With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, April 01, 2012

ACF 1407: Toshiro Mifune

Today marks the 92nd birthday of Toshiro Mifune, almost certainly Japan's most famous actor. He was born on April 1, 1920 in Tsingtao, China (now Qindao, Shandong, China), where his family had emigrated from northern Japan and where his father was a commercial photographer. Mifune himself served in the Aerial Photography unit of the Japanese army, and was repatriated to Japan in 1946.

He was accepted as a "new face" at Toho Productions in 1947. His IMDb entry lists 182 films and television roles, though of course he is most well-known for and will always be primarily associated with the numerous films he starred in that were directed by Akira Kurosawa. These ranged from Drunken Angel (1948), Mifune's third film, through Red Beard (1965).
Mifune died on December 24, 1997.

Here are images of Mifune in four Kurosawa films:

As Matsunaga in Drunken Angel / Yoidore tenshi (1948)

As Detective Murakami in Stray Dog / Nora inu (1949),
with Takeshi Shimura, left

As Tajomaru in Rashomon (1950), with Machiko Kyo

As Kikuchiyo in Seven Samurai / Shichinin no Samurai (1954)

Mifune also starred in Hiroshi Inagaki's trilogy about Musashi Miyamoto (1954-56).

He probably became most widely known in the U.S. for his role as Lord Yoshi Toranaga in the Shogun TV mini-series (1980).

So, here's a huge ACF "Thank you" to Toshiro Mifune on the anniversary of his birth, for both his astounding number of incredible performances and his overall contributions not just to Japanese but to world cinema.


  1. Anonymous8:29 AM

    I absolutely ADORE Toshiro Mifune.