"For a long time I’d wanted to make a really interesting film. It finally turned into this picture. The story is so ideally interesting that it’s surprising no one else ever thought of it. The idea is about rivalry on both sides, and both sides are equally bad. We all know what that is like. Here we are, weakly caught in the middle, and it is impossible to choose between evils. Myself, I’ve always wanted to somehow or other stop these senseless battles of bad against bad, but we’re all more or less weak-I’ve never been able to. And that is why the hero of this picture is different from us. He is able to stand squarely in the middle, and stop the fight. And it is this-him-that I thought of first. That was the beginning of the film in my mind."
- director Akira Kurosawa discussing the origins of his film Yojimbo (1961).