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Akira Kurosawa Movie Corner
Friends and Fans (From Elena in Russia)
Fujiwara Fan Page includes a boxing match with Robert
Questions to Shiro Mifune
Toshiro Mifune's acting school
Shiro Mifune / Mifune Productions

Here are some other worlds that you might like to visit.  Click on one for the menu.
          WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT-- Popular Royalty free plays, list of award winning videos, etc.
          WORLD OF WRITTEN WORDS-- Robert's publications, the secrets of vending hot-dogs and getting rid of flies, etc.
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Dedicated to Toshiro Mifune
More than a great actor, a great man!

Mifune Geijutsu Gakuin
Go to Mifune's acting school, 
"Mifune Geijutsu Gakuin"
Mifune and Red-Baer1
Red-Baer and Toshiro Mifune after the opening ceremony of his new theatrical school "Mifune Geijutsu Gakuin."  A very happy moment for him-- and Red-Baer, too.
Link to Mifune Acting school in Student Times
Go to article about Robert at "Mifune Geijutsu Gakuin."

Toshiro Mifune passed away on Christmas eve 1997 after a long stay in the hospital.  In the early 1980's, He opened an acting school in Tokyo and I was asked to teach English and Acting at the school.  I wound up working there for 3 years, when it unfortunately folded-- long story, but bad management was a big part of it.  Mr. Mifune was a very busy man back then, so I didn't see much of him.  But when he was around, he would always come up and greet me as "Baer Sensei."  One Sunday, along with a bunch of other families,  I was on some NHK TV show on how to make home videos.  The next day Toshiro Mifune and I happened to bump into each other in the hallway of the school.  The first thing he said to me like I was a TV star was, "Baer Sensei, I saw you on TV yesterday!"

Until I worked for him, I always thought he could speak English.  He always spoke Japanese to me, so one day I asked him to speak English, and he told me (in Japanese) that he couldn't speak English.  He said that he memorized his English lines by the sounds of the words.

Toshiro Mifune-- if there is some way you can hear me, I want you to know that you were a great boss and you have my utmost respect.

Robert Red-Baer

Click for a short pesonal biograghy of Toshiro Mifune
Click for important links to Toshiro Mifune

mgg open set
Red-Baer and Toshiro Mifune on the same occasion as the top picture Shooting on Mifune Productions' open set. Acting students got to be extras in "Samurai" movies.
Dance class at acting school Red-Baer and Mifune 3
Dance class at Mifune Geijutsu Gakuin (Acting school).  Komatsu Sensei is instructing. Red-Baer and Toshiro Mifune talking at a New Year's party.
Robert at Mifune Geijitsu Gakuin
Shiro Mifune
Red-Baer during lesson at "Mifune Geijutsu Gakuin." Click here to go to the acting school. Shiro MIfune in Kurosawa's 31st film.  Click here for the story of meeting him.

Contributed by Georgie-San

Mifune, Tokuzo was raised in northern Japan.  Following in the family tradition, he was a physician schooled in Natural Medicine.  His Father sent him to Tokyo to study medicine.  He never completed medical school.  Instead he & his wife Sen immigrated to Tsing Tao, now Qingdao in the Shandong providence of China, where he opened a photographic studio.

On Thursday, 1 April, 1920, their first child, Toshiro was born.  When he was 4 years old, the family moved to Manchuria.  They were Christians of the Methodist sect.  It has been reported that they were missionaries also, who ministered to the Japanese Christian population when they took up residence in Manchuria.

There Toshiro grew up in a foreign enclave with virtually no contact with the Chinese population, reared in traditional Japanese ways.  It is believed he possibly had 2 siblings.  (Since we who have THE LAST SAMURAI haven't had it translated yet, this about the siblings is a supposition from the photos seen in that book.)

Mifune, Toshiro was conscripted into military service in 1939.  He repatriated to Japan in 1946.

Mifune applied to & was accepted by TOHO Studios as an assistant cameraman.  The union was controlled by a Communist faction.  Being uncomfortable with this, Mifune resigned & put in an application for the "New Faces" contest.  This contest was generated because a large contingency of the leading actors & actresses had gone on strike & left to form their own company.  The contest was the impetus to replace them.

