Japan's Longest Day Reviews

  • Sep 01, 2016

    If you like GODZILLA RESURGENCE (SHIN GOJIRA), you would like this fabulous one.

    If you like GODZILLA RESURGENCE (SHIN GOJIRA), you would like this fabulous one.

  • Aug 10, 2015

    Most powerful japanese movie.Many Japan's most famous actors of the day participated ,about Toshir? Mifune as Army Minister Korechika Anami,Chish? Ry? as Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki,

    Most powerful japanese movie.Many Japan's most famous actors of the day participated ,about Toshir? Mifune as Army Minister Korechika Anami,Chish? Ry? as Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki,

  • Bruce B Super Reviewer
    Jan 21, 2014

    By mid-August 1945 Japan's leaders knew that defeat in the "Greater East Asia War" was inevitable. The fire-bombings of Tokyo, the deployment of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan underscored this reality. Yet there were two major impediments to Japan's surrender: bureaucratic paralysis and a looming coup attempt from within the armed forces. The first half of Japan's Longest Day chronicles the first of these obstacles with a high degree of historical accuracy (compare with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's non-fiction book "Racing the Enemy," published in 2005). Chishu Ryu, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura, familiar faces from many Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa movies, portray members of Japan's divided cabinet with dignity and gravitas. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie unfolds more slowly than the first despite a great deal of shouting and violence during the coup attempt, and the script makes little attempt to situate the would-be army revolt in a philosophical or historical context. The film's final moments slip even further into myopia: Japan's military and civilian deaths are tallied, but no mention is made of the millions of deaths inflicted by Japan's armed forces in Asia. Despite these shortcomings, Japan's Longest Day is well worth watching for those with an interest in Japanese cinema or the end of World War II in the Pacific. 2 1/2 Stars 12-26-13

    By mid-August 1945 Japan's leaders knew that defeat in the "Greater East Asia War" was inevitable. The fire-bombings of Tokyo, the deployment of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan underscored this reality. Yet there were two major impediments to Japan's surrender: bureaucratic paralysis and a looming coup attempt from within the armed forces. The first half of Japan's Longest Day chronicles the first of these obstacles with a high degree of historical accuracy (compare with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's non-fiction book "Racing the Enemy," published in 2005). Chishu Ryu, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura, familiar faces from many Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa movies, portray members of Japan's divided cabinet with dignity and gravitas. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie unfolds more slowly than the first despite a great deal of shouting and violence during the coup attempt, and the script makes little attempt to situate the would-be army revolt in a philosophical or historical context. The film's final moments slip even further into myopia: Japan's military and civilian deaths are tallied, but no mention is made of the millions of deaths inflicted by Japan's armed forces in Asia. Despite these shortcomings, Japan's Longest Day is well worth watching for those with an interest in Japanese cinema or the end of World War II in the Pacific. 2 1/2 Stars 12-26-13

  • Mar 26, 2013

    By mid-August 1945 Japan's leaders knew that defeat in the "Greater East Asia War" was inevitable. The fire-bombings of Tokyo, the deployment of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan underscored this reality. Yet there were two major impediments to Japan's surrender: bureaucratic paralysis and a looming coup attempt from within the armed forces. The first half of Japan's Longest Day chronicles the first of these obstacles with a high degree of historical accuracy (compare with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's non-fiction book "Racing the Enemy," published in 2005). Chishu Ryu, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura, familiar faces from many Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa movies, portray members of Japan's divided cabinet with dignity and gravitas. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie unfolds more slowly than the first despite a great deal of shouting and violence during the coup attempt, and the script makes little attempt to situate the would-be army revolt in a philosophical or historical context. The film's final moments slip even further into myopia: Japan's military and civilian deaths are tallied, but no mention is made of the millions of deaths inflicted by Japan's armed forces in Asia. Despite these shortcomings, Japan's Longest Day is well worth watching for those with an interest in Japanese cinema or the end of World War II in the Pacific.

    By mid-August 1945 Japan's leaders knew that defeat in the "Greater East Asia War" was inevitable. The fire-bombings of Tokyo, the deployment of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan underscored this reality. Yet there were two major impediments to Japan's surrender: bureaucratic paralysis and a looming coup attempt from within the armed forces. The first half of Japan's Longest Day chronicles the first of these obstacles with a high degree of historical accuracy (compare with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's non-fiction book "Racing the Enemy," published in 2005). Chishu Ryu, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura, familiar faces from many Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa movies, portray members of Japan's divided cabinet with dignity and gravitas. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie unfolds more slowly than the first despite a great deal of shouting and violence during the coup attempt, and the script makes little attempt to situate the would-be army revolt in a philosophical or historical context. The film's final moments slip even further into myopia: Japan's military and civilian deaths are tallied, but no mention is made of the millions of deaths inflicted by Japan's armed forces in Asia. Despite these shortcomings, Japan's Longest Day is well worth watching for those with an interest in Japanese cinema or the end of World War II in the Pacific.

  • Mar 02, 2013

    This is a fascinating Japanese war drama about the decision to surrender and the process behind it. It is told in a very realistic and believable way that feels far more modern than it is. It's quite an interesting tale, though the initial twenty minutes setting up the situation rely far too heavily on narration. Once it gets to the day itself the film gets much better. This film reminds me of nothing so much as Downfall. Both films are about the end of the war as told from the POV of an Axis power. This film doesn't offer as negative a view of the Imperial Japanese state as Downfall does the Nazi German one, but both films convey the frustration and despair of a proud empire's surrender. They also deal eith the madness of people unable to accept reality. The sheer eagerness of so many to commit suicide rather than accept defeat and the delusional belief that future victories could turn the situation around are also common themes. It's fascinating to watch. It is always wonderful to see two of my favorite actors together, even outside of a Kurosawa picture. And Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura both give in wonderful performances. Mifune even manages to restrain his tendency to ham it up in favor of a performance full of restrained passion. The performances in general are restrained and realistic, generally managing to convey the anger, frustration, and humiliation involved in the surrender.

    This is a fascinating Japanese war drama about the decision to surrender and the process behind it. It is told in a very realistic and believable way that feels far more modern than it is. It's quite an interesting tale, though the initial twenty minutes setting up the situation rely far too heavily on narration. Once it gets to the day itself the film gets much better. This film reminds me of nothing so much as Downfall. Both films are about the end of the war as told from the POV of an Axis power. This film doesn't offer as negative a view of the Imperial Japanese state as Downfall does the Nazi German one, but both films convey the frustration and despair of a proud empire's surrender. They also deal eith the madness of people unable to accept reality. The sheer eagerness of so many to commit suicide rather than accept defeat and the delusional belief that future victories could turn the situation around are also common themes. It's fascinating to watch. It is always wonderful to see two of my favorite actors together, even outside of a Kurosawa picture. And Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura both give in wonderful performances. Mifune even manages to restrain his tendency to ham it up in favor of a performance full of restrained passion. The performances in general are restrained and realistic, generally managing to convey the anger, frustration, and humiliation involved in the surrender.

  • Oct 27, 2011

    Kihachi Okamoto's WWII political thriller without any of his signature stylish action sequence. Although the first half of the film is pretty slow and it does feel long as the title suggests, the tension that builds up between the government officials making the decisions to surrender and the rebels trying to overthrow the decision is just too exciting to ignore. Shinobu Hashimoto(Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Harakiri)'s script gives each character so much depth that you'll find yourself sympathizing with these characters including the young crazy brainwashed soldier, Hatanaka, who does not hesitate to kill and die for the glory of Japan.

    Kihachi Okamoto's WWII political thriller without any of his signature stylish action sequence. Although the first half of the film is pretty slow and it does feel long as the title suggests, the tension that builds up between the government officials making the decisions to surrender and the rebels trying to overthrow the decision is just too exciting to ignore. Shinobu Hashimoto(Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Harakiri)'s script gives each character so much depth that you'll find yourself sympathizing with these characters including the young crazy brainwashed soldier, Hatanaka, who does not hesitate to kill and die for the glory of Japan.

