Selected Films of the 1980s Publications / index / Japanese Documentary

The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On

(16k) Production Company: Shisso Productions
Producer: Kobayashi Sachiko
Planning: Imamura Shohei
Director, Photography: Hara Kazuo
Sound: Kuribayashi Toyohiko
Editing: Nabeshima Jun
Assistant Directors: Yasuoka Takuji, Omiya Koichi
Director's Assistants: Tokunaga Yasuko, Miyoshi Yunoshin
1987 / Color / 16mm / 122 min / English subtitles

Produced thirteen years after his last film, Hara Kazuo's The Emperor's Naked Army Marches deals with one of the most interesting questions of the 1980's. The subject, Okuzaki Kenzo, is a battery merchant. Calling himself an "Impartial Soldier of the Emperor's Army" he once attacked the Emperor with a handmade sling shot, becoming the first man to actively accuse the Emperor for the tragedies of World War II. As a soldier of Independent Engineering Troop Unit 36, Okuzaki is one of the survivors of the extremely horrific battle fields of New Guinea during the war, and he went on a radical lone crusade blaming the Emperor for what occurred there. Hara, as director and also a cameraman, follows the man's peculiar everyday life which leads up to his formidable, self-conceited acts of accusation. In the course of the film, the incident of non-commissioned officers executing soldiers twenty-three days after Japan's surrender, and the true reasons for execution (cannibalism among the starving soldiers) are revealed, whilst at the same time the personal character of Okuzaki himself is closely recorded. Okuzaki's words and deeds become gradually radicalized and insane as he begins to be conscious of being filmed, and he even directs violence towards Hara standing behind the camera. Okuzaki acts as he is filmed, and manipulates reality: the fiction within Okuzaki takes off without properly distinguishing itself from reality, and in the end Okuzaki is charged with attempted murder and jailed.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee