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The Emperor’s Naked Army:
Japanese Reflections in the Late
Showa Era
Frank Mondelli ‘14
Swarthmore College
MARAAS November 3rd 2013
ゆきゆきて神軍 - Yukiyukite Shingun
Okuzaki Kenzo
1920 – 2005
Returns to Japan in 1946 from a POW Camp
Crimes as shown in the intertitles:
1956: Murder of a Real Estate Broker, Ten Years of
Hard Labor
1969: Shooting of a Sling at the Emperor, One Year
and Six Months
1976: Scattering Pornographic Handbills of the
Emperor, One Year and Two Months
1981: Plotting to Murder Ex-Prime Minister Tanaka
Kakuei, Not Indicted
(As a Result of the Film) 1987: Sentenced to 12
Years of Hard Labor
“Without violence I would be nothing.”
Okuzaki’s Value System
“Those who run counter to God (the ruler of space, the
heavenly sovereign of infinity) and Natural Law (which is
eternal, absolute, one body, objectively existing, lawful,
having value, influential, the only law of all space) are those
people above others, the state, human law, human religion,
factionalism, corporations, unions, the institution of the
family, soldiers, police, prosecutors, courtrooms, prisons,
all of which form this evil world, and it is my goal to rid that
evil and change the world into a world closer to God, a
world in which everybody is safe and can lead happy and
complete lives, and these people who live according to the
plans of God will live in uniformity, as one body, one mind,
with no discrimination, equally, and with affection among
kindred spirits.”
The Chrysanthemum Taboo
Responsibility and Exposure
• “We mustn't allow the generation of children
who are growing up . . . to be forced to
experience the sadness and abjection our
generation has known. To that end, we must
have responsibility made clear.” – Mayor
“To reveal the misery of war will keep the
world free from war. The world just doesn’t
know.” – Okuzaki Kenzo
Reviews as a Safe Avenue
“His delusions may be unavoidable in this process of
transcending the post-war period – actually, his
delusions are necessary and must exist.” (Kiriyama)
“His violence creates a terrible feeling . . . isn't this just
bringing the violence of war back [into the present]?”
“The violence that the emperor system causes is not the
same violence drawn from Okuzaki's fists or pistol;
systematic nationalism itself is [far more] vicious.”
“These days Japan completely shies away from
speaking about the war . . . [we must] begin to
understand what the war really was” (Osugi and Piko)
Hara’s View…
“Maybe Japan is known, from the outside, as a
free country, but in reality there are all kinds of
things that tie down the younger generation;
they are under a lot of stress. So when they
see Mr. Okuzaki . . . they tend to see a man
doing whatever he wants to do. That excites
them and allows them to release their anxiety.
Films are about self-liberation in reaction to an
overly conservative society.”