6.5/10
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Emperor (2012)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, War | 27 July 2013 (Japan)
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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... General Bonner Fellers
... General Douglas MacArthur
... Aya Shimada
Toshiyuki Nishida ... General Kajima
... Takahashi
... Mitsuko Kajima
... General Richter
Masatoshi Nakamura ... Prince Konoe
Masatô Ibu ... Koichi Kido
... Teizaburo Sekiya
Takatarô Kataoka ... Emperor Hirohito
... Lt Col. Rogers
... Lieutenant Red
Shôhei Hino ... Hideki Tojo
... CIC Commander
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Storyline

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 Production

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Japan 1945: General Douglas MacArthur was given a mission to decide the fate of a nation, the guilt of a leader, and the true price of peace.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent content, brief strong language and smoking (historical) | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

27 July 2013 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Imperador  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,014,099, 10 March 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,345,315, 9 June 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,346,265, 13 September 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aya Shimada is based on a woman, Yuri Watanabe, Fellers met at Earlham college in 1915. Fellers and Watanabe were lifelong friends until her death in June 1954. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence the film makers use archival film showing an atom bomb being loaded into the bomb bay a B-29 for the attack on Hiroshima. The bomb shown is "Fat Man" and not "Little Boy" that was used on the attack on Hiroshima (8-6-1945). "Fat Man" was used in the second attack, three days later (8-9-1945) on Nagasaki. See more »

Quotes

Teizaburo Sekiya: [re-enacting Emperor Hirohito's recital of a tanka poem to the ministers at an Imperial Council Meeting three months before the outbreak of war] "It is our hope that all the world's oceans be joined in peace, so why do the winds and waves now rise up in an angry rage?"
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User Reviews

 
'To understand Japan, you must understand Devotion.'
3 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

Shiro Okamoto's book 'His Majesty's Salvation' has been adapted for the screen by Vera Blasi and David Klass and renamed EMPEROR. Director Peter Webber (Hannibal Rising, Girl with a Pearl Earring) keeps what might have been a patchwork quilt story tightly woven and if the movie delivers nothing else, it gives insight into the relationship between Japan and the US after the devastation of the atomic bomb and the resultant surrender of Japan. For that alone the film is well worth watching.

The setting of the film is 1945 when General MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) steps onto the shores of Japan as the Supreme Commander of the occupying forces. Assigned to rebuild Japan after the war MacArthur selects General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), a man with a history with Japan before the war, including a love affair with a Japanese student Aya Shimada (Eriko Hatsune) in America before the war: Aya returned to Japan when relations with between Japan and the US began to dissolve and Fellers followed her for a futile attempt to overcome differences between cultures and impending historic changes, to investigate whether Emperor Hirohito (Takatarô Kataoka) should be tried and hanged as a war criminal. 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. He meets with the advisors to the Emperor, is rebuked by the Japanese citizenry, and is frustrated with the information he is basically unable to gather until he finally arranges through the aid of his translator chauffeur a meeting between the Emperor and MacArthur in which the Emperor's perception of human dignity is presented and MacArthur has found his answer Feller's sought.

Throughout the film we are reminded about the basic cultural differences between not only East and West, but particularly the culture of Japan - a culture deeply dependent on devotion to Emperor and country. It is an enlightening journey for us as audience, one of understanding and respect, and one that should be more widely shared. Matthew Fox does well with his bifurcated role and he is strongly supported by a very fine cast of Japanese actors. This is a film from which we all can learn important issues while being entertained with a fine period piece.

Grady Harp


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