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Tommy Lee Jones to visit Japan to promote 'Emperor'

54 Comments

U.S. actor Tommy Lee Jones, 66, who plays Douglas MacArthur in the new movie "Emperor" (to be released on July 27), will visit Japan next week.

Jones will be joined by co-star Matthew Fox and director Peter Webber. During their visit, they will attend an event at the American Embassy which played an important role in the film as the embassy was where MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito first met.

Jones, who is known to be a big kabuki fan, will also visit the new Kabukiza in Ginza.

Set in postwar Japan, "Emperor" deals with the decision on whether or not to prosecute Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal. The Japanese cast include Riko Hatsune, Toshiyuki Nishida and Kaori Momoi.

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54 Comments
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Nice pipe

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This movie should be boycotted. But of course Japanese men do not think so. They think it's okay to cast aspersions on the emperor's culpability, which will further weaken an already weak government.

-39 ( +1 / -40 )

He slightly fits the look, but I don't think Jones, despite being a great actor, fits the role very well. Part of that could be that he has bought hook, line, and sinker into the Japanese culture of 'selling out' and appears in humorous Coffee Boss posters and commercials everywhere to the point where you can't take him seriously, but more than that I just don't see it. Hopefully he surprises me.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

More like an art house film which had limited release in the US. Received mixed reviews.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

looking forward this movie and its conclusion, if historically correct hope this can help to fight the revisionism wave.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It just occurred to me that you could put any caucasian adult male in that hat and sunglasses, and stick a corncob pipe in their mouth, and they'd look like MacArthur.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I wonder what new Boss coffee commercial will look like, or product placement in the movie?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is this a warts and all portrayal? MacArthur was a deeplty flawed individual.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Jones is on a roll. His Stevens portrayal was the best part of Lincoln. Loved him in Under Siege, Batman Forever, and Captain America, not so much in MIB. This kind of Character should be perfect for him.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Do Japanese even know who he is? My wife had no clue and thought it was some random ojisan in those coffee commercials.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

TLJ is the Boss.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well obviously we know they didn't end up prosecuting Hirohito, but I hope this movie shows that it wasn't because he was innocent, but because keeping him alive on a leash would serve American interests.

The Japanese need to know the truth about their Emperor.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

papasmurfinjapan

And what truth is that?

That his master changed from one group to the other, or the fact that he followed the tradition to reign but not rule like his European counterparts.

He only rubber stamped his approval of matters that had already been decided. It's been like that for the last 1000 years or so.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

He only rubber stamped his approval of matters that had already been decided.

You believe he was just a puppet with no power? Sure that's what the emperor is today, but in Hirohito's day, things were much different.

Herbert Bix wrote an excellent book about it many years ago aptly called "Hirohito".

Here's an interesting outline of the book's premise, by the author himself.

http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp92.html

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Do Japanese even know who he is? My wife had no clue and thought it was some random ojisan in those coffee commercials.

He did tons of TV commercials for Boss coffee, you can find them on Youtube.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Keeping the Emperor alive would have served "American" interests? As if post-war Japan had anything of interest to America? The place was just about worthless, I think that there are some people who a revising history here and implying that Japan had some value after the war.

It was a bombed out hulk.

Keeping the Emperor alive was a practical move, or something. MacArthur was a smart guy who shouldn't be dragged through the dirt by a bunch of people who weren't around at the time. The American military suffered a great deal to win the war and this doesn't seem to be very apparent to the folks commenting here at Japan Today.

I do know that every single person from Japan born post WW II that I've met in the States knows virtually nothing about The War. This is unfortunate since it is almost certain that the world in which the Japanese live today wouldn't exist if it weren't for the Americans winning the War.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Keeping the Emperor alive would have served "American" interests? As if post-war Japan had anything of interest to America? The place was just about worthless, I think that there are some people who a revising history here and implying that Japan had some value after the war.

