Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Toshiro Mifune

Today would have been the great Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune's 88th birthday and to celebrate here are 5 facts you may or may not have known about the man.


1. In the Japanese animated series "Mahha gô gô gô" (known in the U. S. as Speed Racer), the hero was named Go Mifune; the name was chosen in tribute to Toshiro Mifune.

2. Even though Mifune worked hard to learn his English-speaking roles phonetically, his voice was always dubbed in the American films in which he appeared. This was one of the things that disappointed him up until the day he died.

3. Reportedly watched films of lions in the wild for inspiration for his character in The Seven Samurai.

4. Was considered early on by George Lucas for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.

5. Personally trained the Asian extras who were hired to play the Japanese submarine crew in the movie 1941. He was reportedly very annoyed that they were not real sailors and had no real training, so he used his own military background to teach them how to act like sailors in the film.

14 comments:

Patricia said...

Happy Birthday, Toshiro!

Two more little known facts:

1) I once named a Leopard Gecko after Mr. Mifune (RIP Lil' Toshiro)

2) Toshiro Mifune is objectively, scientifically proven to be the most intense actor to ever grace the screen. For real, there's like charts and stuff.

Dean Wormer said...

I like no5.

Great actor.

pidomon said...

I knew none of those facts. Thanks for sharing!

M.Yu said...

The most gifted and diverse actor I have ever seen...and heard. I still sometimes turn off the subtitles in his movies just to here him speak Japanese without distraction. Just his face and body language express more than most actors today. His career is unequaled.

Yojimbo, Stray Dog and Rashomon some of my favs.
The last has great Shibari rope bondage and tons of bamboo.

Thaks for the reminder, it has been awhile since ihave seen him

Tim said...

I know him best from Shogun, as my dad and brother were really into that miniseries when I was growing up. Excellent actor. Also, I don't know where you found that picture of him, but it's a great one!

Swinebread said...

Toshiro Mifune became an actor by chance. He thought he was in the line to interview for the camera crew but he got in the actor's line by mistake... the rest is film history!

Arkonbey said...

Ok. I am a Mifune fan, but how many of those there facts have some relationship to the date they were posted?

Becca said...

Patricia-
Excellent name for a Gecko! And ah science is there nothing it can't do!

Dean-
That was my favorite too!

Pidomon-
Glad to share!!!

m.yu-
He really is intense and amazing to watch.

I remember the day I found out he had passed away I happened to be watching a broadcast of the Japanese new (though I spoke VERY little Japanese even less now) and they did a story about how he had passed away. I was so sad and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that I saw nothing in the US about his death for weeks.

In any case we always have his movies to remember him by and that's pretty darn cool.

Tim-
Isn't that a great picture! It's from his days as a pilot in the imperial Japanese airforce from WWII.

Swinebread-
I have never heard that story! That's great!

Arkonbey-
None. I'm really not a big fan of April Fool's Day so I choose not to participate. As far as I am aware these are all 100% factual.

thombeau said...

He was awesome.

By the way, Becca, check this out. I think you'll find it interesting...

Dr. Zaius said...

It's good thing that Mifune trained the Asian extras that were hired to play the Japanese submarine crew in the film, "1941". That way they could be up to snuff with the fine caliber of the production values of the rest of the film.

Mayren said...

What a gorgeous picture you found!
love da post babes.

Becca said...

Thombeau-
The awesomest! And thank you for the award! Your blog rocks making this a big honor!

Dr. Zaius-
Gosh 1941 was a BAD movie. And with that cast! What a tragedy!

Mayren-
Yes that is a great picture! I'd never seen it til recently.

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