  • Walter M Super Reviewer
    Feb 01, 2011

    "Japan's Longest Day" is a very suspenseful and detailed movie that recreates the events leading up to Japan's surrender in World War II, starting with the Potsdam Declaration. Japan's response is wait and see, but is misinterpreted as a flat refusal, leading to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Faced with already immense losses in life and property(recalled at the end of the movie), total annihilation and an American invasion, the government and military, with emotions ranging from resignation to revolt, debate about the conditions before going to an imperial council which accedes. At first, it is hard to keep track of all of the players but eventually the plot narrows to a simple focus of one day from August 14, 1945 at noon, to the following day at noon, as a recording is made of the emperor's voice to be played to the public, announcing the surrender while the allies are contacted through intermediaries. On this day, small acts of courage make all the difference. Still, there are some who wish for one decisive battle on Japanese soil(Don't pay attention to the one guy who thinks 20 million kamikazes will carry the day since he's obviously off his meds.). A general counters such thinking by pointing out that it takes more courage to live than to die. A once impossible future full of unknowns, not only consisting of a Japanese military defeat, but also occupation, is now on the horizon for everybody involved. Relax, it all does turn out well for Japan, except for the war criminals.

    "Japan's Longest Day" is a very suspenseful and detailed movie that recreates the events leading up to Japan's surrender in World War II, starting with the Potsdam Declaration. Japan's response is wait and see, but is misinterpreted as a flat refusal, leading to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Faced with already immense losses in life and property(recalled at the end of the movie), total annihilation and an American invasion, the government and military, with emotions ranging from resignation to revolt, debate about the conditions before going to an imperial council which accedes. At first, it is hard to keep track of all of the players but eventually the plot narrows to a simple focus of one day from August 14, 1945 at noon, to the following day at noon, as a recording is made of the emperor's voice to be played to the public, announcing the surrender while the allies are contacted through intermediaries. On this day, small acts of courage make all the difference. Still, there are some who wish for one decisive battle on Japanese soil(Don't pay attention to the one guy who thinks 20 million kamikazes will carry the day since he's obviously off his meds.). A general counters such thinking by pointing out that it takes more courage to live than to die. A once impossible future full of unknowns, not only consisting of a Japanese military defeat, but also occupation, is now on the horizon for everybody involved. Relax, it all does turn out well for Japan, except for the war criminals.

