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Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

For ages, the Yasukuni shrine of Tokyo, Japan has courted a tremendous amount of controversy for a ceremonial sword that it holds. Shinto Buddhists believe that the said weapon harbors some 2.4 million souls; as a result, the Japanese ascribe tremendous power to the blade and Japanese officers used it to lay waste to untold numbers of victims in 1930s Asia. The building and the weapon harbor tremendous personal significance for Chinese director Li Ying, given the torture inflicted by the Japanese soldiers on Chinese communists including his own father. With Ying's documentary Yasukuni, he visits the shrine and explores the violent history that belies the existence of the building and the sword, as Japanese Buddhists continue to gather at the site and honor their dead.


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Critic Reviews for Yasukuni

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (5)

  • The film is visually compelling, but suffers because [director] Li fails to put events into context, a fact likely to confuse viewers not versed in Japanese history.

    Aug 14, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Directed by Chinese filmmaker Li Ying, it's an impressionistic documentary that concentrates on the Yasukuni shrine, a Japanese religious memorial to soldiers who died for the emperor.

    Aug 14, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Yasukuni addresses a passionately contested snarl of issues with a calm, nuanced ethical curiosity.

    Aug 12, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • The documentary's cultural impact is lost in translation -- Yasukuni initially had trouble getting shown at all in Japan -- but the skill of the enterprise isn't.

    Aug 11, 2009 | Full Review…
  • It's impossible to watch Ying's film and not think of our own monuments towards heroism, which also come at the expense of blood

    Aug 11, 2009 | Rating: 4/5
  • A fascinating portrait of the dark side of Japanese society, Ying Li's film is not so much about Japan's shrine to its war dead as it is an indictment of Japan's wartime aggression.

    Aug 11, 2009 | Full Review…

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