Under the Flag of the Rising Sun

  • 96'
  • Japan
  • 1972
The film in which Fukasaku most directly expressed his ideas and feelings about the post-war period in Japan. His enthusiasm for this story is clear from the fact that he personally acquired the film rights of this Kinoshita-Prize-winning novel by Yuki Shoji. He took the script to several studios until eventually he came to the Shinsei Eigasha Studio, where he had shot Kimi ga wakamono nara/If You Were Young two years previously. The story is about the widow of an army officer who was sentenced to death at the end of World War Two for desertion, and her appeal against the decision by the Ministry of Welfare to deny her a pension as a war widow. In 1971 she visits four veterans from the old regiment of her husband in an attempt to find out the true circumstances of her husband's death. Her conversations reveal the cruelty of the last few days on the front, such as the mutual massacres, the cannibalism and the murder of officers. Frankly using a wide range of cinematographic techniques, Fukasaku poses the question of how cruel the war can make people. However he seems most interested in the different ways those who have lived through or taken part in the terrors of war choose to survive - which is expressed in the contradictions in the stories of the four veterans. The film sketches a lively impression of Fukasaku's sympathies, but also of his criticism of the outcasts who live in the underbelly of postwar Japanese society, such as the man who spends his life on a barren and derelict site in the company of his pig. The film was given good reviews in Japan and abroad and was mainly renowned as an anti-war drama.
Fukasaku Kinji
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2000
Original title
Gunki hatameku moto ni
Toei Company, Ltd., Shinsei Eigasha, Matsumaru Seishi, Tokizane Shohei
Toho Co., Ltd.
Osada Norio, Fukasaku Kinji
Mitani Noboru