absurdity of war (=ww2) through japanese eyes

by ethanoel | created - 22 Feb 2015 | updated - 28 Nov 2017 | Public

a shortish compilation of war films from the japanese viewpoint. the emphasis in my selection is on the eternal absurdity and insanity of war.

but as you all can see 70 years after ww2 humankind has learned nothing from history: the eternal absurdity continues in the middle east africa jemen south sudan ukraine etc. as long as there are two erect dicks left on this planet they will fight each other. all evil under the sun generates from the groin as famous finnish author mika waltari so wisely put it...

NB films made in 193X-1945 are mostly blatant propaganda pieces for the militaristic goverment; the years 1945-1952 were the occupation years so the films were apologetic to appease and please the americans.

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1. Shanhai rikusentai (1939)

93 min | Action, War

A documentary style film that depicts the battle in Shanghai during World War II using the city and its actual ruins as an actual backdrop to the narrative. The realism extended to the use ... See full summary »

Director: Hisatora Kumagai | Stars: Den Ohinata, Setsuko Hara, Sumie Tsubaki, Hideo Saeki

Votes: 7

3. Bôrô no kesshitai (1943)

95 min | Action, War

The story centres around a border security team in 1935 Korea. Upon receiving new recruits they hold a welcome party including a restaurant owner and his daughter. The border's commander ... See full summary »

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Minoru Takada, Setsuko Hara, Hideo Saito, Ichirô Sugai

Votes: 7

4. Kato hayabusa sento-tai (1944)

110 min | Action, War

Biographical movie about Colonel Kato, an officer serving with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in Southeast Asia, he was highly respected by his pilots for his fairness and excellent flying ability.

Director: Kajirô Yamamoto | Stars: Susumu Fujita, Minoru Takada, Denjirô Ôkôchi, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 51

5. Dear Soldier (1944)

99 min | War

The parents of the young Korean men conscripted into the Japanese army during the second world war are proud to send their children off to battle in this propaganda film ordered by the Japanese government

Director: Han-jun Bang | Stars: Geum-ryong Lee, Ok Jeon, Il-hae Kim, Han Kim

Votes: 15

6. Army (1944)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, War

A widow raises her sickly son to be strong enough to join the army and fight on the front lines.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Ken Mitsuda, Kazumasa Hoshino, Kinuyo Tanaka

Votes: 245

8. Morning for the Osone Family (1946)

Not Rated | 81 min | Drama

A Japanese family weathers much hardship after their military uncle comes to live with them during WWII.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Haruko Sugimura, Toshinosuke Nagao, Shin Tokudaiji, Mitsuko Miura

Votes: 195

9. Desertion at Dawn (1950)

116 min | Drama, War

Mikami, a Japanese soldier serving in China, is captured by the Chinese. Although he is able to escape, his troubles are far from over. He returns to his unit but is treated with contempt ... See full summary »

Director: Senkichi Taniguchi | Stars: Ryô Ikebe, Shirley Yamaguchi, Eitarô Ozawa, Hajime Izu

Votes: 29

11. Till We Meet Again (1950)

110 min | Drama, History

The hero Saburo (Okada Eiji) is obstructed by a series of events from meeting Keiko (Kuga Yoshiko), his fiancee.

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Yoshiko Kuga, Eiji Okada, Osamu Takizawa, Akitake Kôno

Votes: 92

12. Children of Hiroshima (1952)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, War

86 Metascore

Post war Hiroshima: It's been four years since the last time she visited her hometown. Takako faces the after effects of the A-bomb when she travels around the city to call on old friends.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Osamu Takizawa, Masao Shimizu, Jûkichi Uno

Votes: 874

16. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

Not Rated | 156 min | Drama

Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi forms an emotional bond with her pupils and teaches them various virtues, while at the same time worrying about their future.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Hideki Gôko, Itsuo Watanabe, Makoto Miyagawa, Takeo Terashita

Votes: 2,004

18. The Burmese Harp (1956)

Not Rated | 116 min | Drama, Music, War

In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk.

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Shôji Yasui, Tatsuya Mihashi, Jun Hamamura

Votes: 4,957

19. Fires on the Plain (1959)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, War

In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation.

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Eiji Funakoshi, Mantarô Ushio, Yoshihiro Hamaguchi, Osamu Takizawa

Votes: 3,991

20. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)

Not Rated | 208 min | Drama, War

A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima

Votes: 5,284

21. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (II) (1959)

Not Rated | 181 min | Drama, History, War

As a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist struggles to maintain his determination to keep his ideals.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Kokinji Katsura, Jun Tatara

Votes: 4,157

22. The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961)

Not Rated | 190 min | Drama, History, War

His ideals challenged by life as a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist faces ever greater tests in his fight for survival.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Tamao Nakamura, Yûsuke Kawazu

Votes: 4,067

23. Dokuritsu gurentai (1959)

109 min | Drama, War, Action

When Sergeant Okubo's brother is murdered at a Japanese outpost in Northern China during the Second World War, Okubo poses as a war correspondent and seeks out his brother's killer. The ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Makoto Satô, Izumi Yukimura, Misa Uehara, Tadao Nakamaru

Votes: 139

24. Fort Graveyard (1965)

132 min | Drama, Music, War

In 1945, Japanese Army Sergeant Kosugi and a platoon of young green recruits must retake and defend a fort occupied by the Chinese forces.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Makoto Satô, Reiko Dan, Yûnosuke Itô

Votes: 148

25. Heitai yakuza (1965)

103 min | Action, Crime, War

A young intellectual conscientious objector is forced to serve with the Japanese army in Manchuria. He joins with a dim-witted former gangster in an effort to desert by stealing a train.

