6.5/10
11,762
48 user 82 critic

Emperor (2012)

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

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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:

Writers:

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Japanese Class B war criminal sets out to take full responsibility for the execution of American Airmen.

Director: Takashi Koizumi
Stars: Makoto Fujita, Robert Lesser, Fred Spiker
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Morton H. Halperin was a former member of NSA, State Department and Pentagon under several U.S. regimes since 1960s. And his lecture about the Okinawa reversion was shot at the House of Councillors on September 19, 2014 in Japan.

Director: Sayo Saruta
Stars: Mizuho Fukushima, Morton Halperin, Ryota Nakanishi
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A film about the 10th Tokyo Peace Film Festival and lectures of many liberal critics at the festival.

Director: Yumi Kikuchi
Stars: Kenji Fukuda, Natsuko Hirota, Hitomi Kamanaka
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

Chinese film school students and the professors from the Greater China Region gathered together at Hong Kong Baptist University to discuss the many serious film issues in the region.

Directors: Pak Tong Cheuk, Ryota Nakanishi
Stars: Pak Tong Cheuk, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Ryota Nakanishi
Furusato-Time (TV Series 2015)
Documentary | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Furusato-Time is a sightseeing TV program of the major cable television company J:COM. And it's co-produced by Kyodo-TV.

Stars: Shingo Kazami, Matirog, Ryota Nakanishi
Drama | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

German soldiers are transported to a prisoner-of-war camp in Japan after the First World War.

Director: Masanobu Deme
Stars: Ken Matsudaira, Bruno Ganz, Hiroshi Abe
Short | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

An office worker obsessed with the supernatural visits an old parking lot and finds evidence of ghosts of perverts.

Director: Qiu Guisiu
Stars: Gao Meixiang
Short | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

The process of how a fiance gets to the seaside where his bride is located in order to express and relive their dramatic encountering in a cinematic way.

Director: Ryota Nakanishi
Stars: Kkobbi Kim, Ryota Nakanishi
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The renowned conspiracy theorists Benjamin Fulford, Richard Koshimizu give audiences a special lecture about various conspiracy theories.

Directors: Benjamin Fulford, Richard Koshimizu
Stars: George Bush, George W. Bush, Benjamin Fulford
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

The renowned conspiracy theorists Benjamin Fulford and Kaoru Nakamaru give audiences a special lecture about various conspiracy theories.

Director: Benjamin Fulford
Stars: George Bush, George W. Bush, Benjamin Fulford
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

12 thinkers gathered together to discuss the political issues in Japan, such as reuse of nuclear plants, accepting right of collective self defense, TPP and the secrecy law.

Director: Yasumi Iwakami
Stars: Kazuyuki Azusawa, Satoshi Daigo, Yôichi Iha
Short | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Taiwanese School: The Experiment of Sergei Eisenstein's Montage Theory is a film featuring Sergei M. Eisenstein 's montage art and revolutionary spirit, 'unification of society' as its ... See full summary »

Director: Ryota Nakanishi
Stars: Xianling Chen, Su Yusan, Nikolay Cherkasov
Edit

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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 July 2013 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Imperador  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

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  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The romantic story between Fellers and Aya was entirely fictional for the film. Fellers was married in 1925 to Dorothy Dysart who accompanied him twice on his posting the Phillipines, and she also went with him to China and Japan. 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 Bonner Fellers: We will never know who started the war, General. But we do know who brought it to an end.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Tale of Two Emperors
17 September 2012 | by See all my reviews

Emperor (2012)

In his rule over Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces after World War II, General Douglas MacArthur was probably as benign a dictator as history has recorded. His enlightened policies led to a Japanese post war economic recovery from wartime devastation, and to post-war harmony between Japan and the West that replaced virulent wartime hatred. Emperor deals with his first days in Japan after the Japanese surrender, and in particular, with his momentous decision not to include the Emperor Hirohito among the Japanese war criminals, a judgement made despite political and popular clamor. Allied war propaganda had demonized the Japanese people and Hirohito in particular, and Japanese propaganda had done much the same with the other side. MacArthur's decision became the lynch-pin of his policy there: to respect the cultural differences instead of seeking to override them, and to try to bring together the best that both Japan and the western powers had to offer.

