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Posted on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:42 a.m.

U of M Kurosawa film festival finale: "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro"

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Do not miss the last two films in The University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies’ fall film series, Re-Viewing Kurosawa.

From the Center for Japanese Studies website: “In the 1950s, Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) led Japanese cinema onto the world stage, astonishing viewers with the emotional depth and the technical adroitness of his films. On the centennial of his birth, this series provides a once-in-a-generation chance to see Kurosawa’s classics again—including his incomparable early samurai films—in fresh, new 35mm prints.”

This Friday, Nov. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m., the 1961 “Yojimbo,” starring Toshiro Mifune, will be shown. The film is a dark comedy about a masterless samurai or ronin who is hired as a yojimbo or strong-arm man but who has a mind of his own. With his wit and with his sword, he clears the town of all gangsters, “including those with the temerity to hire him.”

Next Friday, Nov. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m., the 1962 “Sanjuro” will be shown. In this film, the same masterless samurai of “Yojimbo” returns in another comedy with swords to impose his brand of justice on a corrupt clan. In the process, he also teaches a group of young people what it really means to be a samurai.

Both films are in Japanese with English subtitles and will be shown at Askwith Auditorium, Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her website at, her blog at, and she can be reached at


Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

From a U of M Center for Japanese Studies email: Due to an issue in Askwith Auditorium, tonights screening of SANJURO will be held in the auditorium in the Natural Sciences Building (830 North University).

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 10:07 a.m.

"Reimagined, Captured, and Framed: History in Kurosawas Period Pieces. Professor Hitomi Tonomura, U of M History / Womens Studies, will be speaking today, Thursday, November 4, 2010, 12-1pm, School of Social Work Building, Room 1636.