Sunday, October 19, 2008

"WWII Documentary Offers First Japanese Perspective"

Sadashige Imanishi’s voice falters as he recalls the piles of weapons left behind by dead Japanese soldiers in the jungles of New Guinea. ‘‘That was the first time I thought of them and realized how cruel the war was,’’ Imanishi, a member of the 144th regiment of the Imperial Japanese Army, says before asking the camera to stop filming.

Imanishi, who died last year aged 91, plays a central role in a new documentary which, for the first time, tells of the savage fighting between Japanese and Australian forces during World War II from both perspectives.

‘‘Beyond Kokoda’’ features a collection of personal experiences, candidly shared by the men who battled each other and the adverse conditions of the Kokoda Track and northern beaches of New Guinea.

Using national archive footage and battle reenactments, the documentary offers a balanced depiction of the bloody seven-month campaign, which saw 6,500 Japanese soldiers killed on the Kokoda Track and 7,200 killed on the country’s northern beaches.

Read the whole story by Kede Lawson at Japan Today:

Check out this YouTube clip and others. The film premiered on the History Channel in Australia and New Zealand on September 25, 2008.

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