This first effort by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa was originally released as Sanshiro Sugata . The film, made under reasonably smooth conditions despite the war, is based on a best-selling novel about the creation of Judo. Most of the film explores the relationship between the creator of this form of self-defense and his faithful protege. In addition to establishing the reputation of Kurosawa, the film made a popular star of Susumu Fujita. Sanshiro Sugata was remade by Shigeo Tanaka in 1955 and again by Seiichuro Uchikawa ten years later.