6.5/10
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Emperor (2012)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 27 July 2013 (Japan)
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As the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, General Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Toshiyuki Nishida ...
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Masatoshi Nakamura ...
Masatô Ibu ...
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Takatarô Kataoka ...
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Lt Col. Rogers
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Lieutenant Red
Shôhei Hino ...
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CIC Commander
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Storyline

A story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. On the staff of General Douglas MacArthur (Jones), the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces, a leading Japanese expert, General Bonner Fellers (Fox) is charged with reaching a decision of historical importance: should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal? Interwoven is the story of Fellers' love affair with Aya, a Japanese exchange student he had met years previously in the U.S. Memories of Aya and his quest to find her in the ravaged post-war landscape help Fellers to discover both his wisdom and his humanity and enable him to come to the momentous decision that changed the course of history and the future of two nations. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Japan 1945: General Douglas MacArthur was given a mission to decide the fate of a nation, the guilt of a leader, and the true price of peace.

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent content, brief strong language and smoking (historical) | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

27 July 2013 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Imperador  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,014,099 (USA) (10 March 2013)

Gross:

$3,345,315 (USA) (9 June 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aya Shimada is based on a woman, Yuri Watanabe, Fellers met at Earlham college in 1915. Fellers and Watanabe were lifelong friends until her death in June 1954. See more »

Goofs

When BG Fellers awaits the arrival of the emperor for the meeting with MacArthur, he is wearing a "Class A" uniform. His right shoulder epaulet end is improperly *above* his collar, rather than the proper placement *under* the collar. During the meeting between MacArthur and the emperor, the epaulet has been placed properly. It is possible that someone might have advised BG Fellers of his uniform mistake, but there did not seem to be sufficient time or opportunity within the flow of the scenes to do so. See more »

Quotes

Aya Shimada: If you understand devotion, you will understand Japan.
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User Reviews

 
An enjoyable, if a bit dry, historical film
14 September 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Just saw Emperor at TIFF tonight. It was an enjoyable, well made, historical film, but a tad dry. Starring Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Fox as MacArthur's subordinate officer General Fellers, it is set against the backdrop of the early occupation of Japan by U.S. forces after World War 2. MacArthur is faced with a dilemma: he has to prosecute thirty Japanese war criminals - the masterminds of the war - but a question of what to do with Emperor Hirohito looms over him. To leave him alone would invite displeasure from American public and politicians, to arrest and try him for war crimes would endanger the occupation and break the tenuous peace. Jones' MacArthur assigns the task to Matthew Fox's character as he is an expert on Japan - now Fox's character has only 10 days to investigate the Emperor's involvement and come to a decision. In the meantime, the viewers also see flashbacks from Fellers' past, and there is a subplot involving Feller looking for his lost lover.

Tommy Lee Jones is plainly having lots of fun as the blustering larger- than-life Douglas MacArthur, and Matthew Fox delivers a good performance with moments of extreme intensity. Masayoshi Haneda plays a translator and aide and manages to pull off a role that has dignity despite the harrowed and dishevelled appearance of the character. Eriko Hatsune - the love interest of the film - has a fragile beauty but is too reserved throughout the movie to deliver much of an emotional impact. The film was shot in New Zealand and Japan (in fact it's the first movie to film inside the Japanese Imperial Palace) and it's gorgeous - the ruins of bombed out Tokyo are especially impressive, and of course the Imperial Palace as a backdrop is fascinating.

The quibble I had with the movie is that it tries to create a sense of urgency and suspense, but since it's based on historical events it largely fails. Anyone who has taken history in high school should know how it turned out. With the exception of a couple of scenes, there also isn't much of an emotionally charged drama going on either. Although I enjoyed it, I cannot deny that it moved at a more sedate pace and lacked great urgency and suspense.


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