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The Burmese Harp ()

Biruma no tategoto (original title)
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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.

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Awards:
  • Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations.
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Cast

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Rentarô Mikuni ...
Captain Inouye
...
Mizushima
Jun Hamamura ...
Ito
Taketoshi Naitô ...
Kobayashi (as Takeo Naito)
Shunji Kasuga ...
Maki
Kô Nishimura ...
Baba (as Akira Nishimura)
Keishichi Nakahara ...
Takagi
Toshiaki Itô ...
Hashimoto
Hiroshi Hijikata ...
Okada
Tomio Aoki ...
Oyama
Norikatsu Hanamura ...
Nakamura
Sanpei Mine ...
Abe
Takashi Koshiba ...
Shimizu
Tomoko Tonai
Tokuhei Miyahara ...
Nagai
Yoshiaki Kato ...
Matsuda
Masahiko Naruse ...
Soldier
Bin Moritsuka ...
Soldier
Sôjirô Amano ...
Soldier
Yôji Nagahama ...
Boy
Kunitarô Sawamura ...
Old man
Eiji Nakamura ...
Old monk
Asao Sano ...
Soldier
Shôjirô Ogasawara ...
Soldier
Tanie Kitabayashi ...
Old woman
...
Defense Commander
Yûnosuke Itô ...
Village head
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shôki Fukae ...
Soldier
Hiroshi Ichimura
Keiji Itami
Jun Kizaki ...
(as Kyôji Chiyo)
Ken Mikasa
Victor Minenko ...
British Soldier

Directed by

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Kon Ichikawa

Written by

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Michio Takeyama ... (novel)
 
Natto Wada ... ()

Produced by

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Masayuki Takagi ... producer

Music by

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Akira Ifukube

Cinematography by

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Minoru Yokoyama

Film Editing by

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Masanori Tsujii

Production Design by

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Akira Nakai

Art Direction by

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Takashi Matsuyama

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

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Toshio Masuda ... assistant director

Sound Department

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Masakazu Kamiya ... sound

Camera and Electrical Department

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Kô Fujibayashi ... gaffer

Music Department

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Yoshie Abe ... harp

Other crew

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Haruhi Yokoyama ... choreographer

Production Companies

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Distributors

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Special Effects

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Other Companies

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Storyline

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Plot Summary

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

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Additional Details

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Also Known As
  • Biruma no tategoto: Daiichi-bu - bôkyô-hen (Japan)
  • Biruma no tategoto: Daini-bu (Japan)
  • The Burmese Harp (United States)
  • The Burmese Harp (World-wide, English title)
  • La harpe de Birmanie (France)
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Runtime
  • 116 min
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Did You Know?

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Trivia Kon Ichikawa said the original novel was treated as a fantasy, but he chose to eliminate that aspect of the story. See more »
Goofs The modern harp (with its pedal changes and its consequent ability to make changes of harmony, in particular)that is played throughout on the film's soundtrack does not match the much more basic instrument shown in the film. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Burden of Love (1955). See more »
Soundtracks Hanyuu no Yado See more »
Quotes Captain Inouye: [Excerpt from Mizushima's letter, which Captain Inouye reads to his men as they sail back to Japan] As I climbed mountains and crossed streams, burying the bodies left in the grasses and streams, my heart was wracked with questions. Why must the world suffer such misery? Why must there be such inexplicable pain? As the days passed, I came to understand. I realized that, in the end, the answers were not for human beings to know, that our work is simply to ease the great suffering of the world. To have the courage to face suffering, senselessness and irrationality without fear, to find the strength to create peace by one's own example. I will undergo whatever training is necessary for this to become my unshakable conviction.
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