The Most Beautiful

The Most Beautiful (一番美しく, Ichiban utsukushiku) is a 1944 Japanese drama and propaganda film written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film is set in an optics factory during the Second World War when the film was produced.

The Most Beautiful
Ichiban utsukushiku poster.jpg
Directed byAkira Kurosawa
Produced byMotohiko Ito
Jin Usami
Written byAkira Kurosawa
StarringYōko Yaguchi
Ichiro Sugai
Takashi Shimura
Takako Irie
Music bySeiichi Suzuki
CinematographyJōji Ohara
Distributed byToho Company
Release date
  • April 13, 1944 (1944-04-13)
Running time
85 minutes


The film depicts the struggle for the workers at a lens factory to meet production targets during World War II. They continually drive themselves, both singly and as a group, to exceed the targets set for them by the factory directors.

Critical receptionEdit

Paul Anderer of Columbia University has commented on the subtext of the film having been released during the war years for Japan. Anderer offers the opinion that; "It is as if Kurosawa himself were in this lineup (of directors under state scrutiny), frozen inside wartime, when any significant movement or resistance to the authority would be stillborn. Surrounded by a censorship apparatus far more resourceful and intimidating, he would later claim, than anything the American Occupation threw his way, he had few thematic or tonal options: historical tributes to Japanese spiritual and martial values (like Sanshiro Sugata and its weaker sequel), or patriotic odes to factor production and sacrificial domesticity (e.g., The Most Beautiful, 1944)".[1]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Anderer, Paul (2016). Kurosawa's Rashomon. Pegasus Books.