Japan has been America's major pawn in East Asia for nearly 70 years now. Why do you think Japan has almost no foreign policy (besides economic foreign policy)? Whether as the base for supplies or as a launching pad for dropping a few million tons of chemical weapons on Indochina or as conservative stronghold to limit the spread of communism and to limit China's power in the region, Japan was key. At the start of the occupation, the Americans (rightly or wrongly) believed that keeping Hirohito in power would keep the Japanese on their side, and make them more malleable as a useful tool to dominating as much of the globe as possible throughout the 20th century and beyond.

It seems to have worked very well

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Where did you learn your history, wikipedia? America dominating the globe?

At the end of WW II, the only thing Americans wanted to do was GO HOME. I know that's what my dad wanted to do, he fought in the war and came home on a hospital ship.

As for the Communists in China and the Soviet Union, Americans didn't want to make the same mistake with them that the French and British made with Hitler. But that's another topic [right moderator?].

As for Japan, MacArthur knew that the Emperor was about the only person who could keep the almost insane Japanese from going berserk in the post-war period. At least that's my understanding from what I've read. And it makes sense. The Japanese people have never been a very rational bunch, and after the end of the war, there were too many irrational factions going at eachother's throats.

The Emperor and MacArthur made for a good partnership in a difficult period. Neither should be harangued here especially by youth who have never lived through a tough day.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

His office in Tokyo is still as he left it 60 years ago.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Looks like an interesting movie worth checking out. Tommy Lee Jones is a really good actor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree with you lone beagle. At the end of the war US had overstretched her capacity to an almost ridicules level. The closer they got to Japan every battle became more and more costly in lives and material. This is why a conventional invasion of Japans main islands was cancelled. Using nukes was not only a technical possibility, it was a political necessity. This is also a reason to why it was necessary to keep Hirohito in his position. If they would have prosecuted and hanged him I think the US, in comparison would have found that the Iraq insurgency was just a wisper in a hurricane. I think they had prepped 25 million militia in response to an invasion. All in all, necessary and clever strategies by the leaders of old.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Where did you learn your history, wikipedia? America dominating the globe? At the end of WW II, the only thing Americans wanted to do was GO HOME. I know that's what my dad wanted to do.

Well - there is what your dad wanted to do, and then there is what America wanted to do, and I'm afraid the latter took precedence.

... or has the US ended up with military bases in 63 countries out of the goodness of its heart and concern for the well-being of the world's citizens? lol@uramericanhistory

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Good to hear 宇宙人ジョーンズ (uchujin Jones) is visiting Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Where did you learn your history, wikipedia? America dominating the globe? Sorry, no offense to your father intended, but I trust Wikipedia and actual historians more than your dad. Of course HE wanted to go home, but the US as a country had reasons to stay in Japan, and it wasn't merely out of benevolence towards a vanquished foe.

The Japanese people have never been a very rational bunch That comment smacks of racism. If that is

Neither should be harangued here especially by youth who have never lived through a tough day. Well that's a pretty silly way to treat history, don't you think? Are you for the abolishment of history classes in school too?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

papasmurfinjapan

I know more about the historical aspect then claiming to be a authority based on one book. First of all if you check Japanese history you'll find that the reason why the Military gained control of the government in the first place was due to the emperor stating the very policy of "reign but not rule" when the government was trying to down size the military. The military head objected to détente on the basis that the emperor was commander and chief stipulated within the Japanese Imperial Constitution so the PM made a request towards the emperor to order the military to step down in which the emperor denied stating that it is not his place to butt-in on governmental affairs and that all governmental affairs should be handled by the government.

The Emperor had never made any ruling for the day he had been throwned till his death.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The trailer looks great I look forward to getting around to seeing it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We are not retreating - we are advancing ... uh ... towards another Suntory vending machine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan WAS of interest to America, to fight off the "Reds". America was obviously more concerned about the spread of communism than Japan, which is why many of the top war criminals in the management and bureaucracy were left intact.

McArthur was more concerned about leaving a mark in history than actually contributing to rebuilding Japan. McArthur first thought of removing the Emperor system, but the Japanese conservatives protested so he didn't. He screwed up some things big time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Laguna... lololol!

I've always wondered why they chose Tommy's face as their rep. And he's been there for many years. Some decision maker at Suntory must be his fan or something because that face would be the last thing I want for beverages. Maybe I will like him for scotch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That pipe looks silly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let's honor the dictator's memory. Gung Ho!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

papasmurfinjapan

Another example would be the tying of the Triad pack even though the emperor despised the Nazi regime and refused to give a medal to foreign minister who orcestrated the Triad pack. If the emperor had any influnce that treaty would have never been signed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well put that in his pipe and smoke it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Isn't the title more appropriate for MacArthur himself? Didn't he set himself up as and behave as an Emperor in his own private kingdom... Japan? From what I've read the Allies wanted to control Japan the way they controlled Germany after the war, but The General unilaterally took sole command, and effectively turned Japan into an American protectorate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Samuraiblue

I'm not suggesting the Emperor was the mastermind behind the entire war, but to suggest he was detached from the war, "never made any ruling" and was completely powerless to stop it, is just completely wrong. Of course I'm not surprised that your MEXT sanctioned Japanese textbooks fail to mention anything that could be construed as criticism towards the emperor.

If the emperor had any influnce that treaty would have never been signed.

Funny, because in September 1940, Hirohito sanctioned that very treaty. He expressed his opposition to an alliance that took on the UK, US and France, but he eventually agreed to it because he wanted the Nazis to put pressure on the Soviets.

In 1939 he agreed to the Tripartite pact against the Soviets, but after increased pressure, one year later, on September 1940, he told PM Konoe that an agreement against American "cannot be helped". Did he rubber stamp the pact? Was he the final authority in the matter? No. But was he an innocent bystander? No way. He was constantly advised, and intimately involved in the war effort. On September 27th, he even issued an imperial message to the nation stating:

"We sincerely hope to bring about a cessation of hostilities and a restoration of peace, and have therefore ordered the governement to ally with Germany and Italy, nations which share the same intentions as ourselves..."

Sounds like a funny thing for an emperor to say if he didn't agree to the pact. If you are the head of a nation that revers and respects you as a God - and your nation is committing gross atrocities in your name - yet you do absolutely nothing to stop that bloodshed - then the blame should ultimately fall upon you.

There may be no signatures on death lists or orders for massacres of civilians, but the fact is Hirohito was not locked up in a jail cell, powerless to stop the government. He was very much in the loop, attending strategy meetings, constantly meeting with the PM and advisers, visiting military bases, parading around military garb etc. etc. He condoned the war fought in his name. That makes him guilty as hell.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This should be an interesting movie - unlike other posters on this site who seem to debate things yet seen I'll just say Remember, It's Only a Movie!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

papasmurfinjapan

Of course he rubber stamped an agreement since he had no will to step over his obligations to reign but not rule stance and over ride it even though he was disgusted with the allied member. The only resistance he could show was not to decorate a medal to foreign minister Matsuoka who masterminded the alliance which is all recorded within the steward master's dirary.

He had no will stand against the ruling military government or any government for that matter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course he rubber stamped an agreement since he had no will to step over his obligations to reign but not rule stance and over ride it even though he was disgusted with the allied member.

And then go and announce to the nation that HE had ordered the government to sign the pact? So he was publicly supporting something he was secretly disgusted with, in effect, lying to the very people that were sacrificing their lives for him? If that is your contention, then what a spineless man he was.

There is ample evidence that Hirohito was a war-mongerer, fully briefed on and engaged in war planning, supporting and urging on the war machine to fight to the bitter end. On September 7, 1944 he said this to the Diet:

"Today our imperial state is indeed challenged to reach powerfully for a decisive victory. You who are the leaders of our people must now renew your tenacity and, uniting in your resolve, smash our enemies evil purposes, thereby furthering forever our imperial destiny".

