1960s Japan’s Longest Day (Nihon no ichiban nagai hi, 1968)

Published on July 25th, 2008 | by Chris

0

Japan’s Longest Day (Nihon no ichiban nagai hi, 1968)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On July 25, 2008
Last modified:October 6, 2012

Summary:

Japan's Longest Day may prove slightly difficult to watch, depending on your viewpoints and opinions that we as Americans have come to accept and believe over the last sixty years or so, but its a must-see if you're at all interested in the opposite perspective.

Japan’s Longest Day (Nihon no ichiban nagai hi, 1968)Japan's Longest Day deals with the surrender of Japanat the end of World War II. What makes this movie particularly interesting is the perspective, that of the Japanese. I didn't know what to expect from this film going in, and I have to say I was surprised, intrigued, educated, and even a bit entertained.

Based on the true events following the Allies' Potsdam Declaration, we witness the events in between that event, and the ground-breaking broadcast of the Emperor's voice over the radio, finally declaring the Japanese defeat.

What I was totally unaware of (or at least I totally forgot!) was the division and strife the decision to accept an (almost) unconditional surrender caused. What we see here is the story of this division, leading up to a failed coup attempt by members of the Imperial guard and other factions of the military.

Culturally speaking, Japan's Longest Day shows the Japanese' varied reactions to the event. From the die-hard factions of the military, hell bent on continuing the war to the last man, to the Emperor and his cabinet, reluctantly willing to concede defeat in order to preserve the nation as a whole.... This aspect of the picture was most interesting to me, as its a viewpoint we Americans will rarely, if ever see. The crushing blow to the Japanese "spirit" was certainly evident, as members of the cabinet weep uncontrollably as the Emperor cedes his "god like" status and allows his voice to be heard by the nation. You begin to understand what the surrender meant to the people of Japan, and what it must have felt like.

What *is* missing from the picture is the events after the Emperor's declaration, such as the signing of the surrender onboard the USS Missouri, and any mention of the government's attempts to cover up evidence of war crimes. Although we do see them burning piles and piles of documents, its never said what these are (at least that I could tell.)

What we do find is a certain amount of "pride" in the nation of Japan, despite their defeat. Given the source I will say that I'll give them that. The aspects of building a new, peaceful Japan finally come out in the end, thankfully. Along with the statement that Japan should never have to endure another humiliating blow such as this. What you won't find is any sort of "yeah, we were wrong" statement, which is a little troublesome.

If you're not a fan of subtitles, then you'll probably want to stay away from Japan's Longest Day. There are a *lot* of subtitles to take in. From the dialog, to on-screen translation of every name, date, and place, and even signage, that appears. I had to actually rewind a few times so I could read both the dialog translation and the additional text, there's that much at times. That sort of thing doesn't bother me, but it can be troublesome for others.

Putting all the history and facts aside, it stands quite well as a "political thriller" type of film. In fact there are a couple of places it delves into the realm of the stereotypical samurai-movie action, while it may just be a byproduct of the special effects technology available at the time, it comes across as a little gratuitous.

There are a few faces which will be familiar to followers of Japanese films, such as the eternally excellent Toshiro Mifune as the War Minister Anami, and more which would show up quite prominently in Tora!, Tora!, Tora! later on.

Japan's Longest Day may prove slightly difficult to watch, depending on your viewpoints and opinions that we as Americans have come to accept and believe over the last sixty years or so, but its a must-see if you're at all interested in the opposite perspective. I firmly believe that Japan's Longest Day succeeds in spades at this where current American attempts, like Letters From Iwo Jima, fail.

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Description

On August 15th, 1945, the Japanese people faced utter destruction. Millions of soldiers and civilians were dead, the rest were starving, and their cities had been reduced to piles of rubble — two of them vaporized by atomic bombs...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: Unrated
Brand: E1 ENTERTAINMENT
Manufacturer: Animeigo
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Seiji Miyaguchi
  • Rokkô Toura
  • Chishû Ryû
  • Sô Yamamura
  • Toshirô Mifune

Features

  • The Dramatic True Story Of The End of WW II On August 15th, 1945, the Japanese people faced utter destruction. Millions of soldiers and civilians were dead, the rest were starving and their cities had been reduced to piles of rubble-two of them vaporized by atomic bombs. The government was deadlocked; some ministers called for surrender, and others argued that honor demanded a final battle o

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatization of the Final Hours Before The Surrender of Japan, July 17, 2013
By 
Charles W. (Huntsville AL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Japan's Longest Day (DVD)
As far as I can tell, the drama seems to generally fit the history, as well as i know it; of the final days before surrender by government of the Empire of Japan to the Allies of World War 2. As in any movie, I think some events and the contents of the Emperor's address to the nation are somewhat condensed. However I believe that the spirit of the movie mostly reflects the truths of the time.

The movie is in Japanese with English subtitles. This is a modern historical drama, not a typical war movie. I was impressed at how the movie moved me in better understanding not just the events, but the feelings and values of the people of the time. I particularly enjoyed the acting of Toshirô Mifune. He made a very convincing Japanese military chief.

I felt the only weakness of the movie was that the young Army officers who attempted a coup to prevent the surrender seemed somewhat over-played as wild-eyed hot heads. But for all I know that might, or might not be accurate... Read more
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Agree With All The Positive Reviews !!!, April 11, 2014
By 
bunnielover (United States, Wyoming) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Japan's Longest Day (DVD)
I won't go into the plot, everyone else has done a super job of that. Just want to say- you need to own it so that you can watch it, back it up, freeze it or whatever you need to do to follow all the actors and plot lines. YES IT IS IN JAPANESE, WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES, and boy do those titles fly by fast... I have seen it once now, but I spent most of the time reading script, so next time around I will be able to watch it more. There are some scenes early on where there is script above and below the picture explaining where the are on top, then dialogue below. You will also spend some time sorting out who is who as there are about 30 important people to keep track of. Don't let this put you off, just plan on more than one viewing to take in this story and all the people who worked so hard to make it great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Subtitles Ever!, June 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Japan's Longest Day (DVD)
As a fan of foreign films in general, I am resigned to the inevitable necessary evil of subtitles (still preferable to dubbing). But what I can't stand and will never get used to are subtitles that are either too small, on the screen for too short a time, or infuriatingly white over a white background. There is no excuse for such.

But I have yet to see a movie in any language so artfully and pleasingly subtitled as "Japan's Longest Day". Almost no grammatical errors or typos (the only mistake I noticed was a consistent misspelling of "led" as "lead"), and variously colored to indicate multiple speakers - brilliant!

Oh... and by the way - the movie was riveting as well (once the first 20 minutes or so were up). As the film started, I was initially worried that the entire thing was going to be a newsreel-style documentary of historical tableaus. All such concerns vanished however, once the actual plot (pun intended) got underway and we were... Read more
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Japan’s Longest Day (Nihon no ichiban nagai hi, 1968) Chris

Summary: Japan's Longest Day may prove slightly difficult to watch, depending on your viewpoints and opinions that we as Americans have come to accept and believe over the last sixty years or so, but its a must-see if you're at all interested in the opposite perspective.

3.5


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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