My Japan (1945)

(Note: this film is not in very good condition. I use parentheses when there is word which I am not sure of. If I only have a question mark in the parentheses than it means I couldn't even begin to make out the word. My own comments about the film follow my synopsis of it. From time to time I have a * with a number referring to a specific comment I make at the end of the synopsis.)

(Note 2: A couple of the screen caps are somewhat gruesome. The actual moving images were much more so, though. I've tried to be somewhat sensitive in the screen caps I've used.)

"So, you are the enemy. (he laughs) Oh, I am not supposed to laugh. You've heard that the Japanese do not show their feelings, nor do I have big teeth and thick glasses. How sad to disillusion you, and easy. Easy because you do not know the Japanese.

"You only think you do, and you're wrong. Let me show you how wrong you are.

"This is Japan, my Japan. It is lovely. Hear whispers soft and fragrant whisper the story of the Moon Goddess (*1) to feathery little pine trees.

"Here dainty bridges hover over tiny streams like hummingbirds over flowers. Here sacred fish ripple pools of water, cold and clear as winter sunshine.

"Here too stands Fujiyama, a holy mountain, reaching down to the boiling center of the earth and soaring up to touch the stars, commanding us to fulfill our certain destiny ...

" rule.

"Yes, my Japan is lovely, is it not?

"This too is my Japan, the frame around the picture, the hard backbone of the graceful bamboo tree. (Firmly?) buildings made of paper and wood, one vast torch waiting to burn at the drop of an incendiary bomb. Look again.

"Neither fire nor earthquake can level our cities. You're finding that out, are you not? (*2)

"(Bomb?) your bombings particularly impressive. London was bombed. Did England die? Tokyo, Osaka, Yokahama. Drop your bombs. You cannot destroy Japan by turning cities into blackened rubble. (*3), by wiping out a few (inexpensive?) lives. You are finding that out too, are you not?

"You cannot destroy Japan because you cannot destroy its heart...

"...the Japanese people. You say you can and the message (?) amuse us. You say you can destroy us by starving us out. You forget that we not like you. We have no soft bellies crying for beefsteaks and butter and candy. We live well on simple food easy to get. Starve us? It is easier to starve a fish in the ocean.

"You say you can destroy us by making sacrifices. How we suffer when you do not have a full tank of gasoline. How devastated we are (at the sight of you jammed into (?) trains?). (This sentence, after the word "are" is almost totally confusing. Coupling his fake accent with the poor quality of the film and there are parts that would take far more sophisticated equipment than I own to be able to reconstruct the exact words.) How we tremble when you have to wait to get into movies, restaurants, nightclubs. Sacrifices? What a delightful and foolish sense of humor you have.

Or do you really take yourselves seriously? We don't. We think you're stupid. An admirable quality for an enemy to have.

"You say you can destroy us by outworking us. (he laughs). You must forgive me. This is one of the most amusing ideas of all. You have not met our workers, have you.

"Meet them now and see why I laugh. They work longer hours than you do, twice as long, quite often. Why not? They are not working clock. (*4) They are working to win the war. They do not make as much money as you do. Well, they are not working to make money. They are working to win war.

They work every day of every week. Is this so strange? They are not working to get days off; they are working to win the war and they stand for hours in long lines ...

" buy these, Japanese war bonds. (?? A sentence of only a few words follows but I can't make out any of it.) Again you show your stupidity by assuming that we are like you. We hold our bonds to win the war.

"You say you can destroy us by outfighting us. You cannot outfight us because the path ahead of you lies straight up the steep and rocky mountains of Japan and the slippery (its?) slippery with blood, your blood.

"You are a nation of bargain hunters. You will not be willing to pay the full price of victory, in pain, in work, in money, in lives. Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tarawa, Iwo Jima. You boast of them as major victories. To you they are; to us they are minor defeats, a loss of island outposts. You Americans are fond of saying "look at the score.">[?

"Very well. Look at it. You sent your finest troops against these outposts. They died. By the thousands.

Here they are, massacred, slaughtered. But you took the island, you say. Yes, we expected you to. That is why we garrisoned them with second-rate troops. The best of your lives for the worst of ours. We to know a thing or two about bargains.

