JAPAN

 

 

 

(Early Medieval Period: 711-1526)  Back to Chapter IV  Back to Contents

The Asuka period (538-710)

Shotoku taishi (Prince Shotoku) (2001) established a centralized government; aka Prince Umayado; his existence is disputed

Heian period, 794-1185:

Shin heike monogatari (The Taira Clan Saga) (1955)  --  an unpaid special forces commander under Emperor Toba who ruled Japan from 1107-1123 

Kamakura period, 1185-1333 and Kemmu restoration, 1333-1336: 

Muromachi period, 1336-1573: 

Kikuchi sembon-yari: Shidon tokubetsu kgeki-tai (Thousand Spears of Kikuchi: Sydney Special Attack Unit) (1944) --  Nanbokucho wars in Nanboku-cho period, 1336-1392, with Northern Imperial Court founded by Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto & Southern Imperial Court established by Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino

Furin kazan (Under the Banner of Samurai; Samurai Banners) (1969)  --  Yamamoto Kansuke (1501-1561),Japanese samurai and General who planned the victory at the fourth Battle of Kawanakajima against Uesugi Kenshin

 

 

Azuchi-Momoyama period, 1568 to 1603:

Kagemusha (1980)  --  Takeda clan, one of three warlord clans, 16th century

Ugetsu  (1953)  --  two peasants in search of success in war-torn Japan, 16th century

Ran (1985)  -- (Akira Kurosawa) Japanese lord finds his kingdom disintegrating as his sons go to war with each other (adaptation of King Lear & life of Mōri Motonari), 16th century

Mōri Motonari  (1997)  --  NHK's TV drama

Rikyu (1989)  --  Buddhist priest and improver of the tea ceremony runs afoul of Lord Hideyoshi Toyotomi

Sekigahara (1981)  --  drama set in the time when the Eastern and Western Armies met in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600

 

Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868):

James Clavell's Shogun (1980)  -- based on the achievements of the first Englishman in Japan, early 17th century

Seven Samurai  (1954)  (Akira Kurosawa) -- wandering ronin (i.e., unemployed samurai) defend a peasant village from bandits, 17th century

Makai tensh (Samurai Resurrection) (2003) the Shimabara Rebellion of mostly Christian peasants,16371638, during the Tokugawa era against rising taxes

The Samurai Trilogy (1967) --  based on the novel that has been called Japan's Gone With the Wind, 17th century

Life of Oharu  (1952)

Hara-kiri (1962)  --  Japanese period film 1630, dealing with the plight of the poor end of the samurai spectrum

Ako-Jo danzetsu (aka Swords of Vengeance) (1978)  --  Ronin revolt against 5th Togukawa shogun (Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, reign 1680-1709) in honor of their master Lord Asano

-oku: The Movie (2006) 1713, scandal of a power struggle between Ietsugu's concubine mother and the late Shogun's official wife

Goyokin (1969)  --  1831,debts owed by a small province to the Tokugawa Shogunate causes province leaders to stealing goyokin (gold and silver) from mining sites on Sado Island & worse (e.g., massacre)

Chinmoku (Silence) (1971)  --two Portuguese missionaries face torture and death in a closed Japan

X Ansatsu (The Assassination; The Assassin) (1964)   --  set in 1853, a masterless samurai's loyalties move dangerously back and forth between the Shogunate and the Emperor

Sekigahara (1981) --  Ieyasu Tokugawa

Sen-hime to Hideyori (1962) based on Princess Sen, daughter to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and wife of Toyotomi Hideyori  Masahiro Makino

Shinsengumi (1969) band of ronin devoted to the Tokugawa shogun fights to protect the Shogun when he confers with the Emperor on expulsion of foreigners; 1863-1864

 

Japan Labor Troubles:

Ah! Nomugi toge (Oh! The Nomugi Pass)  (1979) --  abuse of women workers in silk industry in Japan in early 1900s

The Bad Sleep Well (1963)  --  Kurosawa's film about a man seeking revenge against the Japanese company that murdered his father

 

IMPERIALISM: JAPAN 

Late Tokugawa Shogunate, 1853-1867:

Bushido Blade  (1981)  --  a drama set around 1854, US Naval Commodore Matthew Perry opens up Japan to trade with the West

