Do you wonder where we get the inspiration for the names of our Minamoto eyewear models? As an authentic Japanese eyewear brand, Minamoto eyeglasses are steeped in rich Japanese cultural influences.

Epic Japanese films and Minamoto eyeglasses’ names

Does the name Akira Kurosawa mean anything to you? No? Then it’s time to change that. Because both of our Minamoto eyeglasses collections were influenced by films made by the eminent Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. With 30 films over a period of 57 years, he is considered one of the most influential film directors of all time.

Premium Japanese eyewear where East meets West

The first Minamoto glasses collection and the entire promotional campaign for its launch were influenced by the Kurosawa masterpiece The Seven Samurai. When we approached the creative process, we knew that we were looking for something special. This new eyeglasses’ concept had to be different. It had to distinguish itself from the usual ideas that we find in the eyewear industry. It was essential that a connection was formed with Japanese artisanry. And as Minamoto’s goal is to bring Japanese culture closer to us here in the West, the idea of “east meets west” should also be integrated. Ultimately, we ended up with The Seven Samurai as our inspiration.

A classic of Japanese and global filmmaking: The Seven Samurai

The Seven Samurai is probably the most famous Kurosawa film, and it is also the one that tells us most about the director’s character. Even though it often seemed as if it would not be possible to continue film production, primarily for cost reasons, Kurosawa never gave up. And he was right to trust his instincts because the Seven Samurai was an unmitigated success. This classic set a new standard in film history, and it was the first example of a movie from the action film genre. Furthermore, The Seven Samurai modernised Japanese cinema, influenced generations of filmmakers in the West and around the world and it became known as Kurosawa’s signature work.

Authentic Japanese glasses design echoes Japanese artisanry

This is where the connection with our Minamoto eyeglasses brand comes in. Kurosawa was an artisan. He mastered the art of film. And just as Minamoto wants to open up Japanese culture to us, Kurosawa shaped the Western film industry with his works – in particular with The Seven Samurai.

For this reason, each of the models in our first Minamoto collection was named after one of the seven samurai — all men. Our highlight from the Minamoto men’s eyeglasses line-up (MN31003) was given the name Akira as a tribute to the great filmmaker himself. And the names of the Minamoto women’s glasses were also inspired by The Seven Samurai and named after the great actresses who played in this epic.

Epic Kurosawa characters designate new Minamoto eyeglasses

For our second Minamoto eyewear collection, we decided to pay homage to other Kurosawa films and name the frame models after characters from these classics.

Sanjuro is one of those: this action movie tells the tale of nine brave young Samurai and how they take on corruption. Then there’s Red Beard, which takes the movie-goer to a hospital in the countryside where a young doctor in training grapples with the clinic director. We went back to action for more inspiration from the film The Hidden Fortress, a highly entertaining drama about two peasants and a princess on the run. Finally, there is Ran. This highly significant historical epic deals with a complicated dynastic power struggle. Ran shows us Kurosawa at the peak of his creativity and directorial powers and was a watershed in modern cinematography.

In the second Minamoto collection is a glasses frame called Yukihime (MN31016), named after Princess Yukihime, a true force of nature from the action movie The Hidden Fortress. Our designers looked to Yukihime’s strength and elegance when creating these glasses. Or there’s the men’s frame Sanjuro (MN31012), called after the hero from the classic of the same name.

Japanese glasses influenced by acclaimed Japanese filmmaking

To commemorate his life’s work, Akira Kurosawa was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1990. CNN, the American television network, crowned him Asian of the Century in the category Art, Literature and Culture. Today, great Hollywood directors from Spielberg to Scorsese look to Kurosawa and his epics for inspiration and call this eminent auteur their filmmaking role model and teacher.

Have we piqued your interest in our premium Japanese eyeglasses brand? On our Minamoto collection page, you can try on the complete range virtually. Our opticians are looking forward to your visit where they can present the Minamoto masterpieces in person.