Japanese war pic called ‘shameless’

Attempt to recast Japanese military history taken badly

TOKYO — Criticism of a controversial Japanese movie about convicted war criminal Gen. Hideki Tojo escalated Monday with North Korea calling the pic a “shameless” attempt to embellish Japanese militarism.

Domestic criticism of the film “Pride, the Fateful Moment” has been growing since Japanese moviehouse Toei greenlit the project to make the Tojo picture. The movie is scheduled for release this summer, 50 years after Tojo was hanged for war crimes.

The report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) slammed Japan for distorting and denying Japan’s military invasion of Asia, which it called an “indelible, shocking crime.” It accused the movie of being an attempt “to embellish the past war of aggression.”

“Their act proves to be shameless,” KCNA reported.

Toei spent about $11 million to make “Pride,” which is about three to four times the cost of a typical Japanese movie. Much of the money came from Isao Nakamura, a company owner who believes Tojo was not given a fair shake by the Tokyo war crimes tribunal.

Toei said it is releasing the film to “correct mistaken perceptions about Tojo.” The film stars veteran actor Masahiko Tsugawa. U.S. actors Ronny Cox and Scott Wilson are also in the Tojo pic.