Instead of using the real story of a detective who lost his pistol, Kurosawa searched for further possibilities of a detective cum social allegorical film. The director’s craft can be identified in his attempt to superimpose the story to the Japanese society which was facing the after-effects of the World War. Besides, choosing a detective as a protagonist instead of a policeman is a conscious attempt by the director to represent the mass, not the bureaucracy.
From an analytical perspective, the film portrays the physical and mental torture felt by the mass in a war-torn society. The protagonist represents the citizens who were forced to endure the after-effects of a deadly war. In the film, hot weather is symbolic of the enduring capacity of the public. Besides, an unending search of the protagonist to regain his pistol, i.e. his identity is symbolic of Japanese society’s attempt to survive the political, social and economic effects of the war. Noel Burch in the work ‘To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema’ states that Akira Kurosawa made use of the film Stray Dog as an innovative medium for social criticism through film version (Burch 294). The image of the dog in the beginning of the film is symbolic of any individual who is forced to face a nuclear/ non-nuclear war and it’s after effects.
Like other Kurosawa movies, the Stray Dog is closely related to Japanese history. For instance, in 1949, the same year of the film’s release is symbolic of the recovery of Japan from a nuclear war. Isolde Standish in the work ‘A new history of Japanese cinema: a century of narrative film’ opines that the film Stray Dog portrays the post world war condition in Japan by showing the transformation of an unemployed soldier to a thief and murderer (Standish 216).