Akira Kurosawa, the great film director, was 13 when the Great Kanto earthquake hit in 1923 destroying Yokohama, three fifths of Tokyo, and killing nearly 150,000 people. His older brother Heigo Kurosawa (16 at the time) took Akira to see the devastation. It was something Akira never forgot:
"My brother once forced me to spend a day wandering through Tokyo looking at the victims of the Great Kanto earthquake..." Kurosawa told an interviewer in 1993, 70 years after it struck. "Corpses piled on bridges, corpses blocking off a whole street at the intersection, corpses displaying every manner of death possible to human beings. When I involuntarily looked away, my brother scolded me, 'Akira, look carefully now.' When that night I asked my brother why he made me look at those terrible sights, he replied: 'If you shut your eyes to a frightening sight, you end up being frightened. If you look at everything straight on, there is nothing to be afraid of.' With my camera, like Dostoyevsky with his prose, I have tried to force the audience--which is often unwilling--to look carefully now."