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Epic War Movie ‘Japan’s Longest Day’ To Be Reworked

TOKYO – Shochiku has announced the cast for its reworking of the 1967 Kihachi Okamoto epic “Japan’s Longest Day” to be titled “The Emperor in August.”

The film, which details the events leading up to Japan’s unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945 following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, stars Koji Yakusho as army minister Anami, a role originally played by Toshiro Mifune.

The director is Masato Harada, whose 2011 “Chronicle of My Mother,” which starred Yakusho as a best-selling writer with mother issues, won a slew of domestic and international prizes, including the jury prize at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Okamoto’s movie was based on a 1965 best-selling novel by Kazutoshi Hando about diehard militarists plotting a coup to stop the Emperor’s surrender announcement on August 15. Anami is caught between his loyalty to the Emperor, who wants to stop the killing, and his reluctance to admit defeat, even at the cost of more Japanese lives.

Harada’s picture will also draw from Hando’s 1988 nonfiction book about how Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki and Emperor Hirohito (known posthumously as Emperor Showa) prevailed in the peace-versus-war struggle in the government.

In addition to Yakusho as Anami, Masahiro Motoki (“Departures”) is playing Emperor Hirohito and Tsutomu Yamazaki (“Kagemusha,” “Tampopo”) Prime Minister Suzuki.

Shochiku plans to release the pic in time for the 70th anniversary of the end of the war next August.

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