Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This 1945 Japanese film by renowned director Akira Kurosawa, is a sequel to its better known predecessor, Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Both concern the relationship between Shogoro Yano (Denjiro Okochi), the founder of the martial arts discipline of Judo, and Sanshiro Sugata (Susumu Fujita), one of his principal students. Like many such relationships, this one is shown to be a blend of the spiritual and the intimately personal. As the film was made during World War II, it not surprisingly contains vignettes in which Europeans are made to appear extraordinarily piggish and vulgar. This film was re-released in a slightly shorter, re-edited and subtitled version in 1981 and was first seen in the U.S. at the Film Forum in New York City in 1989. It is of interest both as a tightly-crafted martial arts master-and-student film, and as an early example of Kurosawa's mature style.