The movie deliberately avoids clarifying which emperor the title refers to. On the surface it may seem to denote Hirohito, but as supreme commander MacArthur had near imperial power, and did not hesitate to use it. The film concentrates on one of his protégés and close advisors, General Bonner Fellers, a Japanese expert on whose opinion MacArthur chooses to rely. Fellers was close to MacArthur, having served with him even before the war. Fellers loved Japan and had visited it, and had produced for the American military a crucial assessment of the Japanese military mind. He had additionally predicted war with Japan well in advance of Pearl Harbour. In real life, Fellers had some connections to Japan, even to the Imperial Household, and he had a close friendship with a former female Japanese exchange student whom he knew from Earlham College in Indiana. He rejoined MacArthur in 1943 and accompanied him during the Supreme Commander's momentous first days in Japan. The film strongly hints that MacArthur had already made up his mind about the treatment of Hirohito, which he almost certainly had, but wanted Fellers to supply the rationale for his decision.

The film has three threads that run throughout: MacArthur's occupation of Japan; Fellers' investigations leading to his written opinion; Fellers' search for his Japanese friend amidst the post-war chaos. It is one thread too many, since while the film juxtaposes these, it does not successfully weave them together. The one exception may be Fellers interview with the Japanese general, supposedly his friend's uncle, since it does much to explain the country's traditions and military attitudes. Director Peter Webber has said quite rightly that MacArthur has not been particularly successfully treated on the screen. In fact, epics like MacArthur (1977) and Inchon (1981) proved to be major disappointments. It seems a shame here that the director and writers Vera Blasi and David Klass did not keep MacArthur as the film's central figure, but instead chose to focus on his subordinate, Fellers.

As MacArthur, Tommy Lee Jones gives an outstanding performance, and the film is worth seeing for that alone. Looking nothing like MacArthur (he didn't try), Jones captures ever bit of "El Supremo's" command and self-confidence, and when he is present on screen, like the General himself, he dominates it. It is just a shame that he doesn't get more screen time. MacArthur is, historically, the man who made the real decisions, and, especially as played by Jones, a figure far more fascinating than Fellers.

By contrast, the part of Fellers (Matthew Fox of "Lost") seems dull, unfocused, and even clumsy, particularly considering the crucial days in which it is set. That is probably not Fox's fault, but a weakness of the screenplay. While the fact that Fellers knew Japan well and was especially friendly with a Japanese girl he had met in college are factors that deserve to enter into the picture, as presented they often tend to be a distraction from its central theme. This is all the more the case since the story of "Aya" appears to contain considerable fiction. Feller's real-life friend from Earlham, Yuri Wantanabe, survived the war, and his connections to Japanese officialdom were probably better than her own. There is the additional fiction that all this is compressed into a ten-day window, when the actual investigations took place over five months.

Still, in playing Aya, Eriko Hatsune renders her subtly, displaying a delicate balance between propriety and concern. Some of the other Japanese actors are equally notable. Especially fine, and especially central to the story, is the portrayal by Masatô Ibu of the Lord Privy Seal, Marquis Koichi Kibo, the highest figure in the Imperial Household and a friend to Hirohito. Ibu is persuasive in presenting a man who attempts to preserve the Emperor's honour – and his privacy – even in the face of the possibility that the Emperor might hang. Masayoshi Haneda also gives a fine performance as Fellers' interpreter and de facto aide. And Takatarô Kataoka is realistic as Emperor Hirohito himself.

The wanderings of the plot are offset in part by the great production values (Grant Major)and fine cinematography (by Stuart Dryburgh). The contrast between the real beauty of Japan and the wartime devastation is particularly effective.

This movie has many good things going for it, particularly Tommy Lee Jones (and MacArthur himself). It's just a pity it didn't capitalize on them more.

Emperor premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 2012. It has been acquired for distribution by Lionsgate & Roadside Attractions, but no date for general distribution has yet been announced.


77 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 48 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial