As the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, General Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.
A story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. On the staff of General Douglas MacArthur (Jones), the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces, a leading Japanese expert, General Bonner Fellers (Fox) is charged with reaching a decision of historical importance: should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal? Interwoven is the story of Fellers' love affair with Aya, a Japanese exchange student he had met years previously in the U.S. Memories of Aya and his quest to find her in the ravaged post-war landscape help Fellers to discover both his wisdom and his humanity and enable him to come to the momentous decision that changed the course of history and the future of two nations.Written by
The romantic story between Fellers and Aya was entirely fictional for the film. Bonner F. Fellers was married in 1925 to Dorothy Dysart who accompanied him twice on his posting to the Phillipines, and she also went with him to China and Japan. See more »
In the opening sequence, they show a B-29 departing to deliver an atomic bomb (incorrectly shown as Fat Man, the Hiroshima bomb was in fact Little Boy), and the aircraft is marked with "A 24" on the vertical stabilizer. The Enola Gay had a large "R" in a circle on the vertical stabilizer, and the number "82" written on the aft portion of the fuselage. See more »
[Noticing Bonner Fellers looking at a propaganda pamphlet on her shelf]
The Army is teaching kids to hate foreigners. Those pamphlets on the shelf - they hand them out everywhere. I hate what it's doing to people.
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The Emperor Strikes Back
I thought I might be the only one who found this film interesting since I spent 7 years in Japan and happened to be there when Emperor Hirohito died. At that time, there was a renewed discussion of how much he was responsible for beginning World War II. In the end, it seemed he was more or less strong-armed into the war by right wing politicians. True, he could be blamed for being weak-willed, but he did not have the mental constitution to be an emperor in the first place. If he could have chosen, he would have been a marine biologist, as marine biology was his hobby and passion. There was no more confusing and cathartic time in Japanese history than when MacArthur and the American military came in to occupy Japan. The entire society had to re-evaluate itself on all levels. How could they, the greatest people in the world, be conquered by such an uncultured civilization? This question persists until the present day.
It was not clear at the beginning of this film whether it was a true story or a story based around true events. If the fact that it was a true story had been made clearer, it would have been more compelling. Nonetheless, it did capture most of the turbulent elements of that time. The love affair, that parallels this story is a good one and one that exposes the prejudice that existed against any Japanese woman who dared marry outside her culture. Eriko Hatsune was perfect in the role of an intelligent woman caught between tradition and emotion. Unfortunately, Matthew Foxx (General Bonner Fellers) acted as if he had been hit by a tranquilizer dart. Tommy Lee Jones overacted the role of MacArthur and was equally unconvincing.
Be warned. This is not an action movie,though a few action scenes exist. This is mainly a movie based on philosophic discussions, psychology, and cultural misunderstandings. Still, it offers a good view of an important time in world history.
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