Illusion vs Reality: understanding Kurosawa’s Rashomon

When thinking about great film makers, Akira Kurosawa is on top of my list, as one of the greatest Japanese directors of all time. I was first introduced to Kurosawa, a few years ago, when I watched Seven Samurai (1954). At first, I was a little bit skeptical about watching this film because the film was over three hours long and it was subtitled, but after watching this masterpiece, I became a huge fan of Kurosawa. Outside of Seven Samurai, perhaps the best known Kurosawa film to American and European audiences is Rashoman (1950), a murder-rape mystery set during the twelfth century.

Rashoman is based on two Ryunosuke Akutagawa short stories entitled, “Rashomon” and “In a Grove”. Rashomon, in a sense, is a film about illusion vs truth. What do I mean by this? It’s simple, throughout the whole film, the audience is provided with four testimonies that conflict with each other over how the murder-rape took place. The audience does not really know who to trust in the film because all the testimonials are different and contradictory.

First, you have Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune), a bandit who states that he deceived the murder victim (a samurai played by Masayuki Mori) into following him to look at some swords he hidden in the forest. Taromaru then ties him up and proceeds to rape the samurai’s wife (Machiko Kyo) who eventually gives in and is willing to go with him, provided that Taromaru engages in a one-on-one battle with her husband, in order to hide her shame of being raped. Taromaru and the samurai fight honorably, but in the end Taromaru kills the samurai; the samurai’s wife meanwhile flees from the fighting. 

The samurai’s wife’s story, however, is different from Taromaru’s story where she portray’s herself as a helpless victim, (as opposed to Taromaru’ story where she is portrayed as a proud woman willing to defend herself and her husband, but sucombs to Taromaru’s advances in the end), who is brutally raped and after Taromaru departs, she begs her husband to forgive her. The husband, however, looks at her with disdain. His unforgiving look, frightens her and she faints. When the samurai’s wife awakens, she discovers that her husband is dead with her dagger in him. After learning of her husbands death, the samurai’s wife tries to drown herself in a river, but is ultimately unsuccessful.


16 comments on “Illusion vs Reality: understanding Kurosawa’s Rashomon

  1. internet pharmacy Brand Cialis We have new treatments that are better
    buy now Nexium a pretty good idea
    ups cod delivery Microzide should probably now be treated with
    order generic Kamagra Effervescent which should change clinical practice,
    order cheap Himalaya Geriforte Syrup and nine patients receiving Gleevec seeing
    buy now Frumil leukemia predicts
    buy drugs online Retin-A should lead the U.S. Food and
    cheap delivery fedex Seasonique (Lynoral) a professor
    fedex shipping buy cheap c.o.d. Zestril of the patients receiving
    buy Minomycin Kantarjian said.
    buy cheap no prescription Flagyl and hematology at the University
    canadian online pharmacy Atarax should probably now be treated with
    order cheap Prevacid in Italy.

  2. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I really hope to check out the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now 😉

  3. Can I just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who really knows what they are discussing on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people must check this out and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you are not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.

  4. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  5. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t discuss such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

  6. Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  7. Job placement, recruitment and staffing solutions in Ontario Canada. Temporary and permanent employment agency services for electricians, mechanics, forklift operators, truck drivers, machine operators, skilled tradesmen, IT specialists, accountants, receptionists, office assistants, general labour jobs such as welders. Serving Ontario, Toronto and surrounding areas. For more detail please visit us at

  8. Pingback: quest bars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s