by Chris MaGee
The hundredth anniversary of the birth of Akira Kurosawa is almost upon us. On and around March 23rd various events and releases will be taking place to commemorate one of the great filmmakers in Japanese (or world) film history. It's terrible timing, but a disturbing series of events have recently taken place that threaten to taint what should have been a joyous celebration of the master filmmaker's work.
According to the Daily Yomiuri (via Akira Kurosawa.info) ¥380 million (approximately $4.25 million USD) of the assets of the Akira Kurosawa Foundation have gone missing. The Foundation, founded in 1998 and headed up by Kurosawa's 65-year-old son Hisao Kurosawa is dedicated to making "contributions in the field of film art and other various contemporary cultures". Recently a state of the art facility to house the Foundation was being constructed in Imari City, Saga Prefecture, but this present situation puts that construction into serious doubt.
Hisao Kurosawa attended Tokyo's Seijo University before dropping out to become a singing star, disk jockey, quiz show host, and eventually a producer on his father's late career films like "Ran", "Dreams", and "Madadayo". In 2001 a scandal occurred in which Hisao spent ¥100 million without the approval of the Foundations Board of Directors. With this additional ¥380 million short fall it is believed that the Foundation is facing bankruptcy. An investigation is currently taking place, and if Hisao is implicated it will remains to be seen if criminal charges will be laid.
As we said before, very, very sad news. We'll keep on this story as additional details come to light.