The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)  in 1850s US President Pierce sends to Japan the first U.S. Consul-General

Eijanaika (1981)  --  rocky road for a love relationship set against carnival atmosphere in 1867 and 1868 for the approach of the Meiji Restoration

The Last Samurai (2003)  --  American civil war veteran hired to teach the Emperor's troops how to defeat the last of the samurai, late 19th century

Ansatsu (Assassination) (1964)  --  Kiyokawa Hachiro & initial phase of Shinsengumi, the Shogun's corp of ex-ronin fighting anarchy in the Imperial capital Kyoto

Gohatto (Taboo) (1999)  --  Shinsengumi men fall in love with a girlishly attractive young man which causes great instability in a local militia

Mibu Gishiden (When the Last Sword is Drawn) (2003) --  a poor samurai joins the Shinsengumi under economic duress in last days of the shogunate
 
Hitokiri (Tenchu) (1969)  --  one of the famous assassins of the Bakumatsu era 

Okami yo Rakujitsu o Kire (The Last Samurai) (1974)   --  the Bakumatsu and the involvement of men on different sides in the fighting ($67)

Kedamono no ken (Sword of the Beast) (1965)  --  Japanese period film shows how the clan system used and betrayed the samurai 

Tokugawa ichizoku no houkai (1980)  --  Matsudaira Katamori (1836-1893), a samurai & the Military Commissioner of Kyoto who fought against the Meiji Government armies

Director Yoji Yamada Trilogy:

The Twilight Samurai (2002)  --  lower samurai helped by the merchants, end the Tokugawa government and make way for the Mejii government

Kakushi ken oni no tsume (The Hidden Blade) (2004)  --   set in the late Tokugawa era, dealing with the dissatisfied lower samurai who brought an end to the era, a clan makes a samurai kill his friend

Bushi no ichibun  (Love and Honor) (2006)  --  problems between husband and wife when the samurai poison taster is actually poisoned;  about the lower samurai

 

 

MEDIEVAL JAPAN

The Taira Clan Saga  (1955)

Ugetsu  (1953)  --  two peasants in search of success in war-torn Japan

Kagemusha (1980)

James Clavell's Shogun (1980)  -- based on the achievements of the first Englishman in Japan

Seven Samurai  (1954)  (Akira Kurosawa) -- wandering ronin (i.e., unemployed samurai) defend a peasant village from bandits

Ran (1985) (Akira Kurosawa) -- Japanese lord finds his kingdom disintegrating as his sons go to war with each other (adaptation of Macbeth)  

The Samurai Trilogy (1967) --  based on the novel that has been called Japan's Gone With the Wind

Life of Oharu  (1952)

The Last Samurai (2003)  --  American civil war veteran hired to teach the Emperor's troops how to defeat the last of the samurai

 

World War I: 

Baruto no Gakuen (The Ode to Joy) (2006) a Japanese film of the Japanese Bando Prisoner of War camp in World War I depicting friendship of German/Austrian-Hungarian POWs with the camp director

 

PRE- WWII JAPAN 

Meiji Restoration, 1868-1912: 

X 1895 (Blue Brave: The Legend of Formosa in 1895) (2008)  --  Taiwan's resistance against the Japanese invasion

Fall of Eagles (1974) (TV miniseries)  --  part of it deals with the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War from the perspective of Russia. 

Nihonkai daikaisen (Battle of the Japan Sea) (1969)  --  fought May 2728, 1905 in the Tsushima Strait;   Admiral Heihachiro Togo destroyed two-thirds of Russian fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky

203 kochi (The Battle of Port Arthur) (1980) battle for Hill 203 during the Russo-Japanese war, 1905

Meiji tenn to nichiro daisenso (Emperor Meiji and the Great Russo-Japanese War) (1957) Japanese attack on Manchuria

X La Vallee des fleurs (Valley of Flowers) (2006)   --  love story (with reincarnation) spanning two centuries starting in the early 19th century

Sisters of the Gion (1936)

Memoirs of a Geisha  (2005)

Zi Hudi (Purple Butterfly) (2003)  --  espionage and counter-espionage between the Japanese and Chinese in Shanghai

