Japan to mark WWII anni with ‘Color’ doc

Archival footage from multiple perspectives included

TOKYO — Japanese pubcaster NHK will show its own version of “The Color of War” on Aug. 14, the eve of the 58th anniversary of WWII’s end. Doc has previously aired on the History Channel in the U.S.

Hourlong program, a co-production with Britain’s Carlton TV compiled from archive footage from Japan, Europe and the U.S. for the period between 1931 and 1946, will be presented in Japan under the toned-down title “War and Peace in the Showa Era” as one of the specials to mark the 50th anniversary of broadcasting in Japan.

Program uses archival footage that was all shot in color and pertains to the war from different national perspectives.

Counter to what Japanese historians previously thought, there was substantial color footage shot in Japan before 1945, said Yasuaki Tsuji, a senior NHK producer in charge of the series.

The program will include color footage of Japan from as early as 1931, as well as shots from the Berlin Olympics, Japanese troops in Manchuria, the devastation of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the postwar poverty of the Japanese people.

There also is a sequence of Prince Mikasa, the younger brother of the Emperor Showa, attending the 1937 coronation of George IV in London.

The program idea popped up during a Washington, D.C., conference on history program production in the fall of 2001.

While some of the footage is faded, all was originally shot in color.

“We did our best,” added Tsuji, “to avoid stereotyped images of Japan and to focus on how average people viewed and reacted to the momentum that led the country to World War II.”

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