Taiyō o Nusunda Otoko

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Taiyō o Nusunda Otoko
Taiyō o Nusunda Otoko.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byKazuhiko Hasegawa
Produced byMataichiro Yamamoto
Written byLeonard Schrader (story & screenplay)
Kazuhiko Hasegawa (screenplay)
StarringKenji Sawada
Bunta Sugawara
Music byTakayuki Inoue
CinematographyTatsuo Suzuki
Edited byAkira Suzuki
Kitty Films
Distributed byToho
Universal Pictures
Release date
October 6, 1979
Running time
147 min.

Taiyō o Nusunda Otoko (太陽を盗んだ男), also known as The Man Who Stole the Sun, is a 1979 Japanese political satire spy film, directed by Hasegawa Kazuhiko and written by Leonard Schrader.


Makoto Kido (Kenji Sawada), a high school science and chemistry teacher, has decided to build his own atomic bomb. Before stealing plutonium isotopes from Tōkai Nuclear Power Plant, he is involved in the botched hijack of one of his school's buses during a field trip. Along with a police detective, Yamashita (Bunta Sugawara), he is able to overcome the hijacker and is publicly hailed as a hero.

Meanwhile, Makoto is able to extract enough plutonium from his stolen isotopes to create two bombs—one genuine, the other containing only enough radioactive material to be detectable, but otherwise a fake. He plants the fake bomb in a public lavatory and phones the police and demands that Yamashita take the case. Since Makoto speaks to the police through a voice scrambler, Yamashita is unaware that Makoto is behind the whole thing.

Makoto manages to extort the government into showing baseball games without cutting away for commercials. Flush with success, he follows radio personality "zero"'s suggestion to use the real bomb to extort the government into allowing the Rolling Stones to play in Japan (despite being barred from doing so due to Keith Richards being arrested for narcotics possession). Eventually Makoto and Yamashita clash, but Makoto may die of radiation poisoning before he can see his plan through to its conclusion.



Many elements of the film are similar to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb—namely, the satirical treatment of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The film's specific area of satire is nuclear terrorism, which, as in the previous film, was a subject largely considered unsatirizeable. Several scenes in the film are considered controversial, such as a moment where Makoto uses scraps of plutonium metal to poison people in a public swimming pool. The film had a particular resonance for Japanese audiences; while Japan does use nuclear power, the country has long held against maintaining a nuclear arsenal especially in the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Much of the first hour of the film's running time is taken up with a highly technical depiction of Makoto building his homemade nuclear weapon, although key steps in the bomb-making process have apparently been omitted in the name of public safety.

The film won the Tokyo Blue Ribbon Award for Best Film of the Year in 1980, and was a critical and financial success in Japan on its release. It has only been released outside Japan on home video.

In 1986, the American film The Manhattan Project concerned a highly intelligent young man who makes his own atomic weapon.




Japan Academy Prize[edit]

  • Best Film
  • Best Actor - Kenji Sawada
  • Best Director - Kazuhiko Hasegawa
  • Best Art Direction - Yoshinaga Yokoo
  • Best Cinematography - Tatsuo Suzuki
  • Best Lighting - Hideo Kumagai
  • Best Sound - Kenichi Benitani


  1. ^ "Awards for Taiyo o nusunda otoko". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-04-25.

External links[edit]