Rashōmon (羅生門), one of 黒澤明 /Kurosawa Akira’s exceptional movies, is based on 芥川龍之介 /Akutagawa Ryūnosuke’s short story “In the Grove” (藪の中). I first watched it in a film studies course where we analyzed the use of lighting, camera angles, music, and structure of the film to understand how they underscore the themes of equality, truth, and hope in post-war Japan. A few years later, I encountered the film in a leadership course. Seen from a leadership perspective, the movie takes on a new meaning. The dynamics of the film were no longer ideas to be analyzed and entertained for the sake of discussion; they had visible consequences for an individual and an organization. Rashōmon challenges leaders to handle the complex nature of truth and the truth about human nature not within the confines of a film, but in the unpredictable course of life.
The Lion King is one of the most successful musicals in recent history. As of 2015, 80 million people have seen the musical throughout 6 continents. It continues to run on Broadway, West End, Hamburg, and Tokyo and shows no sign of stopping. The “Circle of Life” lives on as each generation experiences the artistry and coming-of-age story.
No doubt that the magic of puppetry contributes to the ongoing success of The Lion King. According to Julie Taymor, the musical’s director and costume designer, Ningyou joururi （人形浄瑠璃）or Bunraku （文楽）, Japanese puppet theater, served as an inspiration for the puppets’ designs. Puppets are fascinating pieces of art. We (humans) know that they are inanimate objects and have no life, but when a person moves them, they begin to reflect human behavior, expressions, and speech. They are given a breath of life. Continue reading “Bunraku and Lion King; Puppetry and Reality”
One of the more recent realizations that I had about leadership was the responsibility of leaders to raise everyone’s level of consciousness. It is another way of saying that leaders will open up competing views of reality and ‘truth’ and ideally equip the team to make the most informed decision about certain issues. With heightened consciousness comes the realization that there are choices and each one carries consequences. To what extent this consciousness is raised depends on the leader’s own level of awareness and capability to ‘wake’ people up. Leaders have to be lifelong learners and continually build their understanding about the DNA of ultimate reality in order to select which lessons to emphasize and pass on to the team. Continue reading “Leaders, Heightened Consciousness, and Heavy Choices”