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12-27-2002, 01:34 PM
Hi All,

I was recently reviewing 2 of kurosawa's movies in color: "Kagemusha" and "Ran".

I was very surprised to see the clothing fashion of that period. It completely contradicts my humble information that Japanese lacked the means to produce colorful dyes for the clothing, and that it was appropriate for Samurai to wear dark or subdued colors. The only colorful fabrics available were imported Chinese silks which were very expensive.

Yet in the movies, we see such a colorful palette ranging from red to pink to yellow to green. The Japanese armies looked like dressed for a carnaval! I am sure that such a prestigious name in moviemaking as Kurosawa would not commit flagrant historical errors, so I would appreciate any enlighting information.


Jeff Tibbetts
12-27-2002, 08:01 PM
Ok, let's clear something upİ Kurosawa is an ARTISTİ If you have seen a few of his movies you will find that once he got into color films, he got into them ALOTİ Look at the blood on the walls in Ran, does it look anything like real blood to you? Look at the way it's splashed all over everything, do you think that really happens in real life? His movies are stunning because it's an amplification of life and death, and the Japanese have less of a sense of "historical accuracy" when it comes to film and suchİ What's important in Kurosawa's movies are the story, characters, and the visual richness and eleganceİ So, yes, in reality most Samurai did not dress so flagrantlyİ A couple things to remeber, also, are that the main characters in Ran and Kagemusha are Daimyo, and they are exactly the type of people who would import Chinese silks and pay for the expensive dyesİ The second major point with the colors, can you possibly conceive of a way to make the battles in those two movies understandable without doing what he did? All their armor is identical, you don't have a silver good guys and the black spikey armored bad guys like Lord of the Ringsİ There would be no way to tell one from another in those scenes, so he pretty-much had to do thatİ The STYLE of dress is accurate, the coloring is clearly pushed over the edge to make a pointİ You should watch his "Dreams" to see some cool coloringİ Any time he does something dreamlike or amazing he ramps up the colorsİ Also, from what I've read and heard, Japanese armies were given those back banners to tell each other apart, more than their coloring, as this was mostly concealed by their armor which was almost universally dark and undecoratedİ Anyway, a movie is a movie, and he himself said often that he was making exciting movies for the youth, and those scenes are stunning because of that coloring and atmosphereİ Sorry if it sounded like I was jumping on you, but I wouldn't want you to think that everything you read about the humble samurai was untrue, or that the master filmmaker might have made a historical mistake :¤ Great movies, though, eh?