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Throne of Blood (1957) More at IMDbPro »Kumonosu-jô (original title)

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Hideo Oguni (screenplay) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Throne of Blood on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 November 1961 (USA) See more »
A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Another ambitious film from Akira Kurosawa. See more (111 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Toshirô Mifune ... Taketoki Washizu
Isuzu Yamada ... Lady Asaji Washizu

Takashi Shimura ... Noriyasu Odagura
Akira Kubo ... Yoshiteru Miki
Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Kunimaru Tsuzuki (as Yôichi Tachikawa)
Minoru Chiaki ... Yoshiaki Miki
Takamaru Sasaki ... Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Gen Shimizu
Kokuten Kôdô ... Military Commander
Kichijirô Ueda ... Washizu's workman
Eiko Miyoshi ... Old Woman at castle
Chieko Naniwa ... Old Ghost Woman
Nakajirô Tomita ... Second Military Commander
Yû Fujiki ... Washizu samurai
Sachio Sakai ... Washizu samurai
Shin Ôtomo ... Washizu samurai
Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Washizu samurai
Yoshio Inaba ... Third Military Commander
Takeo Oikawa ... Miki party member
Akira Tani ... Washizu soldier
Ikio Sawamura ... Washizu soldier
Yutaka Sada ... Washizu samurai
Seijirô Onda ... Second Miki party member
Shinpei Takagi ... Commander
Masao Masuda ... Commander
Mitsuo Asano
Shôbun Inoue ... Servant
Asao Koike
Takeshi Katô ... Guard killed by Washizu
Hitoshi Takagi ... Tsuzuki guard
Michiya Higuchi ... Tsuki guard
Senkichi Ômura ... Washizu samurai
Gorô Sakurai ... Servant
Shirô Tsuchiya ... Commander
Takeo Matsushita ... Commander
Jun Ôtomo ... Commander
Kamayuki Tsubono ... Servant
Fuminori Ôhashi ... Samurai
Isao Kimura ... Phantom samurai
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Phantom samurai
Nobuo Nakamura ... Phantom samurai

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
Writing credits
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay) &
Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay) &
Akira Kurosawa (screenplay)

William Shakespeare  play "Macbeth" (uncredited)

Produced by
Akira Kurosawa .... producer
Sôjirô Motoki .... producer
Original Music by
Masaru Satô 
Cinematography by
Asakazu Nakai 
Production Design by
Yoshirô Muraki 
Makeup Department
Masanori Kobayashi .... makeup artist (as M. Kobayashi)
Yoshiko Matsumoto .... hair stylist
Junjirô Yamada .... hair stylist
Production Management
Hiroshi Nezu .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Yoshimitsu Banno .... assistant director (as Yoshimitsu Sakano)
Hiromichi Horikawa .... chief assistant director
Mimachi Norase .... chief assistant director
Ken Sano .... assistant director
Shoya Shimizu .... assistant director
Yasuyoshi Tajitsu .... assistant director
Michio Yamamoto .... assistant director
Art Department
Kôhei Ezaki .... art supervisor
Kôichi Hamamura .... property master
Yoshifumi Honda .... assistant art director
Kaneko .... props
Sound Department
Ichirô Minawa .... sound effects editor
Masanao Uehara .... assistant sound
Fumio Yanoguchi .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Eiji Tsuburaya .... special effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Masao Fukuda .... still photographer
Shozo Hada .... assistant lighting technician
Kuichirô Kishida .... lighting director
Takao Saitô .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Taiki Mori .... costumer
Editorial Department
Chozo Obata .... negative cutter
Other crew
Fabrice Arduini .... french adaptation: original version with subtitles
Shigeru Endo .... horseback riding instructor
Ikemichi Hashimoto .... accountant
Ienori Kaneko .... horseback riding instructor
Teruyo Nogami .... script supervisor
Keiko Tsubai .... french adaptation: original version with subtitles
Pascal Vincent .... press attache: France (re-release: 2001 )
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
  • C.D.C.  Italian post-synchronized version made by
  • Fono Roma  post-synchronization: Italian dubbed version
  • Toho Studios  sound stages

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Kumonosu-jô" - Japan (original title)
See more »
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording) | Mono (Perspecta Sound encoding)
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:K-15 (new rating: 2001) | Finland:K-16 (original rating) | Germany:12 | Netherlands:12 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Africa:PG | Sweden:15 | Switzerland:14 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:12 (re-rating) (2001) | UK:PG (video rating) (1991) | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-MA (cable rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

