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Emperor (2012)

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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.

Director:

Peter Webber

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 Masatô Ibu ... Koichi Kido
Isao Natsuyagi ... Teizaburo Sekiya
Takatarô Kataoka Takatarô Kataoka ... Emperor Hirohito
Aaron Jackson Aaron Jackson ... Lt Col. Rogers
Nic Sampson ... Lieutenant Red
Shôhei Hino Shôhei Hino ... Hideki Tojo
Will Wallace ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

27 July 2013 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Imperador See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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, 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 »

Quotes

General Bonner Fellers: [surveying the badly-destroyed school at Shizuoka City] I want to know who survived this raid. I would like a list.
Takahashi: I can get you a list of the dead, Sir.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Genesis of a Decision
14 August 2013 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In the fine biographical movie MacArthur which starred Gregory Peck as the controversial general only a small part was devoted to the years as Supreme Commander Allied Powers in charge of the occupation of Japan. Even liberal historians give Douglas MacArthur credit for the vast and peaceful societal change that our occupation of Japan post World War II wrought. We haven't been that successful since. And only a part of that part of the movie concerned the decision about the Emperor's fate.

Emperor concerns those fateful first days of the occupation when MacArthur made the decision not to try the Emperor or members of the royal family as war criminals. Doing the investigation on MacArthur's behalf was General Bonner Fellers who was an army intelligence officer with a background in Japanese language and culture. Matthew Fox is General Fellers and he's got another mission for himself, to find an exchange student from Japan from his youth and whom he knew up to the declaration of war between the USA and Japan.

Tommy Lee Jones plays MacArthur and while he doesn't have that majestic cultured voice that MacArthur had, he still creates a good impression of the imperious general who had a dislike of civil authority. In fact traces of the behavior that got him sacked by Harry Truman during the Korean War are shown. In this case though MacArthur with help of Fellers and his own knowledge of the Asian scene had the right instincts.

The Emperor of Japan centuries ago was a true ruler and over the centuries evolved into a constitutional monarch. But not the same as that Windsor family that reigns in the United Kingdom. The Japanese Shinto religion conferred divine status, the original emperor one Jimmu Tenno is supposed to be descended from the sun god. Japan's wars and foreign policy were done in his name, still are to some extent. A greater decision from Hirohito's part came when he said that he and his family were not divine.

Not covered in this film was the fact that Hirohito had some brothers, at least one of them would have been a more than willing tool of the army and navy chiefs who conducted Japan's war. He faced until the surrender the distinct possibility of being overthrown himself by one of his siblings.

Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones and the Japanese cast are perfectly cast in their roles and I recommend this film as good entertainment and for those with an interest in the Far East.


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