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Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa – Film Analysis Essay


The movie “Throne of Blood’ is directed by Akira Kurosawa and is considered by critics as a masterpiece. Although the movie is influenced by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Akira uses Japanese culture in enhancing the effects on viewers. In the beginning itself, the film depicts Washizu (Macbeth) and Miki (Banquo) fighting for their Lord, which is why the audience can immediately see a strong influence of Japanese culture in the movie.

The main characters in the film are the Samurais and this factor clearly identifies with Japanese culture. While the movie demonstrates deep-rooted imagery, the director has included dark and foggy ethical elements that are characteristic of Shakespeare’s plays. He has also transformed the same in making them more related with the cultural and social practices that prevailed in medieval Japan. This was perhaps done to highlight the clan rigidities that prevailed in the armored Scottish environment of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

In the film, Macbeth and Banquo are both depicted as Samurais who fight to maintain the honor of their Lord. The film clearly depicts the significance given to hierarchy in Japanese culture and it becomes evident that one could lose his/her life if he/she did not adhere to the prevailing systems of hierarchy. This is perhaps why all Japanese people learn from childhood that hierarchy is to be given maximum respect. It becomes apparent from the movie that whenever a Samurai approaches the Lord, he kneels down and bows his head and if he has to speak at such time, he cannot dare to make any eye contact with his superior.

All these actions are truly representative of the traditional Samurai culture that prevailed in medieval Japan. Another aspect of Japanese culture in the movie that is related with Shakespeare’s play becomes evident when Wachizu and Miki ride back to the castle. They encountered spirits, just as Macbeth and Banquoo had encountered the three witches in the play.

It is thus understood as to why Kurosawa chose to use spirits and not witches. It was because spirits played a strong role in Japanese culture. In the film, Lord Tszuki (King Duncan) honors Wachizu with a sword in token of his brave and heroic performance in battle. This again is a way of honoring a Japanese warrior in battle and it also symbolizes the Japanese way of honoring a Samurai.

The director has used attention grabbing settings in depicting sceneries that succinctly depict Japanese culture. For instance, the portrayal of Japanese farmers wearing the typical cone shaped hat gels very well in making viewers aware of the connection that Shakespeare’s plot had with Japanese culture. The home of the Japanese and the manner in which they sat, slept and ate is typical of relating with English ways of life as depicted in Macbeth.

In addition, elements of Japanese culture reverberate across the entire movie by way of visuals and graphics and sets and décor, which are all depicted with a unique symmetry typical of Japanese styles. The visual patterns in the film appear in a clear rhythm in showing rooms that are screen printed with conceptual designing that is integrated into the over-all structure and organization. This is all representative of typical Japanese classic designs. Above all, Kurosawa has made daring moves in having interpreted Macbeth by means of the conventional Japanese theater system, the elements of which are apparent in the film’s settings and visuals.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 1). Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa - Film Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/throne-of-blood-by-akira-kurosawa-film-analysis/

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"Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa - Film Analysis." IvyPanda, 1 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/throne-of-blood-by-akira-kurosawa-film-analysis/.

1. IvyPanda. "Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa - Film Analysis." May 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/throne-of-blood-by-akira-kurosawa-film-analysis/.


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IvyPanda. "Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa - Film Analysis." May 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/throne-of-blood-by-akira-kurosawa-film-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa - Film Analysis." May 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/throne-of-blood-by-akira-kurosawa-film-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa - Film Analysis'. 1 May.

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