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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Continuing with the so-called "Inspiration" portion of our BIG LIST ...

Today's film is the documentary The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire (2011; part one above, part two here).

I'll go first:
Altogether, this doc is about ninety minutes long.  That's not a lot of time to compress centuries of history and decades of war into.  Still, we get broad strokes. 
Centuries of honor and isolation boil forth after a few short decades of contact with the West and advancement.  The higher classes like the Western style of life but the country as a whole finds itself shunned by the United States and other nations.  Resource poor, Japan lashes out, justifying their invasions of China and Korea as a "liberation" of Asia. 
The Great Depression is a worldwide event.  With the Depression comes desperation.  At home and at the warfront, honor seems to vanish as prisoners are no longer treated respectfully, just to name one example.  And then the beginning of World War II arrives after the retaliatory ABCD Embargoes.  Secret police enforce adherence to the emperor's and the military's ways.  Discipline is enforced in every walk of life.  In time, their early victories turn to defeat and the Empire's leaders are shown to be fallible after all. 
The documentary is entirely made up of archival footage, some of it from the late 1800s.  The narration is broken up with readings of letters from Japanese soldiers and civilians. 
It's full of information, that's for sure.  I learned some new things and I'm sure my son did, too, though a great deal of it probably went over his head. 
Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire ... gets the basic job done in a short amount of time.  3.25 out of five atomic breath blasts.
James' turn (sort of):
It was interesting, but I don't have much to say about it. I know it was the history of Japan but I don't understand how it all fits with Gojira yet.
I'm working on that, son.

Up next, Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie.

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