1967 Japanese World War Two movie, ‘Japan’s Longest Day’, in remake

Japan’s Longest Day’ is a classic Japanese 1967 movie telling the story of the Japanese surrender to the Allies in World War Two.

The surrender took place on 15th August 1945 after the American atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Movie studio and production company, Shochiku announced the remake this week revealing the new cast who would replace the original actors and actresses from the film. Masato Harada will direct the feature. He recently won the jury prize at Montreal’s World Film Festival.

The film’s original was directed by Kihachi Okamoto and at 2 hours 37 minutes long it is considered one of Japan’s classic epic war movies.

Koji Yakusho will play the leading role of army minister Anami, which was played by Toshiro Mifune in the 1967 version.

Even before the original film, the story was depicted in a Japanese novel in 1965 by Kazutoshi Hando. His plot focused on a military coup against the Emperor’s decision to surrender. The army minister, Anami finds himself stuck between aligning himself with the Emperor’s decision to end the war and stop more Japanese people being killed, and not wanting to surrender defeat to the Allies.

The surrender of the Japanese came around four months after Hitler had committed suicide and Germany had surrendered. It finally brought World War Two to an end. Prior to the US atomic bombing of Japan, the country’s armed forces were struggling to conduct major military action. They had taken several defeats against the Allies in battles across the Pacific over the previous two years.

The atomic bombs and the invasion of Soviet military into Japanese held Manchukuo, north eastern China, made it more difficult for the Japanese to continue its war efforts. After a few days of internal politics and an unsuccessful coup, Emperor Hirohito gave a radio broadcast to his people announcing Japan’s surrender to the Allies, the Variety.com reports.

It is expected that the new version will also take elements from actual documented historical experiences of Japan’s government since World War Two. The country’s leaders’ have been confronted with the decision of whether to go to war or abstaining over the years and it is these situations that have proved useful to inform the film’s modern version.

Other characters in the film include Masahiro Motoki as Emperor Hirohito and Tsutomu Yamazaki as Prime Minister Suzuki.

It is hoped that the film will be released next August.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE