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The Horror and the Glory: Writing and Rewriting History in Japanese Cinema

Luk van Haute
language: English
subtitles: Polish, English, Dutch, Finnish, Italian


Movies dealing with war and patriotism more often than not have an ideological motive. Some glorify the efforts of the nation (its leaders, soldiers and civilians) for the just cause. Others depict the horror and the disastrous effects. This lecture will compare several examples of both sides in Japanese cinema from the WWII and postwar period, not only in their content but also in the way they were produced, financed and promoted.

Luk van Haute

Luk van Haute is an expert on Japan as well as a columnist, film expert and translator of literature by authors including Haruki Murakami. He studied Japanology at Ghent University and Comparative Culture and Literature at the University of Tokyo. He has spent many years in Japan employed at a film production company, while regularly contributing to newspapers, magazines, radio and television on the subject of Japanese culture and society. For an anthology that he compiled and translated called "Love’s Death in Kamara and other Japanese Stories" he was awarded the 2015 Filter Translation Prize.


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Further reading

Very Loud Aggbaggh in Asahi Evening News (1989), Alan Booth
Maree no tora, Harimao densetsu (1988), Fujito Nakano, Shinchosha
Seventeen & J: Two Novels (1998) Kenzaburo Oe (translated by Luk Van Haute), Foxrock Books
Dealing with the Identity Crisis: Japanese Cinema Left and Right, Luk van Haute in
Asian Cinema (2005) vol.16, No.1
De tactiek van de sluipende ontkenning, Luk van haute in De Morgen, 14/04/2007


Murudeka 17805 / Merdeka 17805, dir. Fuji Yukio (2001)
Roorerai / Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean,dir. Shinji Higuchi (2005)
Biruma no tategoto / The Burmese Harp aka Harp of Burma, dir. Kon Ichikawa (1956)
Nobi / Fires on the Plain, dir. Kon Ichikawa (1959)
Puraido: Unmei no toki / Pride, dir. Shunya Ito (1997)
Tōkyō saiban / Tokyo Trial, dir. Masaki Kobayashi (1983)
Otokotachi no Yamato / Yamato, dir. Junya Sato (2005)
Ore wa kimi no tame ni koso shi ni iku / For Those We Love, dir. Taku Shinjo (2007)
Nobi / Fires on the Plain, dir. ShinyaTsukamoto (2014)
Harimao, dir. Ben Wada (1989)
Kyatapirā / Caterpillar, dir. Koji Wakamatsu (2010)
Blood Oath / aka Prisoners of the Sun, Ambon de nani ga sabakareta ka, dir. Stephen Wallace (1990)
Meiji Tennō to Nichiro daisensō / Emperor Meiji and the Great Russo-Japanese War, dir. Kunio Watanabe (1957)
Eien no Zero / The Eternal Zero, dir. Takashi Yamazaki (2013)

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