Hardly the words of a pacifist puppet. I could go on, and on, and on... but I have more pressing matters to attend to.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No that decision was already made and the emperor only read out a prepared speech from the government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No that decision was already made and the emperor only read out a prepared speech from the government.

He opposed the war, was forced to make speeches about things he didn't believe, was dressed up in military regalia and paraded around, was made to attend countless meetings with military chiefs of staff and for the most part agree with them... yet all the while Hirohito was a peace-loving guy who's only desire was to end the war as quickly as possible and go to Disneyland.

Uh yeah, sure. Whatever.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

What went through his head is irrelevent since he made a decision to stay out. There are no evidence that he actively participated nor any evidence that he was in a decision making position. He asked alot of questions at the Gozenkaigi in which some cases the military not able to provide an answer would postpone the final request for approval but that had nothing to do with the emperor request. I believe some may had done some guessing game on how to please the emperor but they were make a lot of fuss for nothing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The "conventional wisdom" in America regarding Japan in the 1940's came mostly from Americans, Canadians, and English who had been living in Japan prior to the war's outbreak. These were usually very affluent individuals who had access to the Emperor's Court. They reported what they knew - which is what the Court would tell them and the Court obviously told them that the Japanese were incapable of operating without an Emperor. This was what was relayed to Washington and Washington decided that the Emperor had to stay regardless of his obvious culpability regarding the war. Based on my readings, it appears that MacArthur came to this conclusion even before Washington did, and was already acting on the assumption that the Emperor would remain in-place.

To show how far the Americans went to shield the Emperor from prosecution, there was a point in the Tokyo War Crimes trials where former P.M. Tojo was asked if military officers ever would do something against the Emperor's wishes and Tojo - not thinking ahead - truthfully answered with an emphatic "No!" This reply caused an immediate recess of the court and Tojo was talked to in private by the prosecution team. You see, the prosecution was trying to build a case that said military officers had initiated and activated plans for the war on their own and that the Emperor had never been a proponent for going to war. Tojo's initial testimony blew the prosecution's fancy little work of fiction clean out of the water. After the recess Tojo was put back on the stand, where he recanted the statement that he had been so positive about only a short while before. Obviously the "talk" during the recess centered on how he was putting the life of his Emperor at risk by telling the truth and that perhaps a lie would be more strategically appropriate at this juncture.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What went through his head is irrelevent since he made a decision to stay out.

As I have shown above, he didn't stay out of the war at all. He was it's face. It was fought in his name. He wasn't a recluse hidden away from sight. He liked to dress up in military clothes and visit military bases. He was fully briefed on almost every aspect of the war, offering advice, personally ratifying strategies and directives that resulted in the deaths of millions of people. Hirohito's uncle, Prince Asaka, was a member of the Supreme War Council and one of the proponents of the Nanking Massacre. What did Hirohito do after the massacre? Call him back to Japan and promote him. Matsui got the noose for Nanking. Asaka got of scot-free, no doubt because of his "royal" credentials.

There are no evidence that he actively participated nor any evidence that he was in a decision making position.

See above.

To Hirohito's credit, he offered to take the blame for the war crimes. He knew he was guilty. But MacArthur denied him the chance to stand trial for his sins, because he knew Hirohito was more useful to him alive than dead.

Japanese will no doubt continue to look the other way, as they always have - because criticising the emperor is taboo. I hope one day, though, you can take an honest look at your history, and perhaps learn something from it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

papasmurfinjapan

He knew he was guilty.

He took responsiblity not because he was guilty but because he held title as commander and chief. It could have been a honary title but he lived up to it to the letter. That is how a dignified head of state is suppose to react. He even plead the life of all of the A class criminal telling them he was fully responsible for all their actions.

