INTRODUCTION
Just a month before his film won the Palme d’Or at the 1980 Cannes Interna-
tional Film Festival, Kurosawa Akira performed a historic snub at the glam-
orous Tokyo premiere of
Kagemusha.1
As film producer and media mogul
Kadokawa Haruki approached the legendary director to congratulate him,
Kurosawa coldly turned away and refused to speak with him, with the room
looking on in embarrassment and
shock.2
Yet presumably most of the onlook-
ers understood the reason for Kurosawa’s chill-inducing ­ rebuff. Against the
odds and seemingly out of nowhere, Kadokawa Haruki had transformed how
the film and media business in Japan operated, and he did so to tremendous
financial success. For the media industry, Kadokawa was the man who intro-
duced what he called media-­mix strategies and who crafted an entirely new
system of media production and consumption. For Kurosawa, the larger part
of established film criticism, and the old-­school film industry, Kadokawa had
begun the pro­ c ess of spectacularly demolishing the high art of cinema. Even
more than that, what he produced was not even “cinema” anymore; in fact,
it was difficult to determine exactly what it was, and what it was becoming.
Kurosawa’s deep resentment of Kadokawa Haruki was likely based on the
sense that something, some grotesque transformation, was encroaching upon
his beloved medium. And while we can assume that Kurosawa was most con-
cerned with the context of Japan, in most media-­permeated socie­ties ­ today
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