Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi

Nihon de Ichiban Nagai Hi




©2015 "The Emperor in August" Film Partners

Thursday, March 24 @ 7:00 pm

E-Street Cinema

Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi (136 min) (2015)
The Emperor in August

Shown in Japanese, with English sub-titles

Cast: Kouji Yakusho, Masahiro Motoki, Touri Matsuzaka, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Director: Masato Harada (Japanese)



Nihon no Ichiban Nagai Hi has been nominated for eleven Japanese Academy Prizes, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. It provides a “behind-the-scenes” look at the tensions within the Japanese Government as the senior leadership, including the Emperor, debated whether to accept the Potsdam Declaration and surrender. Even after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Emperor’s Cabinet remained split. Some were prepared to continue the fight, even if it meant the destruction of Japan.

That is when the Emperor did the “unthinkable” and broke the impasse by expressing his own views. “Continuing the war, destroying civilization, and bringing sorrow on humanity is not my wish. Whatever may happen to my person, I desire to save the lives of my people.”

Despite the Emperor’s decision, a group of young Army officers, determined to fight to the end, mount a coup d’etat against the Imperial Palace to prevent the broadcast of the Emperor’s speech announcing Japan’s surrender….

Articles and Reviews

From the CineMatsuri Film Selection Committee: “From the American point of view, the end of the war with Japan was relatively straight-forward – we dropped the atomic bombs, and Japan surrendered. But the reality was very different, as the film shows so well. Things could have gone very differently for both Japan and the United States if the Emperor had not intervened, and if the Army officers’ coup against the Palace had succeeded.”

“A more complex portrayal of Emperor Hirohito.” Japan Times

“Nobody shoots a group of older men sitting around arguing with as much visual interest, dramatic intensity and individual specificity as Harada, nor recreates period Tokyo with such astonishing beauty and terror. He also draws exceptional performances from his veteran actors, and portrays an impossible — and impossibly complex — situation with remarkable clarity, as well as an admixture of regret and admiration.” Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan