Japan's WWII "Kamikaze" Film Sparks Talk of Peace

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

A film celebrating Japan's wartime ''kamikaze'' suicide pilots and written by Tokyo's nationalist governor opened in theatres on Saturday, sparking more of a pacifist than a patriotic response from audiences.

The movie comes as Japan's government edges towards a vote on revising the U.S.-drafted constitution that has strictly limited the country's military activities for six decades following its World War Two defeat.

``For Those We Love,'' written by Shintaro Ishihara, a 74-year-old writer-turned-politician, tells the true story of a restaurant owner who became a mother figure to many of the young men as they trained to crash explosives-laden aircraft into U.S. warships.

Tome Torihama's restaurant at Chiran on the southern island of Kyushu was a home from home for the trainees, mostly in their teens and early 20s, who were preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice as Japan tried desperately to avert U.S. invasion in the final months of World War Two.

Though Ishihara is known for patriotic policies, including introducing compulsory singing of the national anthem in schools, members of the audience took away a different message from the lavish 1.8 billion yen production.

``It made me think we should never go to war. War is terrible and all it leaves behind is bitterness,'' said a 58-year-old businessman, who gave his name only as Hiro, after watching the film in a central Tokyo theatre....

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