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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

General Kajima: We did our duty, but we lost our humanity. You must understand, we Japanese are a selfless people capable of immense sacrifice because of our complete devotion to a set of ideas. We are also ruthless warriors capable of unspeakable crimes because of that same complete devotion. I cannot tell you if the Emperor is guilty or innocent. I don't know if he brought us to war, but he has brought us to peace.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An enjoyable, if a bit dry, historical film
14 September 2012 | by akritcheverSee all my reviews

Just saw Emperor at TIFF tonight. It was an enjoyable, well made, historical film, but a tad dry. Starring Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Fox as MacArthur's subordinate officer General Fellers, it is set against the backdrop of the early occupation of Japan by U.S. forces after World War 2. MacArthur is faced with a dilemma: he has to prosecute thirty Japanese war criminals - the masterminds of the war - but a question of what to do with Emperor Hirohito looms over him. To leave him alone would invite displeasure from American public and politicians, to arrest and try him for war crimes would endanger the occupation and break the tenuous peace. Jones' MacArthur assigns the task to Matthew Fox's character as he is an expert on Japan - now Fox's character has only 10 days to investigate the Emperor's involvement and come to a decision. In the meantime, the viewers also see flashbacks from Fellers' past, and there is a subplot involving Feller looking for his lost lover.

Tommy Lee Jones is plainly having lots of fun as the blustering larger- than-life Douglas MacArthur, and Matthew Fox delivers a good performance with moments of extreme intensity. Masayoshi Haneda plays a translator and aide and manages to pull off a role that has dignity despite the harrowed and dishevelled appearance of the character. Eriko Hatsune - the love interest of the film - has a fragile beauty but is too reserved throughout the movie to deliver much of an emotional impact. The film was shot in New Zealand and Japan (in fact it's the first movie to film inside the Japanese Imperial Palace) and it's gorgeous - the ruins of bombed out Tokyo are especially impressive, and of course the Imperial Palace as a backdrop is fascinating.

The quibble I had with the movie is that it tries to create a sense of urgency and suspense, but since it's based on historical events it largely fails. Anyone who has taken history in high school should know how it turned out. With the exception of a couple of scenes, there also isn't much of an emotionally charged drama going on either. Although I enjoyed it, I cannot deny that it moved at a more sedate pace and lacked great urgency and suspense.


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