57 user 82 critic

Emperor (2012)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, War | 27 July 2013 (Japan)
2:24 | Trailer
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.


Peter Webber


Vera Blasi (screenplay), David Klass (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Fox ... General Bonner Fellers
Tommy Lee Jones ... General Douglas MacArthur
Eriko Hatsune ... Aya Shimada
Toshiyuki Nishida Toshiyuki Nishida ... General Kajima
Masayoshi Haneda ... Takahashi
Kaori Momoi ... Mitsuko Kajima
Colin Moy ... General Richter
Masatoshi Nakamura Masatoshi Nakamura ... Prince Konoe
Masatô Ibu ... Koichi Kido
Isao Natsuyagi ... Teizaburo Sekiya
Takatarô Kataoka Takatarô Kataoka ... Emperor Hirohito
Aaron Jackson ... Lt Col. Rogers
Nic Sampson ... Lieutenant Red
Shôhei Hino Shôhei Hino ... Hideki Tojo
Will Wallace ... CIC Commander


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


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.


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Before the U.S. entry into World War II, then-Colonel Fellers, a psychological warfare officer, was responsible for writing detailed reports about British military activities in North Africa. The Germans came to recognize Feller's code name and were able to break the codes. This had serious repercussions for the British in their engagements in Tobruk and elsewhere. The code was changed as the U.S. entered the war. This, along with his efforts in postwar Japan, is one of the two things that Bonner F. Fellers is known for. The epilogue of the film states that Fellers was demoted to the rank of colonel. This was not because of anything he had done but in line with postwar reductions in the military. In 1948 he was granted the retirement rank of Brigadier General. See more »


When BG Fellers awaits the arrival of the emperor for the meeting with MacArthur, he is wearing a "Class A" uniform. His right shoulder epaulet end is improperly *above* his collar, rather than the proper placement *under* the collar. During the meeting between MacArthur and the emperor, the epaulet has been placed properly. It is possible that someone might have advised BG Fellers of his uniform mistake, but there did not seem to be sufficient time or opportunity within the flow of the scenes to do so. See more »


General Bonner Fellers: [voice-over] The worst war in all history is over. Now is the time to win this fragile peace.
See more »

User Reviews

An intimate and criminally underrated war drama.
21 May 2014 | by Jonathon_NatsisSee all my reviews

Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones play polarising American WW2 army generals to a tee in Emperor, the compellingly true story of the aftermath of the war in Japan, and the concerted US effort to compile enough evidence to convict Japanese Emperor Hirohito of war crimes. Trained on a seldom-acknowledged aspect of mankind's greatest battle, Emperor infuses a grand story with intimate relationships, making for a superb addition to the voluminous library of war on film.

While Tommy Lee Jones relishes in playing every Tommy Lee Jones character ever (stealing all the best lines in the process) as the hard-nosed but cunning General MacArthur, Fox delivers a more grounded and arresting performance as Bonner Fellers, a man torn between his moral obligations and his duty to the army, and to an American public crying out for blood.

Director Peter Webber infuses a romantic subplot with Fellers' Japanese girlfriend Aya (Eriko Hatsune) neatly, filling a role but never interjecting into a story that, quite frankly, is underscored by the power of men post-war. When MacArthur finally comes face-to-face with the Emperor after an excruciating build-up, the scene's emotional force and intense interplay perfectly resonate the best attributes of this vastly underrated drama.

*There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on jnatsis@iprimus.com.au and let me know what you thought of my review. If you're looking for a writer for your movie website or other publication, I'd also love to hear from you.*

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Japan | USA


English | Japanese

Release Date:

27 July 2013 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Emperor See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,014,099, 10 March 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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