Director: Yasuzô Masumura | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Takahiro Tamura, Mikio Narita, Eiko Taki

Votes: 110

26. The Red Angel (1966)

95 min | Drama, Romance, War

During the Sino-Japanese War, a young army nurse gives sympathy to her patients and falls in love with an impotent doctor who's addicted to morphine.

Director: Yasuzô Masumura | Stars: Ayako Wakao, Shinsuke Ashida, Yûsuke Kawazu, Ranko Akagi

Votes: 1,133

27. The Human Bullet (1968)

116 min | Drama, War

During World War II, a Japanese soldier finds himself assigned to a kamikaze mission against a U.S. battleship.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Minori Terada, Naoko Ôtani, Yûnosuke Itô, Shinsuke Achiwa

Votes: 275

28. Gekido no showashi: Okinawa kessen (1971)

149 min | Drama, History, War

Told from the Japanese perspective, this war drama captures the events of World War II's Battle of Okinawa - a massive amphibious assault by U.S. troops that left more than 150,000 Japanese civilians dead.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Keiju Kobayashi, Yûzô Kayama, Tetsurô Tanba, Tatsuya Nakadai

Votes: 243

29. Aa koe naki tomo (1972)

105 min | Drama, War

Nishiyama (Atsumi) is the only one to survive in his platoon in WWII Japan. After the war is over, he begins a long voyage of 8 years throughout Japan to deliver 12 letters left by his ... See full summary »

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Kiyoshi Atsumi, Kôji Moritsugu, Kazuo Kitamura, Mayumi Ogawa

Votes: 5

30. Dear Summer Sister (1972)

96 min | Comedy, Drama

Story is about a Tokyo girl looking round Okinawa island for her long-lost brother and finding he is the tourist guide with whom she has had an affair.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima | Stars: Hiromi Kurita, Shôji Ishibashi, Lily, Hôsei Komatsu

Votes: 129

32. Sandakan 8 (1974)

120 min | Drama, History, War

A journalist interviews an old woman who was forced into prostitution, just like many other Japanese women working in Asia outside of Japan during the first half of the 20th century. She worked in a Malaysian brothel called Sandakan 8.

Director: Kei Kumai | Stars: Komaki Kurihara, Yôko Takahashi, Kinuyo Tanaka, Takiko Mizunoe

Votes: 444

33. Children of Nagasaki (1983)

128 min | Drama, War

In Nagasaki, Japan, on 09 August 1945, at 11:02 AM, 80.000 dead and thousand of persons wounded or contaminated by radiation were victims of one of the most hideous crimes of the mankind ... See full summary »

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Gô Katô, Yukiyo Toake, Masatomo Nakabayashi, Mami Nishijima

Votes: 91

34. Tokyo Trial (1983)

277 min | Documentary, War

Documentary covering the Tokyo trials from 1946-48

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Star: Kei Satô

Votes: 159

35. The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987)

Not Rated | 122 min | Documentary, War

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara | Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Toshio Hara

Votes: 1,285

36. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 201,165

37. Black Rain (1989)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel.

Director: Shôhei Imamura | Stars: Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara, Shôichi Ozawa

Votes: 2,698

38. Sensou to seishun (1991)

112 min

An auto repairman's daughter questions him about what happened to her aunt during the war, but the father remains reticent. Finally the man opens up, and the girl is able to piece together her aunt's tragic story.

Director: Tadashi Imai | Stars: Yûki Kudô, Yumiko Fujita, Hisashi Igawa, Chôichirô Kawarasaki

Votes: 20

39. Japanese Devils (2001)

160 min | Documentary, War

A documentary recording the testimony of fourteen former Japanese soldiers as they recount atrocities and war crimes committed during the Second World War, including the infamous Unit 731 ... See full summary »

Director: Minoru Matsui | Stars: Yoshio Tsuchiya, Hakudo Nagatomi, Yoshio Shinozuka, Taisuke Funyu

Votes: 119

40. Wings of Defeat (2007)

89 min | Documentary

Wings of Defeat is a feature-length documentary exploring the human experience of surviving kamikaze pilots. When director, Risa Morimoto, learned that her beloved uncle had trained as a ... See full summary »

Director: Risa Morimoto | Stars: Eugene Brick, Henry Christensen, John Dower, Takehiko Ena

Votes: 101

41. White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007)

Not Rated | 86 min | Documentary, History

Using extensive interviews with survivors and archival footage, an examination reveals the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Director: Steven Okazaki | Stars: Harold Agnew, Shuntaro Hida, Kiyoko Imori, Morris Jeppson

Votes: 1,607

42. Fires on the Plain (2014)

87 min | Drama, War

A Japanese soldier endures illness, starvation and brutality in the Philippines at the tail end of WW2.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto | Stars: Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Lily Franky, Tatsuya Nakamura, Yûsaku Mori

Votes: 510

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