Christopher Campbell posted his interview with Steve Okazaki, director of Mifune: The Last Samurai, for FILMSCHOOLREJECTS. When asked about getting Keanu to narrate the film, he said the following:
Keanu, in retrospect, I think was sort of a bold choice in a way, because people think of a narrator as a much more commanding voice. But I liked the idea. He reminded me of Mifune in a way, more humble and not Mr. Big Hollywood Movie Star. One of the producers had worked as an interpreter for Keanu and could call him up. And he also knew and felt Keanu could handle the Japanese pronunciations well. Any great actor could do that, but we might not have the time to get the pronunciations right with [another] big name actor, and we hoped Keanu could do it, and he did a great job.