From Richie to Kurosawa to the Oscars

RIP Richie-san,

You have written much on Japan

Thank you very much

Maybe I should call him Sensei though as he was quite the authority.  Who am I talking about?  Donald Richie.  I read in the Japan Times today that Mr Richie, the prominent writer and critic on all things Japanese, has passed away at the age of 88.  RIP.

Meanwhile, one of the great Japanese screenwriters and directors, Akira Kurosawa, who Richie helped bring to the world`s attention in his work as a film reviewer, has been honoured post-humously by the Writers Guild in America for his contribution (along with his regular collaborators) to screenwriting.   I think he should get a post humous Oscar too  if he hasn`t got one already.    By the way, are there any Japanese entries in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year?  I do like the Oscars, mainly I must admit for the style because, as we have seen, the best films don`t always get rewarded and the whole show drags on a bit sometimes.  I think I prefer the Golden Globes, where everyone is sitting together around tables according to which film they`re involved with.  Even if the audience are outsiders looking in, it still feels cosier.

Back to Richie, as a commentator on Japan, who first went there with the McArthur gang at the end of the second world war, it was said he was not shy of criticising Japan`s less appealing aspects.  I haven`t read a whole load of his writings in any detail to be honest but I can imagine Japan`s wartime doings were included in these less appealing aspects.

Speaking of which, I`ve finished reading Mo Yan`s Red Sorghum (also known as Red Sorghum Clan).   Very good book.  As I mentioned in the last post, it has a fair amount of brutality, the worst of it by the Japanese as the common enemy.  The film based on that book was nominated for an Oscar back in the day, as well as winning the Golden Bear award at the Berlin film Festival, a very respectable award.  I`ve just looked it up to see who directed it – Zhang Yimou it was (who else??!!).   I think I might watch it if I can find it somewhere.

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