Nationalists in Japan are denouncing Hollywood filmmaker Angelina Jolie’s new movie about an American airman brutalized in Japanese prison camps during World War II as anti-Japanese propaganda and are calling for a boycott of the film and it’s star director.
The campaign against Unbroken is the latest effort by Japan’s right wing to sanitize the country’s wartime history and punish critics of their viewpoint.
It also comes as former American POWs – many now in their 90s and in poor health – are pressing for apologies from Japanese companies that used them as slave laborers during the war.
“This is a movie that people in Japan need to see so that they understand how the POWs really were treated,” says Kinue Tokudome, a writer and researcher who has campaigned on behalf of American POWs.
Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a star of the 1936 Berlin Olympics who was shot down over the Pacific and survived more than two years of horrific treatment in Japanese prison camps.
The film is based on the best-selling book by author Laura Hillenbrand. The movie debuts in the United States on Christmas Day but has not been scheduled for release in Japan.
A right-wing group, the Association for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, claims the book and film are filled with “fabrications” and has called on distributors not to show the movie in Japan and for Jolie to be barred from entering the country.
A Japanese-language petition at Change.org that calls for a boycott of the film has attracted about 9,500 supporters – including more than 1,000 over in recent days.
Jolie said she is not concerned about a backlash to the film in Japan. “It’s a beautiful film that has a beautiful message,” she told USA TODAY. “We were very conscious of showing all sides of the war, including the bombing of Tokyo. But this is Louis’ experience and he…had a very difficult time as a POW. So we want to pay respect and show that all people suffer in war.”
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SOURCE: USA Today