|Donald Richie (left) on set with Akira Kurosawa|
The Japan Journals is not one of Richie's film books per se but there are enough luminaries of post-war Japanese Cinema scattered among the pages to make it required reading for film fans. Kurosawa figures prominently throughout as does Oshima, and there are enjoyable cameo appearances by the likes of Toshiro Mifune, Shintaro Katsu (of Zatoichi fame), Koji Wakamatsu (director of Violated Angels) and Takeski Kitano, plus visting American film makers like Francis Ford Coppola, later joined by Paul Schrader, both of whom were seeking Richie's help putting together Schrader's 1985 film Mishima. The book contains a wealth of wonderful anecdotes, which are best left for the reader to discover himself but among my favourites is a journal entry from 1981 with Richie attending a special screening of Fellini's City of Women arranged for Kurosawa. The film was shown without Japanese subtitles and afterwards Richie asked Kurosawa why he wanted to see the film. Kurosawa replied "I'm going to Sorrento to pick up the Donatello prize and Fellini is supposed to give it to me. Then we have to talk about something. I though I should see his new picture".
The Japan Journals is available through Amazon US/UK on paperback and kindle.