TOKYO — The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday blasted a soon-to-be released Japanese movie on convicted war criminal Gen. Hideki Tojo, saying the picture was a “whitewash” of Japan’s past military aggression.
The film called “Pride, the Fateful Moment” has already been slammed by North Korea and groups within Japan. The movie from Toei is scheduled to hit Japanese theaters on the May 23 weekend and comes 50 years after Tojo, Japan’s prime minister from 1941-44, was hanged for war crimes.
“We felt shocked and indignant over the fact that some people in Japan produced such a movie to whitewash aggression and sing the praises of Hideki Tojo,” said ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao. “Such an act is bound to be strongly condemned by the people who face up to history and love peace, including the Japanese people.”
Zhu said it is common knowledge that Japan was a military aggressor during the war and inflicted great pain on nations such as China.
“Hideki Tojo was the chief criminal of that war of aggression,” Zhu said.
North Korea lashes out
North Korean media officials last week slammed Japan for distorting and denying Japan’s military invasion of Asia. It accused the movie as being an attempt “to embellish the past war of aggression.”
Toei spent about $11 million to make “Pride,” which is about three to four times the cost of a typical Japanese movie.
Toei said it is releasing the film to “correct mistaken perceptions about Tojo.” Toei officials said Tojo was not a militarist, but a man who engineered a war for the self defense of Japan.
Tojo became Japan’s prime minister in 1941 and the successful military campaigns in Asia combined with the raid on Pearl Harbor, solidified his rule over Japan during World War II.
He was forced out of office in 1944 when Japan lost control of Saipan to the U.S. and was hanged in December 1948.