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Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972)

Gunki hatameku motoni (original title)
One woman's search to find the truth about her husband's death in World War II.


Kinji Fukasaku


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tetsurô Tanba ... Sergeant Katsuo Togashi
Sachiko Hidari ... Sakie Togashi
Shinjirô Ebara Shinjirô Ebara ... (as Shinjirô Ehara)
Isao Natsuyagi
Sanae Nakahara Sanae Nakahara ... Mrs. Ochi
Yumiko Fujita Yumiko Fujita ... Sakie's daughter
Noboru Mitani Noboru Mitani ... Pvt. Tsuguo Terajima
Taketoshi Naitô Taketoshi Naitô
Kôichi Yamamoto Kôichi Yamamoto
Paul Maki Paul Maki
Mugihito Mugihito
Shônosuke Ichikawa Shônosuke Ichikawa
Hachizô Fujikawa Hachizô Fujikawa
Sakae Umezu
Harukazu Kitami Harukazu Kitami


Twenty six years after the execution of her soldier husband on the dying days of World War II the widow is still searching for the truth by meeting with, questioning and interviewing the dead man's comrades, companions and executioner. The stories retold are one part of the reason why war is as bad as has been said. The state and existence of the survivors is another witness to the dangers of war and warmongers. Written by aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | War


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Release Date:

12 March 1972 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Under the Fluttering Military Flag See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Japan for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 45th Academy Awards in 1973. See more »


[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Pvt. Tsuguo Terajima: I ate a man ... a man. But the world didn't change.
See more »


Referenced in Black Sunshine: Conversations with T.F. Mou (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

A distinguished entry by Fukasaku and an important Japanese WWII film
27 December 2008 | by sc8031See all my reviews

"Under the Flag of the Rising Sun" or "Gunki hatameku motoni" is a film by Kinji Fukasaku, a Japanese director renown for his work in the crime and 'chambara' film genres. This film was made by the director amid a streak of Yakuza-oriented films and shares some of the same filming style characteristic of his other films, detailed and somber character portraits, sudden outbursts of intentionally ugly and clumsy violence, intimate romantic relationships which end tragically or abruptly, and protagonists who have trouble compromising their own moral integrity to fit in with changing social hierarchies.

The main protagonist of this film is a Japanese war widow attempting to find out the actual events behind her husband's disappearance from his military station in New Guinea. After the war, Sakie Togashi never received a pension for her husband's military service because Sergeant Togashi was apparently court-martialed, but no official details are disclosed to her by social services or government offices for twenty years after his disappearance. Feeling sorry for her, several social workers give her the names of four men from her husband's platoon who returned to Japan after the war.

The film mixes the present-day (1970s) settings and quest of Sakie Togashi with various flashbacks involving her husband and the company members on New Guinea. This is interspersed with old war footage and photographs from the Pacific Theater. The more chaotic or violent scenes are often filmed in the manner of many action films from the early 1970s, with chopped, slow-motion effects and caustic drawn-out sounds.

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun is reminiscent of other important films (Rashomon, Jacob's Ladder, The Deer Hunter, The Human Condition) about the aftereffects of 20th century war on the human psyche, family and social networks, and the common people who end up fighting for their country. There are some good quotes from some of the retired soldiers, such as "people from the bottom of the heap never rest in peace," implying that individuals who occupy the less influential rungs of society are constantly manipulated by those in positions of power. It is a unique film for a Japanese filmmaker, in a country rarely known to recant its actions during World War II.

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