Sanshiro Sugata

is a 1943 Japanese martial arts drama film and the directorial debut of the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa. First released in Japan on 25 March 1943 by Toho film studios, the film was eventually released in the United States on 28 April 1974. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Tsuneo Tomita, the son of prominent judoka Tsunejirō Tomita. It follows the story of Sanshiro, a talented though willful youth, who travels to the city in order to learn Jujutsu. However, upon his arrival he discovers a new form of self-defence: Judo. The main character is based on Saigō Shirō.


In 1883, Sanshiro is a talented though willful youth who wishes to become a jujutsu master by becoming a student at one of the city's martial arts schools. His first attempts to find a suitable instructor fail, until he finally finds an accomplished master, Shogoro Yano from the Shudokan Judo school, who he sees defending himself against a group of jujutsu bullies near a river. Initially, Sanshiro is physically capable, but he lacks any type of poise or reflection concerning his self-control and demeanor, even getting into merry fights at a village festival. His master believes him to be talented but lacking in discipline, describing teaching him judo as "like giving a knife to a madman". After being told about his lack of care about life, Sanshiro jumps into a lotus pond to prove his strength and loyalty. Clinging to a stake in the pond, he stays the whole day and night before he sees the opening of a lotus blossom that makes him find self-realization. Leaping out of the pond, he goes to Yano to ask for his forgiveness. He starts to appreciate that there is more to his life and to his art than simple muscle and brawl and soon becomes a leading student in his school.