Censored ’Anti-Japan’ Hollywood movie

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Last night, I watched ‘Unbroken’, a movie directed by Angelina Jolie. The movie, made last year, has not been released in Japan because of threats made to theatres by right-wing conservatives claiming that it is ‘anti-Japan’.

The story is about an American prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini, who was captured by the Japanese and tortured in POW camps during WWII. The man, an Olympic athlete, drifted on the ocean for 47 days after his bomber jet went down, before being captured. His ‘unbroken’ spirit allowed him to survive unimaginable hardships and finally he is freed at the end of war. Despite the hostile and violent treatment in the camp, he eventually forgives the Japanese and returns to Japan to run as a flame bearer for Nagano Olympics in 1998. It’s not a documentary but the movie is pretty faithful to his real-life experience. Zamperini passed away last year at the age of 97.

It’s obvious that the people who accuse the movie of being ‘anti-Japan’ have not even watched it. It seems so clear that this is an ‘anti-war’ movie, not ‘anti-Japan’. Also, this movie makes you think about the meaning of ‘forgiveness’. Compared to the brutal killing, torturing and rape committed by Japanese soldiers in China and other Asian countries during the war, the violent scenes in the movie are nothing.  It’s not even close enough to make it ‘anti-Japan’ if it’s intended that way, I would say.

My worries are not about the right wingers making the fuss of the movie on the internet but about the current Japanese government lead by Prime Minister Abe, a super right winger although he is carefully not showing his true colors to the outside world. I strongly suspect Abe’s influence behind the decision not to release ‘Unbroken’

The movie has the potential to revitalize anti-war sentiment among the Japanese as they slowly forget the significance of their nation’s pacifist constitution – the result of Japan’s own trauma from the war, which culminated in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Abe is slowly eroding that by pushing revision to allow Japan to participate in armed conflicts and to recruit more youth into the armed forces.

It’s already said that Abe is interfering with the Japanese media to keep them under his control. It’s quite scary but now this ‘Unbroken’ incident can be seen as censorship of a foreign movie.

We, as Japanese, really need to keep an eye on what Abe is doing and take necessary action to stop his nationalist agenda and authoritarian tendencies. It will be too late to realize when we become a ‘prisoner of war’ like the American soldier in the movie. I don’t have ‘unbroken’ spirit to survive 47 days on the ocean and torture in prison…

(Photo: An Iraqi man detained by a U.S soldier in Baghdad on Sep 5, 2007, during a raid. Photo by Kuni Takahashi)






冷静な目で見れば、これは「反日」ではなく「反戦」映画だということがすぐわかるはず。そして、47日間もの漂流と収容所での拷問の数々にも屈しなかった一人の男の人生をとおして、「許すこと」の意味を問うた作品でもある。 だいたい実際に日本兵が中・韓をはじめとしたアジアの国々でおこなった拷問、殺人やレイプにくらべれば、ここで描かれる殴る蹴る程度の暴力など、ショッキングでもなんでもない。反日を意図したものなら、甘すぎるでしょう。







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