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The Burmese Harp (1956)

Biruma no tategoto (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Music, War | 28 April 1967 (USA)
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

Writers:

Michio Takeyama (novel), Natto Wada
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Goichi Mizoguchi, an aspiring Buddhist monk who became involved in the temple that was owned by his father, through a series of flashbacks, framed as a police interrogation, Mizoguchi ... See full summary »

Director: Kon Ichikawa
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Ganjirô Nakamura, Tatsuya Nakadai
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rentarô Mikuni Rentarô Mikuni ... Captain Inouye
Shôji Yasui ... Mizushima
Jun Hamamura Jun Hamamura ... Ito
Taketoshi Naitô Taketoshi Naitô ... Kobayashi (as Takeo Naito)
Shunji Kasuga Shunji Kasuga ... Maki
Kô Nishimura Kô Nishimura ... Baba (as Akira Nishimura)
Keishichi Nakahara Keishichi Nakahara ... Takagi
Toshiaki Itô Toshiaki Itô ... Hashimoto
Hiroshi Hijikata Hiroshi Hijikata ... Okada
Tomio Aoki Tomio Aoki ... Oyama
Norikatsu Hanamura Norikatsu Hanamura ... Nakamura
Sanpei Mine Sanpei Mine ... Abe
Takashi Koshiba Takashi Koshiba ... Shimizu
Tomoko Tonai Tomoko Tonai
Tokuhei Miyahara Tokuhei Miyahara ... Nagai
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Storyline

Mizushima is a soldier in the Japanese army in Burma in World War II. He's a good soldier and frequently plays his harp to entertain his fellow soldiers. When the war comes to an end, he is asked by the British to go into the mountains to try and convince a Japanese troop to surrender. Given only 30 minutes to convince them, Mizushima is unsuccessful - they would rather die with honor - and the British attack. Deeply affected by what has happened, he becomes a Buddhist monk, traveling the countryside burying the remains of Japanese soldiers. He is unable however to rejoin his brothers-in-arms. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

28 April 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Burmese Harp See more »

Filming Locations:

Burma See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nikkatsu See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (part one) | (part two)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Bloomsbury Foreign Film Guide by Ronald Bergan and Robyn Karney, this World War II film was "one of the first Japanese films concerned with pacifist themes related to the defeat of Japan in 1945." See more »

Goofs

The 'British' officer in charge of the funerary cremation repository speaks with a decidedly Australian, not British, accent. See more »

Quotes

British officer: We've done all we can. The troops that took Triangle Mountain have returned home. The Japanese survivors are not in this town.
Captain Inouye: But that tune?
British officer: You hear a certain way of playing - a few notes floating by the breeze, and it's enough to make you think a dead man is alive. You must be dreaming.
British officer: [to his adjutant] He must be dreaming!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ai no onimotsu (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Hanyuu no Yado
(Japanese Version of 'Home Sweet Home')
See more »

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User Reviews

 
a movie to carry with you
9 July 2005 | by jason-167See all my reviews

Living in Thailand at the age of 10, I saw this movie broadcast on TV. Thirty years later I still think of it. And eventually I became a dharma student. Coincidence? I think not! Such is the awesome impact of this movie. More than an important anti-war film, it can really bring out some seldom expressed feelings - not because of carefully crafted scenarios which bring moral indignation against war, confusion or cruelty, but instead showing a more natural horror of war's results. After watching the film for the third time, I still feel a deep visceral pang when Mizushima covers his face and runs past yet another mountain of rotting bodies he finds on the shores of the river.

What's really sad is that you can't get the movie on DVD!


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