Multimedia Collection

Japan, the Emperor and the Army

90 min
UA845 .J395 2009 DVD

On August 15, 1945, the Japanese people heard the voice of their Emperor for the very first time. In an unprecedented radio broadcast, Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan. The vanquished empire was about to experience a major upheaval in all areas of society. From the ruins of the Second World War, modern Japan established itself as an economic powerhouse in the shadow of the United States. It adopted a democratic, pacifist Constitution while retaining the Emperor, who would never be judged for war crimes.

Today Japan has regained its place as one of the world's military super-powers. But how did it set up armed forces, forbidden by article 9 of the constitution? Did it abandon the pacifist principles imposed by the victors of the war? Why does the Emperor remain a taboo subject in Japan.

Based on rare archives and previously unreleased interviews, this documentary traces the secret history of post-war Japan. It reveals the contradictions of a people still confronted with memories of the war and militarism, and the threats to the values of peace which are at the heart of its modern identity.

Distributed by Icarus Films.

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Military & Naval History

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