There were 4000 applicants.  16 men & 32 women were chosen.  Mifune was among the men, chosen as an alternate.  After 3 months of acting lessons with the director Tanaka, Eizo, these 48 were put in front of the cameras.

Yoshimine, Sachiko , her actual name,was one of the 32 women.  She was a member of the first class of new actors & made her acting debut in 1946 at the age of 18.  She was 8 years younger than Mifune & was from a well established Tokyo family.

When Mifune asked for her hand, her family had strong objections.  These could have been because being of a religion other than Buddhistputs one in an outsiders place in Japanese Society.  Japanese from Manchuria were regarded as being sort of misfits of Japan.  Lastly, acting was a lowly & notoriously "iffy" profession.

Director Taniguchi, Senkichi, who loved Mifune, with Kurosawa, Akira persuaded the Yoshimines to give their blessings.  In February, 1950 they were married.

The first apartment the newlywed Mifunes had was so small, they would go to the home of the Shimura, Takashi's to bathe.

25 November, 1950, Mifune, Shiro was born.

Actors in the early years of the Japanese Golden Era of Movies had to provide their own wardrobe for modern day films, so the clothing Mifune wears is his own.

In 1951 RASHOMON won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 1955 SAMURAI I - THE LEGEND OF MIYAMOTO, MUSHASHI won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 1955, Mifune, Takeshi was born.

In 1961 for YOJIMBO, Mifune won as Best Actor in the Venice Film Festival

In 1965 for AKAHIGE - RED BEARD, Mifune won as Best Actor in the Venice Film Festival  He blew them away because he wore a black silk Kimono to the awards.

He is the only actor to have received this award twice.

In 1970, Mifune met Kitagawa (stage name), Mika during the filming of MACHIBUSE - AMBUSH:  INCIDENT AT BLOOD PASS.  She is 29 years younger than him.

In 1981, Mifune & Richard Chamberlain each won an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.

September, 1982, Mifune's daughter, Mika was born.

In a 1984 magazine survey, Mifune was chosen :    "The most Japanese Man among men. The One whose face expressed the Best of Japanese Pride, Power & Virility."

As to what caused his final, extended illness, here are 3 sources, each with a different cause.
Mifune was hospitalized in  1992 for overwork.
Mifune has been mostly confined to his home since suffering a heart attack in October, 1992.
Mifune suffered a stroke in 1992.

Sachiko returned & cared for Mifune after his illness began.

Mifune & Kurosawa did get together several times after the split, but their relationship never reconciled to the point where they were able to
work together again.  Kurosawa had a habit of saying nasty things about Mifune, which often sabotaged the efforts Mifune put forth to
re-establish a relationship beneficial to both.

"In 1993 they shyly made eye contact & hugged in tears at the funeral for their mutual friend, Hondo, Ishiro, mending a 28-year rift."
Japanese Economic Newswire, 7 September, 1999.

Sachiko contracted Pancreatic Cancer which took her life Friday, 15 September, 1995.  She was 67.  After her death, Mifune's mental &
physical health declined rapidly.

In 1995, in PICTURE BRIDE, Mifune's character corrects the sword grip & technique of 2 young boys named Toshiro & Akira.

Mifune died on Wednesday, 24 December, 1997.

According to Current Biography Yearbook, 1981:
Tall for a Japanese of his generation, Mifune, Toshiro is 5' 9" tall & weighs about 160 lbs.  He has dark hair, dark eyes & what one interviewer described as a 'forbiddingly handsome face' with fine features.  His hobbies include flying, horseback riding, fishing, hunting & yachting.  A retiring, rather introspective man, he lives quietly on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Mifune accrued 60 individual acting awards.

70 of Mifune's 134 films were honoured with Japanese &/or International awards.

Mifune was called "World-wide Mifune"

A nickname for Mifune was "Rick Rashid" which denotes a certain kind of actor with bravado, swagger & a bit of "taint"


(I borrowed many of these links and comments from the Sprout site.  I hope they don't mind and I would like to thank them)

The very informative SPROUT site
Guillaume Le Nistour has a truely fantastic site-- And it is in both French and English10/14/00
Art2U page has a filmography and a picture from Red Lion.
 Akira Kurosawa Database with lots of posters and pictures.
     Epic Images of Kurosawa has lots of pictures.
Toshiro Mifune Official Website
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