You will never understand.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

papasmurfinjapan

He knew he was guilty.

He took responsiblity not because he was guilty but because he held title as commander and chief. It could have been a honary title but he lived up to it to the letter. That is how a dignified head of state is suppose to react. He even plead the life of all of the A class criminal telling them he was fully responsible for all their actions.

You will never understand.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When Pres. Truman insisted to behead Emperor, Gen, MacArthur visited Emperor. He found Emperor had friends in Imperial Garden, plants and weeds. Some noted world botanists explained Emperors research on Bontany, Then General did some researxh of Japanese people that time. Young people may not believe now but people in Japan were ready to kill themselves, then, That was the way people were brainwashed, He and his stuff decided to use Emperor to keep Japanese people alive. He defied Truman's order. Communism Party and Socialist party gained plenty members. They promised Russia will help Japan. Truman wanted General to do something. Sp. he released Nobusuke Kishi from Sugamo Prison. It worked. Kishi created a political party and Red lost power. Meanwhile Triad promoter Yosuke Matsuoka died w. TB in Sugamo Prison. B-29 air raid destroyed the whole Tokyo. Scary time. A-Boms were dropped to Hiroahima and Nagasaki, Christian cities, So, Japanese people just gave up, then, General tried to have Japanese girls have equal educations, and Japanese govt to stop child selling custom of poor families in northeast japan, too. Well, There are many botany books Showa Tenno authered, Botanists valued them, He kept research until his death,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MacArthur was a strange man, filled by conflicts and contrasts. He did in some ways do good, but the overall American approach to Japan was never characterized by any real attempt to respect or understand, and really amounted to very primitive and blunt tactics overall. I am very glad to see Japan strong and whole and doing very well while the United States is suffering quite a bit of dissolution, conflict between classes, decay of education and culture and loss of home based industry, work base and middle class. Japan is frankly doing much better than the US so history shows again what a strong people can endure and survive and do well thru. Wish we in the US had more of that strength now, maybe we will get it back. But MacArthur was far from a saint or really any sort of leader, for he took credit for the work of many others and wanted to be the big boss always and acted like a king, when he was just another army general who knew how to play politics.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One thing General tried and failed was to enable Japanese girls go to Universities (boys only, then). Boys and girls were separated in elementary schools and there were boys middle and girls middle schools. Then Universities were ordered to have girls. Universities had no choice., So, one for accounting major.l But at interview, to a girl llooked and behaved like a girl, she was not admitted. She had to be athletic built girl and walked like a boy. Public universities were like that. Brainy girls who were denied would bring their fathers to inquire or scare president. The girl would be asked' to stop your father's samurai stare". Many of those brainy girls were samurai class family child. I know at least one case. They could be brats in their girls school but their samurai status (shi-zoku) was one of qualification they were chosen to take the entrance test.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That is very interesting, Toshiko San, thank you for sharing that. It reveals a lot. I am glad that girls can now attend university, tho some seperation is not a bad thing and having mixed schools is a mixed blessing sometimes :)

MacArthur was a strange man and much driven by his ego and desire for power and fame. He was not a great leader or even a good general, and in fact he was responsible for much needless conflict and wasted resources and efforts during the war. He showed little real understanding of Japanese culture and tried to force change because he wanted to exert his power and Mrs MacArthur wanted to remake Japan in the American image. Really the entire US contact with Japan during that war showed how little the US understood or even tried to understand other cultures and ways of life and views of reality. In the end, they did far more harm than good, and even now the sad sight of American culture being imitated and copied by Japan is dangerous and one to be very wary of. We have little to offer and less to say about how anyone else should live or decide things.

