Third part in Aleksandr Sokurov's quadrilogy of Power, following Moloch (1999) and Taurus (2001), focuses on Japanese Emperor Hirohito and Japan's defeat in World War II when he is finally confronted by General Douglas MacArthur who offers him to accept a diplomatic defeat for survival.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Empress Kojun
Shirô Sano ...
The chamberlain
Shinmei Tsuji ...
Old servant
Taijirô Tamura ...
Scientist
Georgiy Pitskhelauri ...
McArthur's warrant officer
Hiroya Morita ...
Suzuki, Prime Minister
Toshiaki Nishizawa ...
Yonai, Minister of the Navy
Naomasa Musaka ...
Yusuke Tozawa ...
Kido
Kôjirô Kusanagi ...
Togo, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tetsuro Tsuno ...
General Umezu
Rokuro Abe ...
General Toyoda
Jun Haichi ...
Abe, Minister of the Interior
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Storyline

As Japan nears defeat at the end of World War II, Emperor Hirohito starts his day in a bunker underneath the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. A servant reads to him a list of activities for the day, including a meeting with his ministers, marine biology research, and writing his son. Hirohito muses about the impact on such schedules when the Americans arrive but is told that as long as there is a solitary Japanese person living, the Americans will not reach The Emperor. Hirohito replies that he at times feels like he himself will be the last Japanese person left alive. The servant reminds him that he is a deity, not a person, but Hirohito points out that he has a body just like any other man. He later reflects on the causes of the war when dictating observations about a hermit crab, and then about the peace to come when composing a letter to his son. Soon enough General Douglas MacArthur's personal car is sent to bring him through the ruins of Tokyo for a meeting with the supreme commander ... Written by Brian Greenhalgh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

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Details

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Release Date:

18 November 2005 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

El sol  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,588 (USA) (20 November 2009)

Gross:

$76,357 (USA) (9 April 2010)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aleksandr Sokurov kept the name of the actor playing the Emperor secret, since it is taboo in Japan to play an Emperor on film. Sokurov was afraid for the safety of the actor, after Nagisa Ôshima told him there have been two attempts on his life after he criticized Imperial Japan during WWII. See more »

Quotes

Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito: Our chances of victory in the war with the west were 50 out of 100. Germany's chances in this war were 100 out of 100.
General Douglas MacArthur: What are you talking about?
Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito: I'm talking about the alliance with Germany.
General Douglas MacArthur: Well, that is all in the past. There is only one unresolved issue left. That is the issue of your fate.
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Connections

Follows Moloch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

from DIE GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG
Composed by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

 
An Emperor is All-too Human
28 March 2010 | by (Minneapolis, United States) – See all my reviews

"The Sun" was a good way to introduce ourselves to the minimalist, detail-obsessed films of Alexander Sokurov -- so thanks to Minnesota Film Arts for showing it at St. Anthony Main, February 2010.

Sokurov's Emperor Hirohito is not only humanized in this film, he finds redemption, if in a limited way that leaves him assailable for his true weakness: weakness of will, anxiety of spirit, and dreamy preference for leisurely study and cool contemplation. Hirohito is a true nobleman where his job called for either a savior or a butcher.

The actor who plays Hirohito has an amazing technique. All of his facial features and especially his mouth and front teeth are applied very deliberately to create the sense of a careful, intelligent, and ultimately ordinary man.

What to say of Sokurov's unique vision? It's something like a documentary of daily habits, a virtuosic sequencing of mundane and ritual behavior -- eating breakfast, reading a book, chatting with his servants, waiting for General McArthur to return, greeting his wife -- sequences that contain turning points. A surprisingly naive, yet resigned man faces up to his life, thus learning to really live in the end.


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