Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Webber|
|Produced by||Russ Krasnoff
|Written by||Vera Blasi
|Based on||His Majesty's Salvation
by Shiro Okamoto
|Starring||Tommy Lee Jones
|Music by||Alex Heffes|
|Edited by||Chris Plummer|
Krasnoff Foster Productions
United Performers' Studio
|Distributed by||Roadside Attractions
Shochiku Company (Japan)
Emperor is a 2012 American-Japanese post-World War II film directed by Peter Webber, marking his first film in five years. Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox star in lead roles as General Douglas MacArthur and Brigadier General Bonner Fellers respectively. It is a joint American and Japanese production.
Brigadier-General Bonner Fellers is sent to Japan as a part of the occupation force. Upon his arrival, he is tasked with arresting Japanese war criminals, including Prime Minister Tojo. Before he departs, he meets his Japanese interpreter, Takahashi. Fellers privately orders him to locate his Japanese girlfriend, Aya Shimada. After managing to arrest Tojo after his attempted suicide, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur informs Fellers that Emperor Hirohito can be tried as war criminal. By doing so, the Allied forces would enrage the Japanese and they would face open revolt; but by deposing the Emperor, the Soviets would enter Japan and spread communism. However, the American people want the Emperor to stand trial for Japan's actions during the war. MacArthur informs Fellers that he has ten days to investigate the Emperor. After visiting a local bar, Fellers reflects back to his time in Douglaston College in 1932 when he first met Aya. The next day, Takahashi informs Fellers that Aya's apartment in Tokyo was bombed. Fellers orders him to investigate her hometown, Shizuoka.
Fellers and his staff begin to compile a list of people who were with Emperor Hirohito when the war started. Because none of the Japanese who are friendly to the Americans are among them, they resort to asking Tojo by enticing him to give them information in order to save the Emperor. Fellers travels to Sugano Prison and demands that Tojo gives him three names. He, instead, gives one: Fumimaro Konoe, the former prime minister.
Fellers decides to visit General Kajima, who was also Aya's uncle. He explains to Kajima that the Japanese people are selfless and capable of great sacrifice as well as unspeakable crimes because of their devotion to a set of values. Kajima does not know whether or not the Emperor is guilty in starting the war but notes his role in ending the war. He gives Fellers a box of folded letters written by Aya to Fellers and learns that Aya had died in one of the Allied bombing raids.
MacArthur orders Fellers to arrange a meeting between him and the Emperor himself. Before the Emperor arrives, Fellers informs MacArthur of his role in diverting Allied bombers away from Shizuoka. MacArthur replies that because no American lives were lost because of it, he will turn a blind eye. When Emperor Hirohito arrives, he offers himself to be punished rather than Japan. MacArthur states that he has no intention of punishing Japan or Hirohito and rather wishes to discuss the reconstruction of Japan.
- Tommy Lee Jones as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur
- Matthew Fox as Brigadier General Bonner Fellers
- Eriko Hatsune as Aya Shimada
- Toshiyuki Nishida as General Kajima
- Masatoshi Nakamura as Prince Fumimaro Konoe, former Prime Minister
- Kaori Momoi as Mrs. Kajima
- Colin Moy as General Richter
- Masayoshi Haneda as Takahashi
- Takatarō Kataoka as Emperor Hirohito
- Masatō Ibu as Kōichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
- Isao Natsuyagi as Teizaburō Sekiya, member of the Privy Council
- Shōhei Hino as General Hideki Tōjō, former Prime Minister
The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and saw a limited release in the United States on March 8, 2013. Producer Gary Foster, Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones attended a Japanese premiere along with several Japanese actors and actresses on July 18, 2013, preceding its opening in the cinemas nationwide in Japan on July 27.
The film received mixed reviews, with a 31% rating based on 86 reviews on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Despite a typically strong performance from Tommy Lee Jones, Emperor does little with its fascinating historical palate, and is instead bogged down in a cliched romantic subplot."
- "EMPEROR (12A)". The Works UK Distribution. British Board of Film Classification. September 10, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- "Emperor (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. June 13, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- IMDb: Emperor - Country Linked 2013-06-05
- Bettinger, Brendan (November 2, 2011). "Peter Webber to Direct WWII Love Story EMPEROR; Filming Begins January 2012". Collider.com. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- Vlessing, Etan (August 14, 2012). "Toronto 2012: Paul Andrew Williams’ 'Song for Marion' to Close 37th Edition". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- ""Emperor" Japan premiere". Keizo Mori (UPI). 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- "Fox tackles history in ‘Emperor’". Giovanni Fazio (The Japan Times). 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- Emperor - Rotten Tomatoes
- Official website
- Emperor at the Internet Movie Database
- Emperor at Rotten Tomatoes
- Emperor at Box Office Mojo
- Emperor at Metacritic