"My mother was a typical woman of the Meiji era, Japan’s age of swift modernization, during which women were still expected to make extreme sacrifices so that their fathers, husbands, brothers or sons could advance. Beyond that, she was the wife of a military man. (Years later when I read the historical novelist Shugoro Yamamoto’s An Account of the Duties of Japanese Women, I recognized my mother in these impossibly heroic creatures, and I was deeply moved.) In such a way as to escape my father’s notice, she would listen to all my complaints. Writing about her like this makes it sound as if I am trying to set her up as a model for some moral tale. But this is not the case. She simply had such a gentle soul that she did these things naturally…
"During the war there was a popular song called ‘Father, You Were Strong,’ but I want to say ‘Mother, You Were Strong.’ My mother’s strength lay particularly in her endurance. I remember an amazing example. It happened when she was deep-frying tempura in the kitchen one day. The oil in the pot caught fire. Before it could ignite anything else, she proceeded to pick up the pot with both hands—while her eyebrows and eyelashes were singed to crinkled wisps—walk calmly across the tatami-mat room, properly put on her clogs at the garden door and carry the flaming pot out to the center of the garden to set it down.
"Afterward the doctor arrived, used pincers to peel away the blackened skin and applied medication to her charred hands. I could hardly bear to watch. But my mother’s facial expression never betrayed the slightest tremor. Nearly a month passed before she was able to grasp something in her bandaged hands. Holding them in front of her chest, she never uttered a word about pain; she just sat quietly. No matter how I might try, I could never do the same."
— Akira Kurosawa on his mother, Shima Kurosawa.