Shinobu Hashimoto, Screenwriter on Kurosawa's 'The Seven Samurai' and 'Rashomon,' Dies at 100

Courtesy of Venice Film Festival
'The Seven Samurai' (1954)

Hashimoto wrote or co-wrote more than 70 screenplays.

Screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto, who wrote for some of the most iconic films in Japanese history, including The Seven Samurai and Rashomon from director Akira Kurosawa, has died. He was 100.

Hashimoto died Thursday at his home in Tokyo from pneumonia, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Hashimoto wrote or co-wrote more than 70 screenplays, including many of Kurosawa's classics, also including The Hidden Fortress (1958). He directed three films as well, including I Want to Be a Shellfish (1959), and carried on as a screenwriter until suffering a stroke in his 90s.

The Seven Samurai told the tale of a village of peasants who enlist the help of a small group of wandering ronin (masterless samurai) to protect them from bandits who plan to rob them of their harvest. Also featuring samurai and bandits, Rashomon was based on a story by Ryƫnosuke Akutagawa and presents a murder incident from the perspective of four different characters. It was a surprise winner of the Golden Lion at the 1951 Venice Film Festival and played a major part in putting Japanese cinema on the map.

Born in Hyogo Prefecture in April 1918, Hashimoto came up with his first writing credit for the acclaimed Rashomon in 1950. He went on to work on Throne of Blood, Kurosawa's take on Macbeth, in 1957, and the following year on The Hidden Fortress, which George Lucas acknowledged was a major influence on the original Star Wars.

A large number of the films he wrote screenplays for were remade, most famously 1954's The Seven Samurai, which inspired The Magnificent Seven (1960), itself remade again by Hollywood in 2016.

In Japan, Harakiri, Japan's Longest Day and I Want to Be a Shellfish (twice) are among his screenplays that have been remade.