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Shull I Expose Hypocrisies Michael S. Shull The Washington Center, Frederick College Expose Hypocrisies Jeffrey Ruoff and Kenneth Ruoff. The Emperor's NakedArmy Marches On. Flicks Books, 1998. immediately placed it in the forefront of the struggle over historical memory—its impact upon the home audience apparently similar to that created in France by Marcel Ophul's epic, iconoclastic 1971 documentary on the Vichy era, The Sorrow and the Pity. The notoriety and financial success of NakedArmy, at least by nonfiction standards, can be partially attributed to Hara's unorthodox style of filmmaking—sometimes called "action documentaries"—where the actual subjects of the film are given considerable control over the events that play out on screen. The subject is the notorious Kenzo Okuzaki— one of most infamous acts of this grizzled war veteran in his native Japan, the slingshot firing ofpachinko balls (small metal balls used in a popular Japanese game machine) at the late wartime emperor, Hirohito. This book specifically deals with Okuzaki's present-day efforts (mid 1980's), himself an ordinary army private who fought in the Pacific War, to document atrocities committed by his fellow soldiers during the prolonged and vicious New Guinea campaign. Especially in a society that has refused to engage in a candid discourse relating to the uglier side ofits complicity in atrocities and responsibilities for initiating the war in Asia and the Pacific, this film's stark revelations concerning cannibalism by inadequately provisioned troops and the inhuman disregard ofsoldiers' rights proved shocking to audiences. There are no rehearsed Q&A sessions for the camera— the subject routinely inserts himself directly into the process , often times aggressively—sometimes, more or less stalking the individuals and then conducting ambush type interviews—a style adopted by filmmaker Michael Moore in his 1991 award winning Roger and Me. The up-front in-yourface interviews by Okuzaki often cajoling or tricking confessions out of reluctant participants, can be somewhat startling to the uninitiated and is reported by the coauthors to be particularly jarring to Japanese decorum. For example, using his wife to pose as the tormented sister of a soldier murdered to provide a source of food for his fellow starving troops several days after Japan capitulated, Okuzaki shames a participant into acknowledging that the incident took place, and into belatedly expressing remorse. This short paperback, fifty-seven pages to be precise, part of Flicks Books' Cinetek series, presents an analytical reading of the eponymous pseudo-documentary film directed by Kazuo Hara—a more than two-hour long effort first released in 1987 under its original Japanese title: Yukiyukite Shingun (Forward Divine Army). Besides archival research, the authors Ruoff conducted several interviews with the director. This highly eccentric filmmaker has made it his life's mission to expose hypocrisies in Japanese society. Refused funding by Japan's government-sponsored TV, Hara independently produced The Emperor's NakedArmy Marches On. In fact, the film has never been broadcast on Japanese TV. Instead, prints were made for theatrical distribution and a video tape was sold commercially in the country. Although a 1989 subtitled version was broadcast in America by PBS, the film remains difficult to access outside Japan. Naked Army addresses the ongoing controversy among the Japanese from its invasion of China in 1937 to its final defeat by the Allies in 1945, whether relating to the Korean comfort women forced into prostitution to service Japan's troops, the biological experiments conducted by Unit 741 in Manchuria on thousands of Chinese civilians and Allied POWs, or to the 1937 Rape ofNanking— whose horrific aspects were recently reexamined in gory detail in the bestselling book of that name— written by Iris Chang. Yet a socalled historical context section of this coauthored book devotes less than three pages (10-12) to the subject. Likewise, a serious discussion of the film's reception is limited to the last few pages. Therefore, unless one is an expert on World War II Japan and the postwar Japanese response to their defeat, the audience, particularly nonJapanese viewers, is left to ponder why both the Japanese government and the general public ofJapan, decades after that war, persist in assiduously avoiding confronting their wartime transgressions. Because...


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pp. 81-84
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