Behind the Rising Sun (1943)  --  triumph of fascism over liberalism in Japan and a Japanese father wants his Americanized son to be part of the Sino-Japanese War

 Wu Qingyuan (The Go Master) (2006)  --  a Chinese man becomes a master of the game of Go in Japan despite the rise of fascism in Japan

Ningen no jken (Human Condition: No Greater Love)  (1959) --  1st part of the trilogy The Human Condition about a pacifist socialist trying to survive in Fascist Japan

Ningen no jken (Human Condition: Road to Eternity) (1959) --  2nd part of the trilogy The Human Condition about a pacifist socialist trying to survive in Fascist Japan

Ningen no jken (Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer) (1961)  --  3rd part of the trilogy The Human Condition about a pacifist socialist trying to survive in Fascist Japan

 

WORLD WAR II -- JAPAN

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955) in 1925, he predicted Japanese attack on U.S.

Blood on the Sun  (1945)

 

THE WAR IN CHINA AND BURMA

 The Last Emperor  (1987)  -- Pu Yi, emperor of China & emergence of Communist China

Rakuy (The Setting Sun ) (1992)  --  Japanese agent in Manchuria gets money for Japanese war effort there by stealing and selling opium

Dansou no reijin (2008)  --  Yoshiko Kawashima (1907-1948) a Manchu princess raised in Japan who became a spy for the Japanese in Manchukuo

Ba dao lou zi (Seven Man Army) (1976)  --  seven Chinese soldiers hold off 20,000 Japanese at a battle at the Great Wall of China

Story of a Prostitute (1965)  --  love story set during Sino-Japanese War between a soldier and a comfort woman

Hei tai yang 731 (Men Behind the Sun) (1988)  --  Japanese atrocities in the prison camp Manchu 731

Hei tai yang: Nan Jing da tu sha (Black Sun: the Nanking Massacre) (1995)  --  Nanking Massacre, Dec. 1937

Saam gwok dzi gin lung se gap (The Children of Hung Shi (aka Bitter Sea and Children of the Silk Road)) (2008) --  British journalist in Japan during Nanking Massacre

Nanjing 1937 (aka Don't Cry Nanking)  (1995) --  family with Chinese husband and Japanese wife caught in the Nanking Massacre

The Diary (2007)  --  based around the Nanking Massacre

La bei ri ji (John Rabe) (2009)  --  a German businessman who saved more than 200,000 Chinese during the Nanjing massacre

Hei tai yang 731 (Man Behind the Sun) (1988)  --  in Squadron 731 Japanese troops torture and experiment on Chinese and Russian POWs  ($70)

Ziri (Purple Sunset) (2001)  --  Chinese film about a Russian female soldier ,a  Chinese civilian and a Japanese school girl having to work together to get out of a forest, despite their mutual distrust

Jian qiao ying lie zhuan (Heroes of the Eastern Skies) (1977) outnumbered Chinese Air Force in increasingly outdated American aircraft fights the Japanese air force ($185)

Dragon Seed (1944)   --  Chinese villagers try to adopt a peaceful attitude toward their Japanese conquerors, but not Jade Tan (with Katherine Hepburn)

Hong gao liang (Red Sorghum) (1988) --  a Chinese community rises up against the Japanese after they cut down their sorghum field

 

The War in China and Burma

The Last Emperor (1987)  -- Pu Yi, emperor of China & emergence of Communist China

Story of a Prostitute (1965)  --  love story set during Sino-Japanese War between a soldier and a comfort woman

Empire of the Sun (1987) --  a British boy becomes a victim of the Japanese invasion of China

Devils on the Doorstep (2000)  --  Chinese villagers hold two Japanese prisoners of war

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)  --  service in China and reaction to Japanese invasion

Flying Tigers (1942) -- fighting the Japanese in Burma and China

Bombs Over Burma (1942) -- devoted woman risks life for sake of China on espionage mission

Merrill's Marauders (1962) Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill, battling Japanese in Burmese jungle

Objective, Burma! (1945) WWII Brits invade Burma

Biruma no tategoto (Burmese Harp) (1956)  --  Brits have to attack Japanese forces in Burma as late as July, 1945