'Throne of Blood' was shown in London as the inaugural film show of the National Film Theater.See more »
Anachronisms: When the witch runs in the forest she can briefly be seen wearing sneakers.See more »
Lady Asaji Washizu:I am... with child.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Millennium Actress (2001)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
32 out of 43 people found the following review useful.
Another ambitious film from Akira Kurosawa., 7 August 2001
Author: Michael DeZubiria ( from Luoyang, China

Throne of Blood is, in fact, ambitious as a film as well as in its meaning. It suggests that ambition, when based on whimsical motivation, can sometimes lead to the destruction of very close relationships, and even one's own ruination. Throne of Blood begins with a series of messengers bringing news to their daimyo about an invasion of North Castle by the Fujimaki, which is led by an enemy samurai named Inui. The invasion is broken and then bravely retaliated against by two armies which are led by two samurai, Washizu and Miki. As they are returning to the daimyo, they come across a ghostly spirit in the woods, who predicts leadership positions to be attained by each of them that very day. These predictions come true to the last detail, which sets off a destructive chain of events.

Miki becomes the leader of Fort One, as predicted, and Washizu becomes the leader of the North Castle, as predicted, but it is also predicted that Miki's son will rule North Castle after Washizu, which causes problems later in the film. Despite their good fortune, Miki and especially Washizu must keep their encounter with the fortune-telling spirit in the woods a secret because, if word gets out, Washizu is likely to become endangered because people will want him dead out of suspicion that he will try to kill Yoshiteru, Miki's son, to keep him from taking over Washizu's position. In an effort to prevent any of this, Washizu decides to name Yoshiteru as his heir, but Asaji, his wife, forbids this, saying that she is pregnant. It is Asaji who pressures Washizu into having Miki killed so that he can be the sole ruler of all of the provinces, but when this happens, the other castles turn against him and seek to avenge the leaders who have been killed under his orders. In the end, he is killed by his own army, which has lost all faith in him and has also turned against him.

There was a very interesting use of symbolism in Throne of Blood that is worth pointing out here. From literally the beginning to the end of the film, the setting is covered in thick fog. One scene that comes to mind that quite clearly communicates the meaning of this fog is early in the film, just after Washizu and Miki saw the spirit in the woods, and had their futures revealed to them. As they are riding out of the woods and back to the castle, they begin to cross large, flat plains that are covered in this stiflingly thick fog. There is literally a couple of minutes of footage of them riding their horses into the fog, then back toward the camera, then into the fog in another direction, and then back toward the camera, and so on. This fog seems to symbolize a natural inability to see ahead, or to see the future, as it were. This technique is especially effective this early in the film because much of the two men's decisions later in the film are founded on what the spirit told them, yet the fog symbolizes a type of foreshadowing that suggests that this premonition cannot be correct.

Throne of Blood is also structured in a very unique way. The film starts off showing a desolated castle, as well as its surroundings, in which there is a sizeable gravestone marking a burial site. While this is being shown, there is a song being sung by an unseen choir about a brave warrior who once ruled this now-deserted castle, but who was `murdered by ambition.' At the end of the film, we see this same montage, and the same song is heard, and this is where we learn that the gravestone marks Washizu's burial site.

Kurosawa used different camera techniques to communicate parts of the story or to emphasize it in various ways much more than he did in other films, like Ran, Kagemusha, and High and Low. One particularly noteworthy example occurred late in the film, as Washizu is standing over his army. Washizu stands on an elevated walkway, and his army is crowded on the ground below, looking up at him. There is a low angle shot from amidst the men, and while Washizu is small in the shot itself, he is high above the other men, looking down at them, and they are all looking up at him in unison. However, it would seem that, rather than use this shot to convey a sense of superiority or of dominance, Kurosawa probably meant to emphasize his position of power, because this is the scene in which his army turns against him and he is shot with dozens of their arrows. The low angle shot would contradict Washizu's descent into madness if it was meant to show superiority, but to emphasize his position of power at this point in the film, it makes his downfall much more dramatic.

This is usually not the case with Akira Kurosawa, but Throne of Blood reflects more of a formalistic style of direction. For example, his use of high and low angle shots, as well as the extensive symbolic use of the fog, suggest more formalism here than realism. Besides that, and probably more obviously, is the way that the strange spirit in the woods was presented. She was in a radiantly lit hut in the middle of the dark woods, and Washizu's encounter with several other spirits later in the film was presented among an extensive use of cutting and editing. The extensive use of very long takes and slow action seen in Ran and Kagemusha is definitely seen here, but not nearly as much. There are scenes in which these long takes are seen, but in addition to them there can be found many more short takes and highly edited sequences, which were largely absent from the previous films. But having done this with the same skill, Kurosawa has fashioned another samurai masterpiece.

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