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Jolie's film 'Unbroken' finally set for Japan release

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Remember Hollywood had written off "Pearl Harbor" in Japan, one of the world's largest movie markets. Yet, it was a big hit here because of the romantic plot. Unbroken also stars Miyavi, who will attract lots of young Japanese women.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The film...depicts an American prisoner of war being tortured by a sadistic Japanese guard

The sadistic guard referred to here is Mutsuhiro Watanabe (渡邊睦裕), nicknamed "the bird" and stationed at the Omori POW camp close to Tokyo's Shinjuku district, and later at Naotsu POW camp nearby Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture.

Watanabe had been classified as a war criminal, but managed to hang low and escape punishment during the war crimes trials. Many people thought he had died until CBS news managed to locate him during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. At the time, he was living comfortably as a successful businessman in Tokyo. Good investigative journalism on the part of CBS.

Here is the CBS interview of Watanabe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3-S3_j9j-8

16 ( +16 / -1 )

The longer Japanese hold dear the Imperial forces and take umbrage to anything that occurred during WWII the more people will get the idea that Japan never moved on from those racist times and remains a country worthy of being left behind by the rest of the world.

Japanese should be supporting these movies, not getting angry

21 ( +21 / -1 )

"Scenes of Zamperini being tortured and starved provoked anger among Japanese right-wingers, who described it as racist and anti-Japanese."

It's based on fact. Fact is not anti-Japanese, these wingers are by denying it. They do far more damage to themselves, the actual victims, and the people of Japan and its reputation in general than a movie which accurately depicts the past.

15 ( +17 / -3 )

Should be interesting to see how this plays out!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Come to think of it, have there been movies made in Japan that has examined what happened for a society to be controlled by racist right wingers, it's rebuke in the aftermath of WWII, and its current and future direction? Has there been any attempt at discussion about this within Japan to confront its past? I'm generally curious if there's a list of films to consider.

I've seen a few theatre productions that tried to touch on it but other than period pieces or co-productions with other countries (Hiroshima a Canada France NHK production) I find it strange that something so important isn't known.

There should be a lot more. Hollywood movies can be good or bad but people need to have their questions answered by their own countrymen at the very least

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Will this be censored?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Probably be edited, and the final credits will roll, after the Japanese ship finds the floating survivors. Yay, the kindly IJA portrayed as heroes.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

sf2k: " Hollywood movies can be good or bad but people need to have their questions answered by their own countrymen at the very least"

What are you talking about? Allowing their own countrymen to 'answer' their own questions is a HUGE part of the problem here and elsewhere, or did you miss 'our answer to textbooks' that has been carried out? or Obuchi's answer to her crimes as another example of the same thing in another facet of society?

Japan's 'answer' to this movie is pretty clear in that it's taken so long to be released, and I've no doubt some parts will be censored out.

"Has there been any attempt at discussion about this within Japan to confront its past?"

Nope. At least not a two-way, open discussion. Attempts by former troops have of course been made, but the government calls them liars or says they have bad memories.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Note to Japanese right-wingers : "Only the truth hurts..."

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Coming to an independent, lone theatre, tucked in the back street somewhere, nowhere near you, heaily editted and shown for one week before the right-wing crowds get too large. Enjoy it while you can!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

smithinjapan : Don't miss the point. Regardless of textbooks and endless political interference they need to start overcoming the right wingers and start telling their own stories about what happened, what really happened, otherwise it remains either a right winger paradise or a Western imposition, rightly or wrongly. Japan needs a surge of internal investigative reporting. Like the end of Climber's High.

That's what I though regarding open discussion. The Hiroshima interviews at the end of the door in the museum are more informative than anything else I've seen, but that was a while ago. I hope they are still there

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Scenes of Zamperini being tortured and starved provoked anger among Japanese right-wingers, who described it as racist and anti-Japanese.

Japanese right-wingers will always say this. Zamperini was willing to reconcile face-to-face with his japanese captors some decades after the ordeal. . . . but after his captors were tracked down and located, they refused.

Wonder how the Japanese right-wingers think about their refusal to meet Zamperini.

8 ( +8 / -1 )

Watch to see what happens to the theatres when their locations are announced if it gets to that stage!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Sensato - Thanks for the link. I remember watching it back when I lived in the States. Brief but fascinating look into the mindset of this "bird".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Let's watch the film first and then criticize if you don't like it.

