TOKYO (AP) _ Japan's most famous film director, Akira Kurosawa, died at his home Sunday at the age of 88, Kyodo news agency reported.

Kurosawa's films included epics such as ``The Seven Samurai'' and ``Rashomon.'' His work inspired a generation of directors both at home in Japan and in the United States.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Kurosawa, known as ``The Emperor'' for his perfectionism and extravagance, was one of the few Japanese directors to find fame on international screens.

The Cannes Film Festival honored Kurosawa with a special trophy for achievement upon the debut of his 28th film, ``Ran,'' or ``Chaos,'' in 1985.

The epic, which Kurosawa called his ``life's work,'' was named best picture of the year by the National Society of Film Critics. With a price tag topping $10 million, ``Ran'' was the most expensive movie in Japanese film history.

``Take `myself,' subtract `movies,' and the remainder is `zero,' '' the director once wrote. His themes often asserted the value of the warrior spirit, humanist ideals and the urgency of self-sacrifice, even if futile.

Critics found his innovative style _ celebrated for its elaborate detail and sweeping camera movements _ influencing films from George Lucas' ``Star Wars'' to Brian DePalma's ''Scarface.''