In January 1904, the situation between Japan and Russia had grown tense. The Emperor Meiji is deeply concerned, for Russia has started to build an invincible fortress at Port Arthur, and the relations between two countries have become strained to breaking point. General Nogi has retired to the first reserve and is now a gentleman farmer, but he is prepared for sudden mobilization. Finally, Japan declares war against Russia and Emperor Meiji appoints General Nogi as the commander of the force to attack Port Arthur. However, in spite of several all-out attacks, the fortress is strong and the casualties increase among the Japanese. Because of these reverses, there are loud cries for a change in command. However, the Emperor places his confidence in General Nogi.
Meiji Tenno portrayed the ramp up to the Russo-Japan War. In addition to showing the political events that led to war, it also showed the era from the story of a farm family in rural Japan who sent their son off to war. As such, it could be considered an anti-war movie, showing how, while war is devised by governments, the people do not really understand what war is, and it's combatants often do not know what they are fighting for.
Young men endure challenging flight training in the Yokaren, a program feeding new pilots into the Army and Navy. By the time of the filming, the pressure of the war had led the government to shorten the training and expand the age range of the recruits. Yokaren was highly selective, and thus an object of great fascination and desire for boys and young men. In this Navy–sponsored film, Setsuko Hara plays the daughter of a family that often entertains recruits on their days off—a surrogate sister to many trainees. Her fragile younger brother aspires to join the program, but is rejected. With perseverance and much support from Hara and their mother, he surmounts his weaknesses and becomes a flier.
Wartime, 1942. Singapore. An Australian fighter pilot shot down in combat awakens suspended in the treetops. As night devours day, he must navigate through dangerous jungle in search of sanctuary.
Japan and Russia clash in what comes to be known as the Russo-Japanese War. An attempt by the Japanese fleet and army to take Port Arthur fails, and a Russian fleet bears down on the Sea of Japan. Admiral Heihachiro Togo sends his fleet to confront the Russians, with results which stun both nations. Meanwhile, Major Genjiro Akashi makes secret negotiations with the Bolshevik revolutionaries in Russia, negotiations that have repercussions far beyond the conflict at hand.
The film is dedicated to the souls of flight school graduates killed in World War II. Young boys dream about becoming pilots and apply to flight schools. However, the flight schools have extremely demanding, harsh training, and once they finally become pilots, they must become suicide bombers and give their lives for their homeland.
Impersonating an Imperial Army officer by wearing a "red lion's mane", a poor servant returns to his village after 10 years of absence to end the village's suffering caused by corrupt officials.
In the summer of 1941, the United States and Japan seem on the brink of war after constant embargos and failed diplomacy come to no end. "Tora! Tora! Tora!", named after the code words use by the lead Japanese pilot to indicate they had surprised the Americans, covers the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which plunged America into the Second World War.
City of Life and Death takes place in 1937, during the height of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Imperial Japanese Army has just captured the then-capital of the Republic of China, Nanjing. What followed was known as the Nanking Massacre, or the Rape of Nanking, a period of several weeks wherein tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed.
The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.
Kaji is sent to the Japanese army labeled Red and is mistreated by the vets. Along his assignment, Kaji witnesses cruelties in the army and revolts against the abusive treatment against the recruit Obara. He also sees his friend Shinjô Ittôhei defecting to the Russian border, and he ends in the front to fight a lost battle against the Russian tanks division.