  • Nov 24, 2009

    Which Way Is Honourable? It is said that history is written by the winners, and this is usually true. Usually. Of course, if there are radically different cultures involved and no real conquest, you'll get two different histories, one in each culture. The European history of the Crusades, of course, is not the same as the Middle Eastern history of the Crusades. More to the point, though, with the advent of mass media, multiple sides of the story are told more often. Take, for example, the sheer volume of books written about the American Civil War from the side of the Confederacy. Unquestionably, the South lost. In the aftermath, the South suffered. However, they still write an awful lot of books about it, and one of the greatest historians of the conflict was born in Greensville, Mississippi. Similarly, films are made telling the side of the Axis powers during World War II. The Germans are generally hesitant at showing the high command, for obvious reasons, but the Japanese high command was not quite so dangerously insane. Japan has lost the war. Hopelessly and irretrievably. A declaration has been issued by the Allies. Japan can either surrender, pretty much unconditionally, or be destroyed. Examples of that destruction has been shown at Hiroshima and at Nagasaki. There is nothing left. The Emperor has one last meeting with his advisors in which they agree that it's all over, that they must accept the Potsdam Declaration. The Emperor even records a broadcast informing the Japanese people of such. It will be broadcast at noon on 15 August, and the Emperor and his ministers have sent notification of their acceptance to the Allies. However, many in the military see this as shameful and agree to fight to the death--and force the country to go along with them. Death before dishonour and all that. On the other hand, at least part of their honour is tied up in the Emperor, so they must declare that he was unduly swayed by his ministers. They will fix all that and rescue Japan from dishonour, if not from the destruction it will then inevitably face. Better that than surrender. The primary problem with the film can be summed up by a grammatical issue. Doubtless your English teacher told you about it. The film relies on the passive voice. These are things which happened. No one in the film accepts any responsibility for the state of affairs. This is all leaving aside any Western debate about the Allied bombings of Japan--both atomic and fire. Of course, in many ways, the Emperor wasn't able to steer events much, but here, it seems as though everyone just did things. There is no responsibility. The only thing over which people seem to feel shame is the ultimate decision to surrender. Now, of course, surrender is a shameful thing in this culture, and this helped shape events in the time leading up to this day. The rebellion of those who could not bear surrender drives the movie. However, the film ends in part with a hope that none of this [i]will happen[/i] to Japan and its people again. No responsibility. No burden. As is the hazard with any lengthy historical work, the film includes so many characters that it's hard to keep track of them. Given the presence of our old friend, Toshirô Mifune, it's probably an even more direct parallel to the Allied [i]The Longest Day[/i] than the title would imply. [i]The Longest Day[/i] is filled with Western film stars--including that most Western of all, John Wayne himself. (And Henry Fonda, a young Sean Connery, Richard Burton, and so forth.) It seems probable that a Japanese viewer of the time could have spotted all their favourite stars. Failing that, said viewer would doubtless be more aware of the historical figures than someone forty years later and on another continent. Currently, though, everyone seems to blur together. Everyone gets identified onscreen, at least upon their first appearance, but with a dozen or more important characters and at least twice that in minor ones, that doesn't really help. The story is clear; the participants are not. The other really great failing of the movie is its violence. There is a very large sticker on the library's copy declaring that it is NC-17, which is astonishing in a movie with no swearing or sex. However, several characters die onscreen, mostly with anime-style great sprays of gore. A character is beheaded, and his head thumps down pretty sickeningly right in front of the camera. Toward the end, when the last diehards are committing seppuku, one shoots himself, and the resulting matter splatters all over the camera in an entirely unnecessary fashion. The problem with all this is that it takes away from the real tension of the story. Yes, this was a violent conflict, the last gasps of a dying system at the end of a dying war. Yes, showing that violence onscreen is perfectly acceptable. No, the violence should not be sanitized. However, again, there's the splashing of matter onto the camera, which is not necessary to the greater story. It's meant to shock, and shocking is not the point of this film. Or at least it didn't seem so until some of these moments.