Don't worry. Even if the Japanese distributor edits out unpleasant scenes to please the Japanese audience, you will soon be able to see the full version on-line.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

Will this be censored? Count on it... there's a long history of censorship of foreign films dealing with "delicate" matters - vis. "Empire of the Sun".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Boohoo, cry me a river. The guy flies half way around the world to bomb a country and kill civilians and when he gets captured wants royal treatment?? War is about killing people so when a soldier gets captured he should expect to be tortured and killed The Geneva Convention is complete non-sense. It's always these Americans who whine about their soldiers being tortured. I guess dropping 500lbs bombs on civilians is perfectly justifiable, collateral damage, but when that pilot is captured he expects to be treated humanly. Don't thinks so, you live by the sword you should die by it.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

Saw the movie when it opened here in the U.S. late last year. It's OK. Nothing great. IMO, it is no more racist or anti-Japanese than "The Bridge On The River Kwai" was nearly 60 years ago. In fact, the stories, as portrayed in the two films, are very similar at the core -- a "brutal" Japanese POW camp leader pit against a "heroic" Allied officer. It's Hollywood, not the World Court passing judgement on Japan for pity sake. If the Japanese nationalists want to get their panties in a knot over something, they should read the article that was all over MSN and other parts of the Internet today about the Chinese museum in Harbin that details the Japanese atrocities associated with Unit 731. Now that IS anti-Japanese.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Jerseyboy, I'd like to read that 731 article (I've been to the museum), could you provide a link? (sorry, couldn't find it on Google)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yoshitsune -- Don't have te link, but it was a NY Times article from yesterday, the 21st, by Didi Kirsten Tatlow (@dktatlow) titled, "A New Look at Japan’s Wartime Atrocities and a U.S. Cover-Up". It is still up on MSN in the News section. Good reading.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thanks, I found it straight after I posted, but then couldn't reply again due to the no-2-posts-in-a-row rule.

I'm wondering why you say that article is anti-Japanese? It focuses more on the decision by the US not to prosecute... or did you mean the museum itself is anti-Japanese?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw this recently and thought it was a good movie. What's the big deal, this movie didn't have anything worse than "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" and that was a joint British-Japanese production...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It already been 70 years and Japan still clings to ignoring, ignoring and ignoring. No wonder the entertainment industry is among the declining institutions imo.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Truth lives.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

MikeRowave: "Don't thinks so, you live by the sword you should die by it."

I don't see anyone saying, and not the guy himself, that he should have expected or been treated different, or denying it was war-time and that's what happens. But by your own argument, why are the Japanese so intent on hiding what happened, then? Why not show the film earlier if, as you say, "that's what happens"? Why are the right-wingers so upset about that being shown? Why, when the man himself came to talk to his former captors and try to reconcile the past did they hide and deny him a meeting?

All you are doing is making the case about how wrong Japan is on the issue.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

No wonder China is PO-ed

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sensato, thanks for the link. Very interesting. The Bird seemed like he felt he did no wrong.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'd like to think the movie finally being released here will bring more scrutiny on Watanabe from the Japanese media...

Oh man, I almost wrote that with a straight face!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I watched this film just the other day and I was surprised at how good it was. I think the Japanese just might enjoy it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

is set to hit screens in February

I believe that it is more correctly "hit a screen" as it will play only at a single screen at one theater.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Sensato

Thanks for the youtubelink of the CBS interview with Watanabe. He said " It was said beating and kicking in Caucasian society was considered cruel punishment. But there were occasions when such punishment was needed to sustain community life."

Good grief, with thinking like that, even decades later, it is not surprising that he did the nasty things he did.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

...despite attempts from nationalists who blasted it as racist...

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Railway Man is also a film based on the true story of a POW. Eric Lomax who had to work on the Burma railway and was tortured after his map of the camp surroundings was found. Many years later he met one of his torturers Nagase Takashi again, reconciled with him and became friends. Also there is a TV Drama "The Cowra Breakout" based on hundreds of Japanese POWs breaking out of their prison camp in Australia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I bought the DVD in May, and this is really an outstanding film. Ms Jolie is not just a pretty face, she is a very talented director.

That said,I will definitely be seeing this film on the big screen. The cinematography merits it, and it will be interesting to note if any cuts are made by our friendly neighbourhood thought police.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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