It is not the first time in this section that I have dealt with Korean animation cinema, one of the best in the world.
In the very fabric of its creations a certain special touch of sensitivity and emotion. Memory also plays an essential role. What especially happened during the period of the Japanese invasion of the peninsula before and during World War II is installed in the memory of every Korean citizen regardless of age! Not only is it about bonding, bringing to life, or rather reliving, a painful past in the memory of the younger generations, but educating to prevent. Note that the format of this memory through the animated film reaches a wider audience than the Korean audience alone.
We must forget, say some, enough lamentations say others, only whining, enough … Unfortunately, we know only too well these fallacious arguments which in fact conceal all other gloomy and miserable considerations. Of course, I compare this to what happened in Europe, to the Shoah and to the denialist rhetoric that flourish without anyone paying sufficient attention to it today. Memory is at the very heart of what makes humanity (with an “s” possibly).
Japanese militarism and its imperialist corollary have been bloody, frightful and filthy. The ruling military caste in Tokyo has carried sword and blood throughout the China Sea-Pacific region. We have also dealt with these subjects on several occasions in our columns through different focus and we will continue our research on these subjects.
Massacres of the populations (Nanjing 1937), subjugation of the civilians, “comfort women” 위안부, wianbu (according to Japanese terminology) that is to say these Korean women (or Chinese in China) rounded up and often minors, to satisfy “the needs ”of the Japanese soldiery. But also enemy soldiers taken prisoner “ill-treated” and starving.
Recall that the Japanese invasion of Korea began in 1910 and did not end until 1945.
Less well known, these young people from submissive countries forced to serve in Japanese uniform.
This is what this Korean film is about.
From the beginning of the film we are in the memory, an old man, a father certainly, collects himself at Yasukuni shrine 靖国神社. The story of his son who disappeared at the command of his Mitsubishi A6M Zero 零 式 艦上 戦 闘 機, (mediocre aircraft incidentally compared to those used by the US aviation), unfolds before our eyes.
We are witnessing a quasi-initiation ceremony gathering pilots destined to offer their lives as a holocaust (the first sense of the term) to the Emperor. The speech (subtitled in English) is lyrical and poetic, it is in fact only deadly and black. This is the trick that sects, not to say religions, use to bamboozle, brainwash, manipulate fragile minds. Napoleon’s words come back to me: “A beggar is just a monk with a little foot!” “
The pilots come together as one man in a song that says: “A flower that opens always ends up falling“. In fact it is the justification not to say the glorification of the sacrifice but through a virtuous image. At one time, the other, we are witnessing the same phenomenon today with terrorism of another origin.
Among this whole Japanese group, a Korean pilot enlisted in the Imperial Army, the hero of the film. He is dangled with the honor of dying (with a good dose of lukewarm sake of course), him and of finding his, Japanese brothers in arms after death near the third cherry tree at Yasukumi’s shrine … difficult to sip up the saké, anyway it will be drunked up …
Of course we are witnessing the air attack by the Japanese air force under fire from American planes which strafed the Japanese Zeros. From the point of view of cinematographic technique it is quite successful, without however achieving the graphic excellence of the Polish film Paths of hate, which we regularly upload to WUKALI.
Ultimately a fantastic scene, almost grandiose, where we see the dead, the damned, their arms sticking out of the earth, grabbing the Japanese pilot. If this is surprising for a Western spectator, you should know that literature and painting, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, are full of stories of the living dead or other fantastic creatures, and for the greatest pleasure of reader or spectator.
As a conclusion? But should we conclude?
Some historical reminders and some documented notes on these senior officers of the Japanese military caste sentenced to death by the military court gathered in Tokyo to try them. All honored at the Yasukuni-jinja mausoleum in Tokyo 靖国神社 (in Japanese this literally means: “the Shinto shrine of the peaceful country”.
Peaceful, soothed you said?
The first of these officers is of course Tojo Hidekihiro Itagaki 東 條 英 機 who was Prime Minister from 1941 to 1944.
Heitarō Kimura 木村 兵 太郎 nicknamed the Butcher of Burma
Kenji Doihara 土肥原 賢 二 instigator of all the dirty tricks in Manchuria and true godfather of drug trafficking
Iwane Matsui 松井 石 根 responsible for the Nanjing massacre