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-> "All you need is one look at Toshiro Mifune to know that he's fucking serious. He's coarse, he's gruff, he's confident, he doesn't take any fucking shit from anyone and he's got the sort of commanding presence that forces you to respect the fact that he could kick your ass fifteen ways from Thursday afternooon and not even break a sweat."
-->-- [[http://www.badassoftheweek.com/mifune.html Badass of the Week]]'s entry on Toshiro Mifune

Toshiro Mifune was a prolific Japanese actor best known for his numerous collaborations with Creator/AkiraKurosawa (e.g ''{{Rashomon}}'', ''SevenSamurai'', ''Film/ThroneOfBlood'', ''TheHiddenFortress'', ''Film/{{Yojimbo}}'', ''{{Sanjuro}}'' and every other movie Kurosawa made between 1948 and 1965 with the exception of ''Film/{{Ikiru}}'') as well as many other leading roles. Mifune was to JidaiGeki what Creator/ClintEastwood is to TheWestern -- if there was a BadAss {{Samurai}} character to be played in the 1950s or early 1960s, chances are he was on the short list for it. In particular, his gruff, calculating {{Ronin}} character from ''Yojimbo'' was to be the model for Eastwood's "[[Film/DollarsTrilogy Man with No Name]]" and numerous other [[AntiHero antiheroes]].

Mifune and Kurosawa had a falling out in the late 1960s after the filming of ''Film/RedBeard'',[[note]]Reportedly Kurosawa insisted on holding Mifune to a contract provision requiring him to grow a natural beard and prohibiting him from shaving it (in case he was needed for re-shoots) throughout the entire lengthy post-production process, effectively preventing Mifune from taking any other acting jobs for two whole years at the peak of his fame and nearly bankrupting him.[[/note]] and after that Mifune began popping up occasionally in Western film productions such as ''Grand Prix'' and ''[[EnemyMine Hell in the Pacific]]''. This eventually culminated in Mifune appearing in the American miniseries ''[[Literature/AsianSaga Shogun]]'' (as the resident MagnificentBastard, Toranaga), resulting in acclaim stateside but criticism in Japan due to the lack of historical accuracy. If GeorgeLucas would have had his way instead of being told by [[ExecutiveMeddling higher ups to hire a well-known (to Western audiences) actor for the role]] [[labelnote:*]]There are also claims that Fox was hesitant to use Mifune due to his English being difficult to understand, necessitating his lines to be dubbed; other claims say it was because he wasn't available.[[/labelnote]], Mifune would have [[WhatCouldHaveBeen played Obi-Wan Kenobi]] in ''[[ANewHope Star Wars]]''.[[labelnote:*]]The SoulSeries' Mitsurugi, an Expy of Mifune, ''was'' Kenobi. Or at least, his Japanese voice was.[[/labelnote]]

In between 1993 and 1997, Kurosawa and Mifune had a few meetings with one another at funerals and award ceremonies, most notably at the 1993 funeral of their mutual friend, ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' director Ishiro Honda. It seemed that their relationship had begun to repair itself. Rumor had it that they would collaborate once more, but Mifune died in 1997 and Kurosawa a year after him. It's said that Mifune actually succumbed to DeathByDespair: his health had been really bad after a stress-triggered heart attack, but his ex-wife Sachiko Yoshimine was helping him overcome it, and when she suddenly died of cancer his physical and mental state took a nosedive and he simply lost the will to live.

According to legend, Mifune's career was an accident. Toshiro Mifune needed work, and a friend told him that the studio was hiring maintenance men. When he got there, he stepped into the wrong line and wound up at auditions.

And it should be noted Mifune was a [[JapaneseChristian devout Methodist]]. RealMenLoveJesus, indeed.
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