February 9, 2017
Teruyo Nogami was Akira Kurosawa's trusty script supervisor for 43 years, from RASHOMON in 1950 through SEVEN SAMURAI, THE BAD SLEEP WELL, YOJIMBO and KAGEMUSHA to his last film, MADADAYO, in 1993. On September 29, 2014, I interviewed her for MIFUNE at the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum on the far outskirts of Tokyo. When I met her, I was intimidated. She's a no-nonsense person and a walking history of Japanese film. Then, back in Berkeley, I got to know her better, spending hundreds of hours with her voice and image in the editing room. I was completely won over by her smarts, warmth and candor. It's funny how that happens.
I recently re-read her autobiography, WAITING FOR THE WEATHER, and was anxious to ask her about her relationships with the great silent film director Mansaku Itami (His films remind me of silent-era Ernst Lubitsch) and his son, Yuzo Itami (the director of TAMPOPO), whom she used to babysit. We met and chatted at the Mifune Productions office in Setagaya-ku (thanks to Akemi and Rikiya) and she was as sharp and feisty as ever. When we parted she said, "Keep going! But be careful not to slip in the shower!" Good advice.