ABSTRACT

Akira Kurosawa begins his partial autobiography by recalling a miraculous curative salve still peddled in prewar Japan by itinerant medicine men:

A toad with four legs in front and six behind would be placed in a box with mirrors lining the four walls. The toad, amazed at its appearance from every angle, would break into an oily sweat. This sweat would be collected and simmered for 3,721 days while being stirred with a willow branch. The result was the marvellous potion.