Akira Kurosawa is an iconic filmmaker who is considered by many to be one of the greatest directors of all time.

His films, such as Rashomon and Seven Samurai, have inspired countless other directors and been featured in countless film classes.

Movie Color Paletteakira kurosawa

Who Is akira kurosawa?

Akira Kurosawa is one of the most important and influential filmmakers of all time. He helped to establish the Japanese film industry and has directed 30 films over a 45-year career.

His films have influenced generations of directors, including George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron.

Tens of millions of people around the world have seen his movies, including Seven Samurai and Rashomon, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1951.

Kurosawa is frequently cited as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in cinematic history.



Who Is Akira Kurosawa?

Akira Kurosawa helped to establish the Japanese film industry and has directed 30 films over a 45 year career.

His films have influenced generations of directors, including George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron.

Kurosawa was born in Tokyo on March 23, 1910. He grew up in a literate middle class family, his father was a former army officer who became a teacher of a local school.

Akira Kurosawa’s mother wanted him to be a doctor, but he was attracted to writing and painting. The couple encouraged his artistic interests, hoping that he would become a writer or painter. 

Kurosawa entered the film business in 1936 as an assistant director for Photo Chemical Laboratories (PCL). In 1937, he joined PCL’s successor company Toho Productions where he worked as an assistant director and scriptwriter till 1939. 

He made his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about judo that won the Kinema Jumpo critics award for best Japanese film of the year. 

In 1951, he directed Rashomon, which won many awards internationally, including Honorary Foreign Language Film Oscar at the Academy Awards and a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. 

Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams – Color, Design, And Emotion

Akira Kurosawa is one of my favorite directors, and dream sequences are a recurring theme in his movies. Dreams are an essential part of his stories, and as a result they often enter into the visual language of his films.

 It’s no wonder that he was inspired by dreams. He is said to have been an incredibly visual person, who had images in his head even when he wasn’t creating them in his films.


We will look at some examples from several of Kurosawa’s films where color, design, and emotion work together to create beautiful sequences that feel otherworldly and give insight into the characters’ inner worlds.

How To Create A Movie Color Palette Like Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa was a master of not only cinema but color. His films are renowned for their use of color and how it is used to convey mood and emotion.

Tonal contrasts were central to his film making and he often used color palettes to show change from one style or emotion to another. 

Through the use of contrasting colors, objects, and composition he often portrayed the central characters in conflict with their surrounding environment. However, he did not use color for the sake of using it; he used it as a tool to help develop his story and characters in a way that was most appropriate for them.

To make your own color palette similar to Kurosawa’s you need to first identify the story behind your movie or project. What emotions are you trying to convey and what is going on in the story? 

Once you have identified these things, start collecting images that relate to them from your reference library. It could be anything from pictures of actors/actresses to photographs or paintings that capture the essence of what you are trying to convey in your movie.

Then pull together a collection of images that relate to your story and its theme, and start grouping them together with similar colors.

Symbolic Use Of Color In Akira Kurosawa’s Films

Symbolism is the use of symbols to convey a meaning in a work of art. Symbolism is present to some degree in most artistic endeavors — from painting to sculpture to poetry — but nowhere is it more apparent than in film.

Color symbolism takes on a whole new dimension when used in film because movies are primarily visual experiences. The use of color symbolism can carry powerful emotional impact, and can be very effective in communicating with an audience. 

Kurosawa was keenly aware of the way color could enhance his films, and he masterfully employed it to add nuance and layers to his storytelling devices. 

We’re going to take a closer look at some examples of Kurosawa’s use of color symbolism; examine how he employs it. And gain insights into some pertinent themes found throughout his work.

Akira Kurosawa Associative Colors

Akira Kurosawa was a master at associative colors. He used red for blood, of course, but he also used it for fire and violence. Here are some examples from his films:

  • Rashomon (1950): the first murder takes place under a red gate, and the bandit’s house is a dark, ominous red. The bandit’s wife is naked in this scene, covered only by a red robe.
  • Red Beard (1965): The doctor’s room is painted bright red. It looks very festive, but it reminds us of blood. In this film, Kurosawa uses a lot of red to emphasize that the doctor likes to stick his hands into other people’s bodies.
  • The Hidden Fortress (1958): This movie opens with the scene of a battle in which soldiers on both sides have white banners over their heads. But the enemy army is shown attacking under red banners — red has been associated with the enemy from the beginning.
  • The Idiot (1951): The central character doesn’t know how to behave properly in society, so he wears a bright red blouse as part of his costume (he also wears white). His girlfriend dresses all in black and wears her hair in a bun — she looks stunning against his bright colors.

Akira Kurosawa Discordant Colors

Akira Kurosawa’s films are known to be quite dark and even in his later years he was still using the same colors for the majority of his films. While the colors are usually shades of grey with a hint of color, there are certain hues that are used in almost all of his films.

Color is a very important aspect to Akira Kurosawa’s movies and while he is not as well known in the western world as he is in Japan, there are several reasons to why he uses discordant colors in his film. 

The first reason is that it adds to the mood of his films. By having multiple colors on screen at one time it can change how viewers perceive the movie.

The second reason is that by having many colors on screen at one time it can help differentiate characters by their clothing or their hair color, which can be very useful when you have a lot of characters on screen at once.

The third reason why he uses discordant colors is that it helps transition from one scene to another, which makes everything flow better and helps keep the viewer interested throughout the movie.

What Is Akira Kurosawa Known For?

Kurosawa’s films are almost all adaptations from novels, plays, and short stories. The director was notorious for his perfectionist approach to filmmaking and his meticulous pre-production planning that would often take up to four years before the actual shooting began. 

According to him, a script was never really finished until it was filmed. Although many hailed his works as masterpieces, some found them too talky and lacking in action sequences. 

But it’s hard to find any flaws in his work as they are still being watched by lovers of cinema even today, half a century after their release.