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THE EMPEROR'S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON

Japan, 1987 (MIFF 1988, Documentary)

Director: Kazuo Hara

"Even before The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On won last years Japanese New Director's Prize, the hottest Japanese film of 1987 was so hot that no major distributor would handle it. Instead, it opened at an eighty-scat Tokyo theater, where it subsequently ran for months The subject of this documentary portrait is Kenzo Okuzaki, an eccentric auto mechanic who scandalized Japan in 1969 when he used a homemade slingshot to fire four pachinko balls at Emperor Hirohito... The self proclaimed 'Impartial Soldier of the Divine Crusade' not only refuses to put the Pacific war behind him, but even today holds the Emperor responsible for the conduct of the war and the suffering it caused Okuzaki served in the Thirty-Sixth Engineering Corps, which, rather than surrender to Australian troops at the end of the war, scattered into the New Guinea jungle... Five stormy years in the making, The Emperor's Naked Army swathes the gradual disclosure of a wartime atrocity in the mysteries of Japanese social decorum, violating numerous cultural taboos (such as linking the Emperor to the war) as well as defying documentary tenets The irrepressible Okuzaki plays both private eye and prosecutor - J Hoberman, 'American Film

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