In 1936 Japan, young Tomoda is a passionate swimmer and cliff diver. He enjoys diving off high rocks. He likes to live dangerously and allows himself to be persuaded by a cousin to join the army. He trains as a navy pilot at Tsuchiura military academy. In December, 1941, he is aboard one of the aircraft carriers that launches bombers for the attack on Pearl Harbor … The film depicts the start of the war in the Pacific, as seen from the Japanese side, with the obvious intent of recruiting more soldiers. A four-man ‘staff’ of cameramen shot documentary-style scenes of mass drills of navy recruits intended to awaken a patriotic willingness to fight and die. No less realistic is the special effects footage of the destruction of the US naval base on Hawaii and the sinking of two British battleships off the coast of British Malaya. The detailed depictions of the destruction set the bar for later Toho studio monster movies (‘kaiju eiga’) and some of the footage was even later purported to be actual news images.
by Kajiro Yamamoto
with Kaoru Ito, Yuriko Hanabusa, Setsuko Hara