6.7/10
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Battle of the Japan Sea (1969)

Nihonkai daikaisen (original title)
Japan and Russia clash in what comes to be known as the Russo-Japanese War. An attempt by the Japanese fleet and army to take Port Arthur fails, and a Russian fleet bears down on the Sea of Japan.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Yûzô Kayama ...
Cmdr. Hirose
...
Susumu Fujita ...
Uemura
Mitsuko Kusabue ...
Mrs. Togo
Ryutaro Tatsumi ...
General Gonbei Yamamoto
Hakuô Matsumoto ...
The Emperor (as Kôshirô Matsumoto)
Toshio Kurosawa ...
Pfc. Maeyama
Akira Kubo ...
Matsui
Makoto Satô ...
Gunnery Chief of Security
Akihiko Hirata ...
Staff Officer Tsunoda
Yoshio Tsuchiya ...
Staff Officer Akiyama
Kenji Sahara ...
Sub-Chief
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Storyline

Japan and Russia clash in what comes to be known as the Russo-Japanese War. An attempt by the Japanese fleet and army to take Port Arthur fails, and a Russian fleet bears down on the Sea of Japan. Admiral Heihachiro Togo sends his fleet to confront the Russians, with results which stun both nations. Meanwhile, Major Genjiro Akashi makes secret negotiations with the Bolshevik revolutionaries in Russia, negotiations that have repercussions far beyond the conflict at hand. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Battle of the Japan Sea  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's final film. See more »

Soundtracks

Sen Yuu
Traditional Japanese Military Song
Performed by Male Chorus
Public Domain
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User Reviews

 
Better subtitles are available
23 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First, I like this movie. The battle scenes are generally well done and the model work is very impressive. It is not entirely true to the actual events but how many war movies are? The acting is not great, except for Mifune, but it's not unwatchable either. And, as another reviewer mentioned, it is the only movie I know of that covers the Russo-Japanese War.

As one of the reviewers here commented, the movie subtitles are notably bad, so much so that there is a statement at the end of the movie apologizing for the misspelled Russian names and incorrect ranks. But it wasn't just the Russian ranks that were wrong, they were incorrect for most of the Japanese characters, too, and the whole translation was not good English. The subtitles were bad enough that they distracted me from the story. In some movies, bad subtitles can be enjoyed as humor, but this is not the kind of movie where that should happen. It bothered me enough that I decided to see if I could do something about it.

I don't speak Japanese so I took the existing translation and fixed the obvious problems of spelling, grammar and syntax. Poor use of idiom could usually be determined from context. And there were lots of errors or inconsistencies in translation of military ranks and Russian ship and personnel names. Some of it is differences in culture, however. For example, the "san" suffix on Japanese names is normally translated as "Mr." but that isn't really how western culture handles it. The Japanese are more formal than we so in most instances we would just leave off the "Mr." and call someone by their name. But in the case where the person has a title or rank, we would use that. For example, instead of "Mr. Ito" or "Mr. Togo" we would say "Prince Ito" or "Admiral Togo." The other thing was place names. The original subtitles used Japanese place names which are mostly meaningless to us, for example "Ryojun" instead of "Port Arthur." And then there were just the mistakes of words that look similar but mean very different things. There is a line that was translated as "I am doing my dumbest to insure victory" when, of course, it should be "I am doing my damnedest to insure victory." Finally, I took some liberty and made the narration of some of the battles more accurately reflect the actual historical events. For example, the movie has Togo "crossing the T" in the Battle of the Yellow Sea when actually he used that tactic (twice) in the Battle of Tsushima.

For anyone interested, I have posted the revised subtitles to several of the more useful subtitle sites on the web.

UPDATE: It seems there are at least two other movies about the Russo-Japanese War. Not surprisingly, both are also Japanese made.


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