may never recover and leave the film in some way unfinished.

Against all, I think any fan of the great Japanese filmmaker, should be deprived of seeing this remarkable debut.

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