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Tojo drama starring Takeshi draws 12.1% rating on Christmas eve


Japan remembered World War II at Christmas time as actor-director and comedian Takeshi Kitano starred in a television epic as General Hideki Tojo, who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kitano, also known as Beat Takeshi, portrayed the militarist prime minister with surprising resemblance in a documentary-drama broadcast over 4 1/2 hours on Christmas Eve.

The program was somewhat out of place on Japanese television for the festive year-end and New Year season which is usually reserved for hours-long period epics such as ones about famous samurai warriors.

But the drama drew a respectable 12.1% of television viewers. "We chose the timing because it was close to the Pearl Harbor anniversary. It is important to broadcast such a program at this time of the year," TBS publicist Takahiro Ishida said.

The drama followed Tojo during the three months leading up to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, which brought the United States into the war. Tojo is seen conferring on military plans with Emperor Hirohito, who is usually portrayed in Japan as a detached observer with little responsibility for the war.

After the war, the occupying United States allowed Hirohito to remain on the throne but Tojo was tried and executed as a war criminal.

The drama portrayed Tojo as a reluctant leader who struggled to reach a decision and showed Hirohito as hesitant about war.

"This drama is meant to tell how we went into the cruel war," said the special's producer Yasuo Yagi, adding that it resembled Japan's "irresponsible" politics at present. "I hope it conveys a hint about our country's future."

It was the second in a series of World War II documentary-dramas produced by TBS which in March featured victims of the devastating U.S. air raids on Tokyo.

Media comments on the program were generally favorable. "It is fine as an attempt to thoroughly analyze the war and provide a basis to sustain our will to renounce war," said the Yomiuri Shimbun.

"Takeshi's own air makes Tojo's character more real," the Asahi Shimbun said. "It cools the euphoria of Christmas Eve a little bit and makes you think about the times."

© Wire reports

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That television drama in Japanese showed that Prime minister (also General) Hideki Tojo could not control not manage well both Army minister and Navy ministers. Both ministers who were very much eager to fight with US had a little stronger political power than Tojo. Soldiers always wanted to fight. Tojo could not persuade Navy minister to not attack the Pearl Harbor in December as US stopped exporting oil to Japan. Prime minister Tojo had to follow Navy minister's plan. Tojo actually agreed with Navy minister to attack Peal Harbor. Tojo was a war criminal.

US intelligences already knew Japanese attack to Peal Harbor before 7th. US had much advaced strategic technologies of decoding systems, radars systems. US already decoded all Japanese communications. US knew the attack. I do not know why US could not stop it?

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kwatt - while we had indications that Japan was going to strike somewhere within a vague time frame, the US absolutely did not know it was to be Pearl Harbor in early December while diplomatic negotiations were still underway. Many people conveniently forget that Japan simultaneously attacked Hong Kong , British Malaya and the Philippines within days of the Pearl Harbor attack. HK surrendered by X-mas. Obviously, they had been planning all this for many months. Radar was fully developed by the Brits from preceding technologies in 1941, the US barely had any deployed systems. In fact, the US military was largely a joke in December, 1941.

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what a peaceful Christmas Eve with Pearl harbor TV program!!, stupid people!

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Ultradude - Thanks. The US anticipated very much that Japan might attack US because Japanese Navy fleets approached Peal Habor day by day from decoding Japanese communications. Peal Habor is the closest state of US to Japan. I'm not soldier. I would select Peral Harbor if attack US. Why did not they on Hawaii prepare war on alert?

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Nato summed it up

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...then and now.

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Takeshi's acting was on a par with the Tellytubbies Why is he so popular - is he surrounded by cronies who won't tell him his acting stinks?

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Kwatt you should really give this article a look "Report Debunks Theory That the U.S. Heard a Coded Warning About Pearl Harbor" it was in the NYtimes dec 7th

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I do not know why US could not stop it?

The US wanted Japan to attack. They did everything they could to get the Japanese to attack. The American public did not want war, but their leaders desperately wanted to join the war against Germany. By having Japan attack in such a manner, the American public joined their warmongering leaders.

Moderator: All readers back on topic please. Posts should refer to the TBS drama starring Takeshi.

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I think he should have stuck with his game show. I watched it today, it is so funny. Why is Japanese telly today so boring, sad!!.

I couldn't take him seriously as TOjo though i doubt it will be shown outside of Japan.

