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.

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 ... 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 close up on General Feller's typewriter upon which he is writing his initial report to MacArthur, he is seen typing "Pearl Harbour", using the British spelling. An American general would have used the American spelling and typed "Pearl Harbor". See more »

Quotes

Koichi Kido: [describing the Supreme Council meeting the on midnight of August 9th, 1945] The Emperor, who was quietly listening, began to speak, "I trust the Allies," he said. "I want to accept their terms. I wish you all to agree with me." The War Minister Anami begged the Emperor, "Emperor, please do not surrender. You must not surrender." The Emperor repeated, "I wish you all to agree with me."
See more »

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User Reviews

 
'To understand Japan, you must understand Devotion.'
3 August 2013 | by gradyharpSee 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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