"Yojimbo" means "bodyguard" in Japanese.
George Lucas, a known Kurosawa fan, filmed Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope under the false name 'Blue Harvest' to maintain secrecy and to make an inside reference to his favorite director, Akira Kurosawa and Dashiell Hammett 's novel.
Akira Kurosawa challenged his assistant directors to come up with an image for the film to let Sanjuro know he was entering a bad town. He shot down all of their ideas, since all of them had already been done. Kurosawa himself then came up with the idea of the dog carrying the human hand.
Akira Kurosawa told Toshirô Mifune that his character was like a wolf or a dog and told Tatsuya Nakadai that his character was like a snake. Inspired by this direction, Mifune came up with Sanjuro's trademark shoulder twitch, similar to the way a dog or wolf tries to get off fleas.
Tatsuya Nakadai, who plays the flamboyant, pistol-waving Unosuke here, also plays the main villain role in the Yojimbo sequel, Sanjuro.
Yojimbo is an uncredited film version of Dashiell Hammett's novel 'Red Harvest', which has yet to be filmed. Red Harvest is about a detective who comes to a small city and sets two sides of a gang war against one another until both gangs are almost completely wiped out. The scenes where Toshirô Mifune's character is held and beaten, however, was taken from Hammett's novel The Glass Key, which has been adapted for the screen twice.
In one scene, the samurai shows incredible skill at knife-throwing by impaling a blowing leaf against a wooden floor. This was accomplished by running the shot backwards. In the frame before the knife hits the leaf, you can see a slit in the leaf the same size and at the exact point where the knife penetrates it a frame later.
Later remade as A Fistful of Dollars (American title 'A Fist Full of Dollars ' with Clint Eastwood and remade as Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis.
The massive amount of dust seen in the film being blown about the wind was actually imported by the truckload from an abandoned firing range. When the wind-machines started, it was nearly impossible for the actors to keep their eyes open because they were being engulfed in the dust. When Tatsuya Nakadai 's death scene, shot over the course of three days, with the combination of the fake blood and the blowing dust, made him break out in hives that lasted for weeks after filming.