My frined who works at BBC said Japanese programmes except for anime is so low quality they wouldn't show it. Was this dram as also so bad. Just curious chaps.

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US intelligences already knew Japanese attack to Peal Harbor before 7th. US had much advaced strategic technologies of decoding systems

The US wanted Japan to attack. They did everything they could to get the Japanese to attack.

I heard that the planes that attacked Pearl Harbour weren't Japanese at all and they weren't flown by Japanese pilots. They were flown by Germans because the Germans were the bad people during the war, while the Japanese were just peaceful people who were happily tilling their rice fields until the evil Americans came along and dropped the A bombs on the harmless peace loving people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I also hear that next year's Xmas eve drama, including the horrendous bad acting of Beat, will adopt thia approach and the MOE are to promote a history text book which forwards this view and the history book, to be used in all senior high schools, will have an introduction from that great authority General Tamagomi.

This country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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12.1%. Wow, that's really...not a particularly useful number to those of us not working in television. Was it the most watched TV show? The 2nd, 3rd or 4th?

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A little hinomaru warmup to the New Year's Red and White?

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So, it's this stuff keeping him from making "Zatoichi 2"? Oi, Beato! The world is waiting for you!

Tojo is seen conferring on military plans with Emperor Hirohito, who is usually portrayed in Japan as a detached observer with little responsibility for the war.

Interesting, especially after reading Japan's Longest Day which suggests the emperor had a role in extending the war after the Hiroshima bombing. He wouldn't side with the members of the inner circle who wanted to surrender unless there was an agreement to preserve the imperial line.

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Although Beat didn't do a great job, he did OK. The other actors helped carry the action. And I thought it was a great program to put at Christmas time. People should think about these things, especially younger people. I'd like to see more programs like this, although not perfect, better than the usual samurai drama (ZZZZZZZ) or some other garbage. Now, we look forward to KOHAKU . . . drag . . . except for JERO!!! And HOSOKAWA TAKASHI!!!

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He did not do great job as role of Hideki Tojo. He needed to express something more as acting role of Tojo. Other actors seemed to be very good.

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Saw the first 5 minutes then ....Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. C'mon Beat, if this was your best effort go back to your senseless variety show where you wear the uni grad hat and gown. Then again even watching that ...Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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I tried to watch this show, but Beat Takeshi reminded me more of Katocha from the drifters, where he wears a "wig" to look like a bald old man, and the glasses looked very similar so I just laughed and said the hell whith this, I prefer Takeshi as a comedian, he is quite funny. As as a serious actor???????? I am not ready for his attempt at being a "seriuos" guy.

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senseless variety show where you wear the uni grad hat and gown

"Coma University Mathematics" entertains with and encourages an interest in math; not an easy feat!


A 4 1/2-hour exploration of war shown on a holiday is a call for audiences to think about the past and future.

Oi, Beato! The world is waiting for you!

Yes... Thanks, Takeshi, for your challenges, humor and inspiration; may they continue.

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Its great to create programs like this to remind of people the harder times in our history. But let me remind you, all these programs does not seem to deter people(our leaders) from avoiding catastrophic situations. Look at what's going on in the middle east and other countries in south asia. Its sad but "history repeats itself" for some reason. I would account this to GREED. The past wars were created by greed for power and world domination. Its one of those animal instincts of ours(humans).

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I absolutely do not get what "Beat" Takeshi offers on any level. I did not see this program, so perhaps he is brilliant. But I'd say he isn't just by seeing him in his endless "appearances" on TV and in print ad, where he has the riveting magnetism of a stoned roach. But then, I don't get Jennifer Aniston's popularity, either, so, guess I'm just "out of touch" with popular culture (but if he and she are "popular culture," I'm glad out of touch.)

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what "Beat" Takeshi offers on any level

Well, based on what I've seen of his movies (actor, director, writer, editor -- http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001429/), his interviews (print and film, i.e.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P21nx7il5u0), various books (humor, commentary, short stories, poetry, novels, autobiography, sports, art), his tv shows (comedy, news, commentary, education, drama -- "Ano sensô wa nandattano ka - Nichibei kaisen to Tôjô Hideki"!), his artwork, singing, stand-up, tap-dancing, etc., there seems to be a lot. I think he's a self-made man, an independent thinker, a creative visionary and a good person. With his experience and sense of humor, he could be the Prime Minister of Japan! : )

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