You have not yet faced the best of our armies. You've faced only 10% of our worst. Our first-line fighters, millions of them, wait for you on battlegrounds of our own choosing, (?) to cross vast waters which thin out your supply lines and weaken your fighting strengths before you even reach (?). They wait in my Japan, in China, in Burma, in all the other half of the world...

"...our half. We laugh at you because you are so wrong about them. (? several words here that I can't make out) you say, they are no more replacements. Listen well. More men, many more, enter our armies every day month in and month out, than we lose in casualties. They are ignorant little savages, you say.

"Ignorant? 90% of our armies can read and write. Can you say the same for your own? Little? Whole divisions of our first-line fighters, our real armies, are big men, the kind you describe as six-footers. Savages? No. Merely realists who face facts.

"It is a fact that the strong rule the weak, so, we rule the weak. It is a fact that the strong remain strong only if they exercise their strength.

"So, we exercise our strengths. (This image is from the Japanese attack on Nanking.) It is a fact that the lower the birthrate among the weak the less potential danger for us in the future. So, we control the birthrate. (Image of dead baby is shown.) It is a fact that prisoners taken become a liability after they have been drained dry of useful information. So we either transform the liability into an asset, labor for our rice fields and factories..."

"...or we write off the liability completely. For further details you might speak to those of you who were so long our guests in the Philippines, those who still live. It is a fact that human lives are cheap. Unlike you we have no cowardly allusions about their value so we spend lives freely - yours and ours.

"Freely did I say? Ah, I am too modest. Lavishly is more like it. (There's a lot of dead bodies being shown at this time during the film). I refer you to what my Japan told you about early in the war. We are prepared to spend ten million lives to defeat you. How many are you willing to spend? Think well before you answer.

"And remember what you paid to dig a few thousand of us out of caves on Iwo Jima. Only a few thousand and there are seventy million of us left waiting for you. Seventy million who have planned for decades to destroy you, who await eagerly and passionately the sacred honor to halt you, who will stop at nothing, nothing to crush you. Seventy million people, if you will, to be dug out of caves. Japanese caves? You give no one but yourselves credit for the ability to hold aces up the sleeve, do you? There are caves in China, but China is so near to us, (the) China we control.

"Should you edge uncomfortably close our home island it would be simple to move across the small Sea of Japan, would it not? A move of only a hundred odd miles. Already we have much of our industry there and then imagine, if you have the nerve, what it would be to dig seventy million of us out of buildings, gullies, caves, mountains in a country as large as yours.

"Imagine even trying to pursue us into such a vast (?). Have you seen the fly, attacked and trapped by the spider. Come close and you will die in the same way, bled white. No, we have not even begun to hurt you, nor you us. Our war's not even started. We know this because we know the heart of Japan. You do not.

(Note: This next portion of the film is really messed up sound-wise.)

"We are not Germany, a walnut (???, several words here which could be "easy to crack" but that's a total guess on my part). We are Japan, (a mountain to be eaten once the shell is cracked?) , a spider web that feeds on hate of you. Let the game begin.

"We gamble only once for all time and the stakes are all or nothing. Perhaps I disturb you with my harsh picture of what lies ahead...

" feast instead on this, the beauty of my Japan. It is more to your taste, a world of make-believe rather than one of realities. No, I must not disturb you. I must not awaken you. You are dreaming is pleasant and useful to us, for you dream of victory rather than work for it. You talk total war rather than fight one. You smugly expect peace at bargain rates instead of on our terms. By all means come to my Japan if you dare.

"And welcome. It is beautiful here, as beautiful as the sight of your blood on our bayonets.

My Comments

First off, this film is produced by the Treasury department of all places (its purpose was to sell war bonds.) Then they get a white person to portray a Japanese and have him speak in one of the worst fake Japanese accents I have ever heard.

*1: The Moon goddess? I think he meant to say the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. What was he saying upon us not understanding Japan?

*2. This makes absolutely no sense. The firebombing of Japan had done incredible damage to the cities. Also, what's this about earthquakes not leveling the cities? How about the great Kanto earthquake of 1923 that killed over 130,000 people?

(*3) Didn't the dude just a minute or so earlier say that their cities were NOT being leveled? Then he turns around and says they are being turned into "blackened rubble."

(*4) This actually makes sense even though it doesn't sound like it. The sentence is referring to what some posters show, and that is the emphasis on American workers not working strictly to the clock, not rushing off the moment the end-of-work bell rings.

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