Date: Wed, 8 Jul 98 09:48:19 CDT
From: Arm The Spirit <>
Subject: Japanese Hit Movie Praises War Criminal
Article: 38583
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(Source: JCP Homepage,

What Does The Film Pride—The Fateful Moment Describe?

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party, [8 July 1998]

The Akahata (Newspaper Of The JCP) Criticizes The Film Which Hails The War-Criminal Tojo

TOKYO MAY 26—A Japanese film (Pride—The Fateful Moment) which hails Hideki Tojo, a Class-A war criminal, had its premier in Tokyo on May 23. When Japan started the aggressive War in the Pacific, Tojo was the prime minister. Akahata, Japanese Communist Party newspaper, had a long unsigned article about the film on May 23, which criticized it as follows:

The film titled Pride—The Fateful Moment (A Toei production, directed by Shun'ya Ito), which deals with the Far East Military Tribunal (Tokyo war trial), started to be shown on May 23. The hero of the film is Hideki Tojo, a Class-A war criminal, who was prime minister when Japan launched the Pacific War. The film portrays him as a person who withstood the unfair arrangement of the court by the victorious nations, but to the end he never lost his pride. The film has been criticized not only in Japan but also in Asian and other countries.

The Japanese Communist Party severely criticized Japan's militarist war of aggression and conducted a strenuous struggle against it. As such a party, the JCP wants to take this opportunity to examine what sort of image the film wants to portray.

War Of Aggression And The Tokyo War Trial

The 15-year war of aggression by Japanese militarism, from the Manchurian Incident to the Pacific War, caused an enormous loss of life: 3.1 million Japanese people and 20 million people from Asian countries. The war ended in August 1945 when Japan's Tenno government accepted the Potsdam Declaration of the allied powers.

The Tokyo war trial (International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 1946-48) was set up on the basis of Article 10 of the Potsdam Declaration which provided for strict justice to be meted out to war criminals. With eleven plaintiff nations, which included the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China, the court finally tried Hideki Tojo and 24 other Japanese war leaders for their crimes against peace, conventional war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Although the Far East Military Tribunal had some defects, such as excluding from the trial the war crimes of Showa Tenno (Emperor Hirohito) and the war crime of the atomic bombing by the United States, the trial in general had major positive significance for the subsequent pursuit of world peace, because it defined wars of aggression as international crimes, and tried the leaders of such wars.

What Kind Of Pride Does The Film Praise?

Then what kind of pride does the film extol, which, it is said, has recalled the pride of the Japanese? Such pride insists that the war by Japan was not a war of aggression but an unavoidable war of self-defense, in other words, a just war.

In the film, Tojo says to his lawyer Ichiro Kiyose during a meeting in prison that I am ready to argue that the Greater East Asia War was from beginning to end a war of self-defense. I will never renounce my belief on this to the allied forces, who will insist that the war was a war of aggression. In a climatic scene in the film about his showdown with Chief Prosecutor Joseph Keenan in court, Tojo repeats his argument that the war in China was to defend the Japanese nationals there, and for self-defense and was for accomplishing what was right. In the film, Lawyer Kiyose and Mamoru Shigemitsu, who on Tojo's request became the foreign minister of his cabinet, argue that the war was a sacred war to liberate Asia and that Japan's purpose in the war was to liberate Asia from its colonial position. This is the key note in the film.

The 15-year war of aggression was a just war for self-defense and for liberating Asia—this is what the heroes in the film believe and are proud of. This is nothing other than glorifying aggression.

World Reason And Peoples' Wishes Caricatured

In the film, such remarks by Tojo and others are not directly criticized or refuted.

In the film, only Prosecutor Keenan, who looks uncertain about his own arguments, criticizes the main point. His prosecution is portrayed as being based on U.S. political intentions, in contrast to the portrayal of Tojo as being dignified. Such a portrayal is a caricature and mocks at world reason and the people who condemn the war of aggression, because they want to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life-time has brought untold sorrow to mankind (United Nations Charter) and so that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government (Japan's Constitution).

Most of the Asian people appearing in the film are the sort of people such as the leader of the Indian National Army, who cooperated with the Japanese military forces for anti-Britain purposes. People from many countries, who were the victims of Japanese military forces' aggression and their cruel government based on military rule, don't appear at all in the film.

The Tokyo war trial was based on a great deal of material evidence and testimony, and established that the aggression against China, which started from sinister plots by Japan's military, such as blowing up and killing Zhang Zuolin (Chang Tsolin), the blowing up of the railway line at Liutiaohu, was a war of aggression aimed at expanding Japan's territory. The massacre in Nanjing (Nanking Massacre) and many other war crimes by Japan's military have already been corroborated in detail.

The Tokyo war trial is the subject of the film, but it says nothing about the actual war crime of aggression and the colonial rule by Japanese militarism, but only extols the pride of Tojo and others, with the aim of rationalizing the war of aggression with pride—this is the film's basic stand. This becomes clearer when we see the many episodes in the film.

India Described As Area To Come Under Japan's Influence

An example is the question of India's independence. In the opening and end of the film, there are scenes of Indian people rejoicing about their independence from Britain in 1947, and the scene was overlapped with the move by (Subbas) Chandra Bose of the Indian National Army (INA), of cooperation with the Japan's armed forces.

But the facts are that: When Japan's armed forces occupied Singapore in 1942, they planned to use the nearly 100,000 Indian solders who had surrendered to Japan. Subsequently they became the basis of the Indian National Army led by Chandra Bose. Japan's Army was to use them in the Imphal operation with the aim of opening the way (through Myanmar urma) to Imphal (in India), for the invasion of India. But the Imphal operation was a complete fiasco, with over 100,000 dead from the fighting or illness. There may have been some calculations by Bose and others, for using the enemy of the enemy, based on giving their struggle against Britain priority, but the aim of Japan's military was to use anything and everybody they could. Japan's military didn't really support the movement for India's independence. For example, this is seen in the fact that when Japan's military occupied the Andaman Islands (at present Indian territory), they didn't give Bose any substantial administrative authority and ignored his request to transfer it. Originally, in the plan of Japanese militarism, the aim was for India and other vast areas in the Asia-Pacific region to be brought under the influence of Japanese militarism, in other words, a target for their aggression. (see the Japanese official document entitled On The Survival Zone Of The Imperial State For Construction Of New Order In Greater Asia—September 1940)

This is another false picture, which conflicts with historical truth, which tries to give an impression that the War in the Pacific was a war for liberating Asia.

On The Nanjing Massacre

The film depicts the cross examination in the court on the Nanjing Massacre, and Tojo says: All evidence is only hearsay evidence, which doesn't deserve to be called evidence. Moreover, it is an exaggeration, and worse, some has been completely fabricated. Who could believe that they [Japan's armed forces] would carry out indiscriminate killing, and kill even women and children at random. They are solders of the Japanese Imperial Army. But after the Tokyo Tribunal, investigation into and study of the Nanjing Massacre continued, and evidence given by those involved and corroborating material has increased. The details of atrocities against the Chinese people by Japan's armed forces have become clearer.

On the serious problem that has been a matter of international criticism, the film only repeats the remarks by Tojo and refuses to accept the massacre as fact, and the result of Japan's aggression.

The Atomic Bombing—Atrocious Act In Violation Of International Law

In a scene in the film, a defendant's lawyer says if Japan's armed forces' attack on Pearl Harbor constitutes a war crime, then the atomic bombing by the United States was also a war crime. As the interpreter stops interpreting, there is confusion in the court. The Second World War basically has the character of being a war between the tripartite military bloc of Japan, Germany, and Italy on the one hand, and the anti-fascist democratic bloc against their aggression on the other. But this doesn't justify everything the victorious nations did as actions against aggression. The occupation of the Chishima Islands by the Soviet Union and of Okinawa by the United States violated the principle of no territorial expansion, part of the democratic principle for the post-war disposal, which was declared by the Allied Powers. The atomic bombing was an atrocious act in violation of international law, because it was an indiscriminate attack on civilians.

The Tokyo war trial never addressed this problem, which is part of the problematic aspect of the tribunal, which prioritized the interests of the victorious nations, as against international justice. But it is also clear that pointing this out can't offset Japan's criminal war of aggression against the people in Asia.

The refutation by the defendants' bench in the Far East Military Tribunal was that both the dropping of the atomic bombs and Tojo's war of aggression were not war crimes. The film takes up this point to come to the same conclusion, which is apparent from the film's context.

On The War Responsibility Of Showa Tenno (Emperor Hirohito)

The Tokyo Tribunal deliberately didn't prosecute Showa Tenno (Emperor Hirohito) based on calculations by the United States and others. With Prosecutor Keenan in the lead, the U.S. authorities made great efforts to achieve this purpose, which was referred to with detailed facts in the book Tokyo Trial by Yuzuru Kodama. But in the course of the court trial, in spite of the intention of Prosecutor Keenan, when Tojo was examined by the lawyer, he said unintentionally that the subjects of Japan can never say or do anything against His Majesty's will. (December 1947) This is evidence by the person directly concerned, that the war of aggression couldn't have been started against the Emperor's wishes. This was a great shock for Prosecutor Keenan and the Japanese authorities. They persuaded Tojo to change his testimony in the trial the following January. This would have been one of the most interesting parts in the film. But the film only refers to this as an expression of Tojo's loyalty to the Emperor, and evades touching on the war responsibility of Showa Tenno (Emperor Hirohito) which was revealed by chance by what Tojo had said.

As said before, the film Pride in which Hideki Tojo is the hero, refutes the fact that the Japanese militarist aggression in Asia and the Pacific was a war of aggression, while arguing that it was a war of self-defense and a just war, and that the Japanese should be proud of it. The film will not escape the stern criticism of the wide range of peace-loving people in Japan and the world.

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
4-26-7 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151