The USA Finally Gets into the War

Tora! Tora! Tora! -- Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

War and Remembrance (1988) -- 12 part mini series

Wake Island (1942)  --  Japanese have a hard time taking a small island between Guam and Midway

Ambush Bay (1966)  --  US marines on a Japanese-held Philippine island try to hook up with Filipino guerillas

MacArthur (1979) -- loses Philippines, but comes back

MacArthur, The Rebel General  (1977)

Corregidor  (1943)  --  Battle of Corregidor, Philippines

Bataan (1943) -- fight against Japanese take over of the Philippines

American Guerilla in the Philippines (1950) -- resistance to Japanese after fall of the Philippines

Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

Three Come Home  --  Borneo taken by the Japanese; Europeans sent to prison camps; focus on a woman in prison

USA Strikes Back

Battle of the Coral Sea (1959)   May, 1942

Midway (1976) -- Battle of Midway, June 5, 1942

Gung Ho (1943)  --  2nd Marine Raider commandos, under Lt. Col. Evans Carlson, raided the Japanese base at Makin Atoll prior to Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal Diary (1943) -- Battle of Guadalcanal, began August 7, 1942

The Thin Red Line (1998) -- Battle of Guadalcanal, 1942

Sullivans (1944)  -- five brothers serving on the same ship die serving at Guadalcanal

Tarawa Beach Head (1958) --  costly invasion of the island, November 20-23,1943

Raiders of Leyte Gulf (1963) --  Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 23-26, 1944, kicks off reconquest of the Philippines

Battle Stations (1956)  --  kamikaze attacks on the USS Franklin and USS Bunker Hill, October, 1944

The Walls of Hell (1965)  --   fight in the walled city of Intramuros in the Philippines, February, 1945

Back to Bataan (1945) -- John Wayne leads Philippine guerillas

The Great Raid (2005)  --  rescue of American POWs in the Philipines

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) -- Battles of Tarawa and Iwo Jima, Feb.-March, 1945

Okinawa (1952) -- largest amphibious assault in the Pacific campaign, April to June, 1945

Away all Boats (1956)  --  life on the USS Belinda, Attack Transport PA22, which served at Okinawa

Mission of the Shark (1991)  --  dropped off key parts for the atomic bomb, then sunk June 1945 and attacked by sharks

Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) -- story of Los Alamos atomic bomb project

Above and Beyond (1952)  --  bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945)  by Col. Paul Tibbetts, commander of the Enola Gay

Hiroshima (1995) --   August 6, 1945

The Winds of War (1983) -- world's leaders at the time

King Rat (1965) --  WW2 Japanese POW camp

Prisoners of the Sun (1990)  --  Japanese internment of Australian soldiers

Overlanders (1946)  --  fear of Japanese invasion in Australia causes cattlemen to push their herds overland halfway across the country.

To End all Wars (2001)  --  very good movie on Japanese prisoner of war camp in Thailand

Windtalkers (2002) --  Navajo codetalkers use their own language as the unbreakable code.

Come See the Paradise (1990) -- Japanese-American internment

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) -- prejudice against Japanese-Americans

Post-War Japan

Post-War Japan   Back to Chapter XIII  Back to Contents

Dongjing Shenpan (Tokyo Trial) 2006  --  a Chinese judge helps convinces the other international judges to choose the death penalty for the Japanese war criminals

Stray Dog (1949)  --  a cop solves a murder in desperate, war-ravaged, U.S.-occupied Tokyo

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)  --  a budding romance is overshadowed by memories of the horrors of the A-bomb  

Rhapsody in August (1991)  -- memories of the atomic bomb and its aftermath

Gunki Hatameku Motoni (Under the Flag of the Rising Sun) (2001) the widow of a Japanese sergeant wants information on the death of her husband in New Guinea only to get lies and half-truths, including knowledge of the inhumanity of the Japanese soldiers

Mishima -- Japanese novelist commits traditional suicide, 1970

Macarthur's Children (1985)  --  Americans occupy the village of a young boy and his friends  ($50 for VHS tape)

Puraido: Unmei no toki (Pride: The Fateful Moment) (1998) justification of Japanese excesses during World War II from Japanese point of view

 

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