The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On
About IDFA
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On
IDFA 1998

The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On

Yuki yukite shingun
Kazuo Hara
112 min
Festival history
YUKI YUKITE SHINGUN deals with the rebellious old man Kenzo Okuzaki, who is averse to whatever authority. He has even gone as far as setting up a one man army that is accountable only to God. He travels through Japan with a flag of his own making, with only one purpose: revenge.
He makes a ridiculous attempt to kill emperor Hirohito with a harmless catapult. In the streets he hands out pornographic cartoons of the emperor. Okuzaki seizes every opportunity to humiliate Hirohito. What is the cause of this obsession?
This film gives the answer to this question in a sketchy manner. During WW II, Okuzaki served the Japanese emperor in New Guinea. Towards the end of the war, the multitudinous army corps that he was part of was driven into the jungle of New Guinea. Besieged by malaria, hunger, and the Australian enemy troops, only thirty men survived this hell, Okuzaki being one of them. Japan had already surrendered, but this group held on for another three weeks. The commanding officer executed two soldiers who, according to the official version, had deserted. Okuzaki, however, thinks that the two bodies were to serve as food for the remaining men.
The soldiers had not been informed on the international rules concerning prisoners of war. They had been trained in an army that preferred suicide to surrender to the enemy. Hundreds of lives would have been saved if the army had immediately surrendered. Okuzaki tracks down his ex-C.O. and roughly confronts him with his accusations of the two alleged deserters. The man admits that emperor Hirohito was responsible for this action in the jungle.
Unfortunately, Okuzaki is unable to bring charges against the emperor. In 1946, Hirohito's declination of his divine status made him immensely popular. He cleverly used this full acceptation by the Japanese people of his humanity to prove his innocence. This has made Okuzaki the only Japanese to publicly offend Hirohito.
The film was started in 1982 but met with a series of adversities. The confiscation of all reels by the Indonesian government was the lowest point in this. The impermissible and often ilegal actions of the violent Okuzaki more than once endangered the progress of the film.
Screening copy
    The Japan Foundation
    The Japan Foundation
    The Japan Foundation
    The Japan Foundation