3 user 3 critic

Visas and Virtue (1997)

Europe, 1940. For thousands of Jews, a Japanese diplomat and his wife defy Tokyo and the Nazis, and offer visas, for life.


Chris Tashima
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Chris Tashima ... Chiune 'Sempo' Sugihara
Susan Fukuda ... Yukiko Sugihara
Diana Georger ... Helena Rosen
Lawrence Craig ... Nathan Rosen
Shizuko Hoshi Shizuko Hoshi ... Narrator (Elderly Mrs. Sugihara)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shauna Bloom ... Woman
Jon Cellini ... Brother
Martin Fontana Martin Fontana ... Man
Gibson Frazier ... Cantor
Alan H. Friedenthal Alan H. Friedenthal ... Refugee #1
Eric Gugisch Eric Gugisch ... German Officer
Linda Igarashi ... Setsuko
Jonathan Klein ... Brother
Noel Miller Noel Miller ... Young Man
Kyoko Motoyama ... Elderly Yuki


Haunted by the sight of hundreds of Jewish refugees outside the consulate gates, a Japanese diplomat and his wife, stationed in Kaunas, Lithuania at the beginning of World War II, must decide how much they are willing to risk. Inspired by a true story, VISAS AND VIRTUE explores the moral and professional dilemmas that Consul General Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara faces in making a life or death decision: defy his own government's direct orders and risk his career, by issuing live-saving transit visas, or obey orders and turn his back on humanity. This Academy Award® winning 26-minute portrait gracefully captured in period black and white by noted cinematographer Hiro Narita poignantly pays tribute to the rescuer of 6,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Written by Cedar Grove Productions

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A short film inspired by the true story of Chiune Sugihara


Short | Biography | Drama | War

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Production designer Yuki Nakamura served as hand double for actor Chris Tashima for the close-up shot of Sugihara's hand, writing visas in Japanese. Nakamura was born and educated in Japan, and was able to write the kanji characters much more quickly (and efficiently), creating the proper urgency for the scene in the montage. See more »


Although Shizuko Hoshi performed the scripted voice-over narration for the film (as an elderly Mrs. Sugihara), there are three lines of narration that are not her voice, but instead are spoken by Susan Fukuda (who plays younger Mrs. Sugihara). This was due to an error by the director, Chris Tashima, during post production. Tashima had always intended to have Hoshi provide narration throughout. During principal photography, sound mixer Yehuda Maayan recorded a temp track of Fukuda reading all of the voice over lines, so that editor Irvin Paik would have an audio track to cut with in editing. Later in post production, a recording session was arranged with Hoshi, and Tashima made a dialogue cue sheet of all the narration lines for Hoshi to record from. However, he missed three lines from the script. It was only discovered in final sound editing that the three lines were never recorded by Hoshi. With a completion date nearing, it was decided to go with takes from Fukuda's temp track (to save time). As it turns out, in the finished film, Tashima felt it actually works very well, since the three lines that are spoken by Fukuda are heard during the 1940 scenes in Lithuania (where Fukuda is also onscreen), and, as a more subtle audio transition, it helped the audience ease back into 1985 (when Hoshi is heard in closing narration). See more »


Yukiko Sugihara: Even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies to him for refuge.
See more »


Featured in KCAL 9 News: Episode dated 23 March 1998 (1998) See more »

User Reviews

Moving Film
19 August 2005 | by lkcollins75See all my reviews

We were living in Japan when we first saw this moving film. Sugihara-san was in the news since the Japanese government had finally acknowledged his humanitarian work during the war. What a special vantage point for viewing this particular movie! We were fortunate to know one of the members of the production staff on the film, so we were aware of the budget limitations. However, this lack was more than compensated for by the enthusiasm and dedication of all participants in seeing it completed. It is most worthy of the accolades heaped upon it. The story is compelling, the acting is outstanding and all the production values are on the screen. Filming the piece in black and white gave it just the right vintage look. A big, "Arigato gozaimasu" (thank you) to everyone who persisted in seeing this picture become a reality. Generations to come who see it will also be grateful.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | Japanese

Release Date:

20 April 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Висас и Вирту See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Recently Viewed