Kamei Fumio Retrospective [Pre-War Documentary Films]

Fighting Soldiers

(“Tatakau heitai”)
- 1939 / B&W / 16mm / 66 min / English Subtitles

Director, Editing: Kamei Fumio
Photography: Miki Shigeru
Sound: Kanayama Kinjiro
Location Sound: Fujii Shinichi
Music: Koseki Yuji
Producer: Matsuzaki Keiji
Production Company: Culture Films Department, Toho
Source: Kawakita Memorial Film Institute

Even though Kamei himself repeatedly said that this was not an antiwar film, in books, essays, and in the media Fighting Soldiers has been described as the representative example of anti-war film. It is also the representative “mysterious” work of the Kamei Fumio. Kamei, along with cinematographer Miki Shigeru, assistant Segawa Junichi and sound recordist Fujii Shinichi, followed the army in its frontline strategy against China, trying to capture what they saw as it really was. Because the film was not as rousing as army censors had hoped, its exhibition was prohibited and it was hidden in storage. The film was forgotten and regarded as lost for many years. While making the Showa Document series for Asahi Broadcasting in 1976, the staff of Nippon Eiga Shinsha accidentally discovered a print of the film behind the screen in a sound studio. The film garnered attention as a forgotten anti-war film. Without narration and formed only with images, sounds, music and intertitles, it is said to be Kamei’s best film, despite, according to Kamei, the absence of several important scenes. It appears that Toho, fearing censorship, made some cuts itself in anticipation of the film’s release. The script as taken down by Tsuchimoto Noriaki was published in Henkyo 4 (Kirokusha), July 1987.

• Kamei Fumio Retrospective [Pre-War Works] Hiking Song | Shape without Shape | An Introduction to Radio: The Audience | School Broadcasting | The Geology of Fuji | Airspace [Pre-War Documentary Films] Shanghai | Peking | Fighting Soldiers | Kobayashi Issa [Post-War Documentary Films] A Japanese Tragedy | Children of the Base | The People of Sunagawa | Wheat Will Never Fall | Still It’s Good to Live | Record of Blood: Sunagawa | The World Is Terrified: The Reality of the “Ash of Death” | Living in a Rough Sea | Fluttering Pigeons | Voice of Hiroshima | Men Are All Brothers | Towards a World without Arms | All Must Live: People, Insects and Birds | All Living Things Are Friends—Lullabies of Birds, Insects and Fish [Feature Films] War and Peace | A Woman’s Life | Become a Mother, Become a Woman | Woman Walking Alone on the Earth [PR and Educational Films] Poem of Life | Invitation to Japanese Architecture | Penmanship | Quiet Construction Methods | Living with Ideas: A Profile of Sharp | Let’s Weave a Rainbow | Hong Kong, Taipei | Norihei Travel Manners | The Southern Cross Is Calling | Wishing for Tomorrow’s Happiness [Other Works] Underwear Makes the Woman | The Models and the Photographer | Kamei on Kamei: A Record of Yesterday’s Film Production Discussion Group | Human Conceit: The World of Director Kamei Fumio