Saturday, 12 May 2007

Taku Shinjo's new kamikaze film has had a name change. Now called For Those We Love, it was previously titled I Go To Die For You, as I mentioned last month. The ABC covered the story last July and The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan has written about it just recently.

The Japanese title is Ore wa, Kimino Tamenikoso Shinini Iku, which translates exactly as "I go to die for your sake".

Shinjo, quoted in my last post saying that Japan "had no choice" but to use kamikaze tactics, today is shown feeling "angry" at the officers who sent the young pilots to their death. Along with the title change, this vacuous pabulum is an insult to contemporaries in countries that suffered when control centred in Tokyo in the first half of the twentieth century.

The story has a sentimental angle that is sure to appeal to the Japanese. It focuses on a typical 'mama-san', in this case a historical person named Tome Torihama, "a woman who ran a restaurant near the base and became a mother figure to many of the trainee kamikaze." It is disgusting to use such a respected figure, that still today offers comfort to stressed businessmen in thousands of small drinking places all over the country, in the service of what is clearly blatant propaganda in support of an ultra-nationalist policy.

Ishihara, whose nationalist tendencies are well-documented, is not alone in wishing to revitalise Japan's past, especially the period between the defeat of Russia in 1905 and defeat at the hands of the United States and its allies in 1945. In that period, imperial forces supervised from Tokyo occupied Korea, China, Taiwan, The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

Their treatment of local populations can only be described as barbaric.

For those who want to read what Japanese think of the movie, there are many comments on the Japan Today Web site that treat a quote by Tokyo City governor Shintaro Ishihara placed on the site.

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