What is “Roshomonics”?

It’s come to my attention that some readers didn’t realize whence the term “Roshomonics” was derived or exactly what it was supposed to mean.

*Roshomon* is a very famous 1951 film by the even more famous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (whose other works include *The Seven Samurai*, *Throne of Blood*, *Ran*, and many more).

*Roshomon* is about the subjectivity of truth, hence the term “Roshomonics” — my coinage — to describe the individual’s mental process of restructuring his perception of outer reality to comport with his perception of self in order to alleviate anxiety.

We all do it, to one extent or another.

5 Responses to “What is “Roshomonics”?”

  1. Harvey Jerkwater Says:

    Ooooh…that’s good. I’m gonna have to use that.

  2. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    I had actually already forwarded the word to Prof. John Algeo, a collector of neologisms (I introduced him to the term, “retcon”, as well), after determining that you, indeed, did create it.

  3. Brian Christgau Says:

    Classic movie (pick up the Criterion DVD if you haven’t yet), but most people are probably more familiar with the episode of “All in the Family” it inspired. In it, the cast is sitting in a restaurant discussing an incident between Archie and a black refrigerator repairman, each of their accounts telling you less about what actually happened and more about each of their individual worldviews. That is until Edith chimes in with her version, which we can reasonably believe to be the truth (the one major difference between the episode and “Rashomon”, which suggests that “The Truth” is entirely subjective).

  4. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Most who view Roshomon, however, leave believing they have a pretty good idea of what actually happened.

    The plot of Roshomon is often done on sitcoms, usually as a mechanism to show the differing personalities of the main characters. A key to most of these, as well as the movie, is that it is clear that the people describing the action are telling what they actually believe to be the truth.

    To me, the biggest surprise in Roshomon (not a spoiler) is the use of the medium to get the tetimony of the murder victim, who was just as subjective in death as he probably was in life.

  5. Scott Hutchins Says:

    It’s _Rashômon_, not, “Roshomon”. It was originally a story by Ryonosuke Akutagawa. Kurosawa took the story, broke it in half, heavily altered it, and the bulk of the film is based on another Akutakagawa story, “In a Grove.”