    Which Way Is Honourable? It is said that history is written by the winners, and this is usually true. Usually. Of course, if there are radically different cultures involved and no real conquest, you'll get two different histories, one in each culture. The European history of the Crusades, of course, is not the same as the Middle Eastern history of the Crusades. More to the point, though, with the advent of mass media, multiple sides of the story are told more often. Take, for example, the sheer volume of books written about the American Civil War from the side of the Confederacy. Unquestionably, the South lost. In the aftermath, the South suffered. However, they still write an awful lot of books about it, and one of the greatest historians of the conflict was born in Greensville, Mississippi. Similarly, films are made telling the side of the Axis powers during World War II. The Germans are generally hesitant at showing the high command, for obvious reasons, but the Japanese high command was not quite so dangerously insane. Japan has lost the war. Hopelessly and irretrievably. A declaration has been issued by the Allies. Japan can either surrender, pretty much unconditionally, or be destroyed. Examples of that destruction has been shown at Hiroshima and at Nagasaki. There is nothing left. The Emperor has one last meeting with his advisors in which they agree that it's all over, that they must accept the Potsdam Declaration. The Emperor even records a broadcast informing the Japanese people of such. It will be broadcast at noon on 15 August, and the Emperor and his ministers have sent notification of their acceptance to the Allies. However, many in the military see this as shameful and agree to fight to the death--and force the country to go along with them. Death before dishonour and all that. On the other hand, at least part of their honour is tied up in the Emperor, so they must declare that he was unduly swayed by his ministers. They will fix all that and rescue Japan from dishonour, if not from the destruction it will then inevitably face. Better that than surrender. The primary problem with the film can be summed up by a grammatical issue. Doubtless your English teacher told you about it. The film relies on the passive voice. These are things which happened. No one in the film accepts any responsibility for the state of affairs. This is all leaving aside any Western debate about the Allied bombings of Japan--both atomic and fire. Of course, in many ways, the Emperor wasn't able to steer events much, but here, it seems as though everyone just did things. There is no responsibility. The only thing over which people seem to feel shame is the ultimate decision to surrender. Now, of course, surrender is a shameful thing in this culture, and this helped shape events in the time leading up to this day. The rebellion of those who could not bear surrender drives the movie. However, the film ends in part with a hope that none of this [i]will happen[/i] to Japan and its people again. No responsibility. No burden. As is the hazard with any lengthy historical work, the film includes so many characters that it's hard to keep track of them. Given the presence of our old friend, Toshirô Mifune, it's probably an even more direct parallel to the Allied [i]The Longest Day[/i] than the title would imply. [i]The Longest Day[/i] is filled with Western film stars--including that most Western of all, John Wayne himself. (And Henry Fonda, a young Sean Connery, Richard Burton, and so forth.) It seems probable that a Japanese viewer of the time could have spotted all their favourite stars. Failing that, said viewer would doubtless be more aware of the historical figures than someone forty years later and on another continent. Currently, though, everyone seems to blur together. Everyone gets identified onscreen, at least upon their first appearance, but with a dozen or more important characters and at least twice that in minor ones, that doesn't really help. The story is clear; the participants are not. The other really great failing of the movie is its violence. There is a very large sticker on the library's copy declaring that it is NC-17, which is astonishing in a movie with no swearing or sex. However, several characters die onscreen, mostly with anime-style great sprays of gore. A character is beheaded, and his head thumps down pretty sickeningly right in front of the camera. Toward the end, when the last diehards are committing seppuku, one shoots himself, and the resulting matter splatters all over the camera in an entirely unnecessary fashion. The problem with all this is that it takes away from the real tension of the story. Yes, this was a violent conflict, the last gasps of a dying system at the end of a dying war. Yes, showing that violence onscreen is perfectly acceptable. No, the violence should not be sanitized. However, again, there's the splashing of matter onto the camera, which is not necessary to the greater story. It's meant to shock, and shocking is not the point of this film. Or at least it didn't seem so until some of these moments.

  • Nov 04, 2009

    The first part throws an awful lot of information and names at you, but by the midway point the focus settles on an attempted coup by a group of fanatical soldiers who want to continue the war. It's riveting stuff, expertly composed by Okamoto and full of exciting, tense moments. The one really sour note was Toshio Kurosawa's over-the-top bug-eyed portrayal of Major Hanataka. It was far more crazy than the role required, although I guess you see a lot of that in Japanese movies.

    The first part throws an awful lot of information and names at you, but by the midway point the focus settles on an attempted coup by a group of fanatical soldiers who want to continue the war. It's riveting stuff, expertly composed by Okamoto and full of exciting, tense moments. The one really sour note was Toshio Kurosawa's over-the-top bug-eyed portrayal of Major Hanataka. It was far more crazy than the role required, although I guess you see a lot of that in Japanese movies.

  • Jul 11, 2009

    This was an interesting film about the 36 hours before Japan surrendered. Some factions of the military wanted to keep fighting and even tried to assassinate the Prime Minister to do it. Similar to "Apollo 13" it is still exciting even though you know how its going to turn out. (You DO know how it turned out , right?)

    This was an interesting film about the 36 hours before Japan surrendered. Some factions of the military wanted to keep fighting and even tried to assassinate the Prime Minister to do it. Similar to "Apollo 13" it is still exciting even though you know how its going to turn out. (You DO know how it turned out , right?)