I apologize for the grave discourtesies and blatant disrespect that MacArthur showed to Japan, and to Okinawa in particular, dropping a huge US military base onto a small island society that will take generations to heal from. Fortunately some of us realize the truth about these people and events, and can help to heal some of this by our efforts and our sharing..such as this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

CrisGerSan Jul. 16, 2013 - 03:08AM JST MacArthur was a strange man and much driven by his ego and desire for power and fame. He was not a great leader or even a good general, and in fact he was responsible for much needless conflict and wasted resources and efforts during the war. He showed little real understanding of Japanese culture and tried to force change because he wanted to exert his power and Mrs MacArthur wanted to remake Japan in the American image.

But the vital point is McArthur's attitude to defeated nations, and his brilliance at converting them too loyal allies. Only the very best military leaders in history have been able to achieve this successfully. The whole world should be grateful that it was MacArthur, an American not caught up by the fantasy of American democracy, who converted one of the oldest and proudest imperial states into a modern and loyal constitutional monarchy. For that, and that alone, it is almost possible to forgive the rest of the MacArthur myth, and accept him as one of the great captains of history. MacArthur was a brilliant imperial administrator and Governor, with great practical insight and vision when it came to dealing with defeated states on fair terms. But it is not possible to call him a good general.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for your earnest and sincere reply. I must disagree with you on that tho i am glad you understand the thin nature of the myth about his military ability. He was frankly a place holder and his ego almost sabatoged the entire peace process. Frankly it was the Japanese character and strength that allowed the process to work. There is no proof that he himself had anything to do with the change in the national situation, and the acceptance of the end of the war was a reasonable one made by the entire country, not by MaArthur and his role was merely that of a figure head i believe. The world still likes to have stars and heroes and he was one of those figure so focused on by the media. He was by and large a media creation and used as such to support the American effort which was ruinous for the US financially and socially as that war had deep and tragic results in the US few know about, there was an 80 percent divorce rate among many of the returning US servicement and millions suffer still from PTSD from that war and it ravaged the US society. In Japan the effects of the war were equally tragic and that fine nation faced its task and created a new country..and they accepted a alliance with the US which served both countries just as any nation would in such a situation, so the kudos go to Japan and not to MacArthur who could have done far better and been much more respoectful instead he left a legacy that labeled the sincere members of the Japanese military and governemnt as war criminals when they were just doing their duty for their own culture. The feeling that MacArthur had that he had the right to rule over Japan in cultural and economic matters was symbolic of his egotistic and elitist peersonality which was frankly that of an egomaniac who has no real idea of reasonable entitlement, he looked down on everyone and treated both suboardinates and the entire nation of Japan as his to play with as he wished.

For that reason, though I respect your sharing and appreciate it, i must respectfully disagree. :)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

and millions suffer still from PTSD

you think there are still millions of american ww2 vets alive and suffering from ptsd?

it ravaged the US society

how exactly was the US ravaged? before the war- depression, after the war- thriving middle class, booming economy

The feeling that MacArthur had that he had the right to rule over Japan in cultural and economic matters was symbolic of his egotistic and elitist peersonality which was frankly that of an egomaniac who has no real idea of reasonable entitlement, he looked down on everyone and treated both suboardinates and the entire nation of Japan as his to play with as he wished.

any proof of this? or do you just expect people believe you because you are obviously not unhinged.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes i know there are. My own father is among them. I spent years researching Traumatic Stress and the results of it to help a partner and had to delve deep into the consequences of the Second World War on American Society. Millions became affected and the affects spread across the society and have had deep affects at all levels of society which we are seeing manifested today in many ways.

Yes I do know about MacArthur and his personality, from family members who served with and under him, and from years of research into the history of the war. The facts alone are proof enough if anyone wants to take the time to research the issue and not just accept popular myth and what is used as the ordinary cover story for these events. But thanks for your reply to my comments. Always good to share and have dialogue.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

im not downplaying the seriousness of ptsd, but theres no way there are millions of ww2 vets still alive period, let alone millions alive with this disorder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surviving_U.S._veterans_of_World_War_II

and one more question, since you ignored it. how exactly was the US ravaged? before the war- depression, after the war- thriving middle class, booming economy

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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