Alum Steven Okazaki Recalls Japanese Movie Star Toshiro Mifune

Friday, December 09, 2016
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS -- Okazaki, an Oscar and Emmy-winner who studied film at San Francisco State University and began making documentaries in the mid-1970s, collected Mifune’s films over the years, watching them “repeatedly and ritualistically.” For his 80-minute documentary, Okazaki draws insightful interviews from many of Mifune’s Japanese collaborators, as well as American admirers such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. The latter recalls Mifune’s commanding presence in “Seven Samurai,” by saying it “felt like he had been created by the forces of seismic activity.” Ironically, a young Mifune, who was adept at karate, archery and swordsmanship, had no intention of becoming an actor. He wanted to work behind the scenes as a camera assistant, but there was no keeping him out of the spotlight. He would go on to make 170 films.