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Japan's War in Colour (2005)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary, History, War  |  17 January 2005 (UK)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 84 users  
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The history of Imperial Japan's involvement in World War II with full color footage.

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Title: Japan's War in Colour (TV Movie 2005)

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Japan's role in World War II gets a whole new perspective in this consisting entirely of full color footage, including color films from Japan that were recently discovered. As the visuals of the world war take on a new vivid immediateness, the story of the rise of the militarists in Japan is told through the personal writings of the Japanese themselves. From the first overconfident tastes of victory, to the devastating losses that led to an unthinkable defeat amidst the ruins, the Pacific Theater of World War II is told through the Japanese's eyes. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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17 January 2005 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Heartbreaking
10 September 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

For most, WWII has been something visually learned about through black-and-white video in the dimensions of the 4:3 screen (unless they're teaching it via Hollywood fiction these days... which wouldn't surprise me). There is a distance, marking that era as something that doesn't really apply to us. We're colour people. It's a new world.

Well, here we have a collection of colour film, mostly relating to Japan, covering the lead-up, through to the aftermath, of WWII (which for Japan lasted 8 years, starting with their invasion of China). I doubt it was all shot in widescreen, but it's presented in the widescreen format, without distortion. Suddenly, it's not so far away any more.

I've seen two notable features relating to Japan in WWII in whole or in part from the Japanese characters' perspective in recent years: Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) and Nanjing! Nanjing! (2009). They are both interesting, are filmed excellently, and move the viewer (and you won't forget the latter of the two).

In comparison, this documentary pieced together from a variety of found film sources, plus readings from diaries and journals, packs a punch you don't see coming. How much colour film could there be, and what would be on it? There's quite a lot, and it gets more and more difficult to watch as it proceeds.

The senseless loss of life, in a war based in large part on religion, is just staggering. And the "god"-man who could have stopped it all walks out of it with impunity, to cheers.

Nobody comes out of this looking good. Carpet bombing of civilians, culminating in reckless nuclear destruction and the slaughter of children by radiation poisoning are war crimes the US has never been held to account for.

You won't learn much about the strategies of the war, or the politics of it, but a surprising number of key events in the war are presented, and they are in chronological order, so you can get a sense of the times and the progression of it. And you will certainly be reminded again about the barbarity that people are ever-willing to inflict on each other, and you'll see and hear the results inside Japan.

I think every person should see this documentary, to learn something important about humans.


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