Created by the famed producer David Wolper and narrated by Mike Wallace, this episode of the long-running TV show ‘Biography’ dates to 1963 and profiles Emperor Hirohito. Hirohito was the 124th emperor of Japan, and presided over the country from 1926 to 1989; a period encompassing much of the country’s history including WW2. Some of the events included are the invasion of China, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Japanese surrender to the Allies. It opens with a span of Japanese soldiers (:11) and Hirohito (:29) at podium delivering an address. The Japan of Hirohito’s youth is shown, which was comparable to life in the Feudal Age, with its rituals and traditions (2:33). Hirohito (3:01) embarked on a tour of Europe at 21. His father, Emperor Taisho, is pictured at (3:09). While visiting Britain (3:27) he was impressed by the monarchy. The Great Bell in Chion-in Temple is rung at (4:06). Parade processions as Hirohito becomes Emperor in 1928 (4:12). Hirohito wanted to liberalize (5:01) while warlords greatly opposed this (5:08). Young women playing Hanetsuki (5:26). The westernized game of baseball is played in Tokyo (5:42). Babe Ruth is pictured visiting the country in 1934 (5:49). Hirohito was forced to preside over royal ceremonies and partake in rigid traditional protocols (6:18). He was forced to delegate much of his power to his ministers (6:27). Hirohito presides over religious ceremonies and conducts military reviews (6:47). In 1931, Manchuria citizens run through crop fields (6:59) as Japanese military leaders seized the area without Hirohito’s consent. He is then pictured in 1934, married and without male heir to the throne (7:33). Civilians pray and conduct rituals for the birth of a son (7:43) which comes to fruition on December 23rd of the year (7:53) as Akihito is born. Japan invaded China in 1937 (8:18) as troops are filmed moving over rubble. Japan practiced air raid drills (10:07). Matsuoka steps from a vehicle at (10:43) as an embargo is placed on a shipment of war materials being sent to Japan. War minister Hideko Tojo is seen (10:52) whom had ousted Prince Konoe as Prime Minister. After the US refused to lift the ban, Tojo decides to attack as ten aircraft carriers headed for Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 (11:11). The Japanese task force (11:38) sits 200 miles off the coast of Hawaii. Bombs erupt over Pearl Harbor (12:03). Japanese troops unload on the shores of Guam and Wake Island in 1942 (12:41). Japanese flame throwers sear the lands (12:48). The film turns to the capital of the Philippines, Manila (13:17) as well as Canton and Corregidor (13:21). Japanese General Masaharu Homma accepts the surrender of the American garrison under US General Wainwright (13:33). The Bataan Death March took place on April 9th-17th of 1942 as POW’s were forced to march until dead (13:35). Celebrations erupt in Japan (13:54). In 1943, Allied forces gain land back in the Pacific Theater (14:11). US combat troops unload onto beaches (14:21). Bombs are seen spilling from US flown B29’s (14:33) onto Tokyo in 1945. Kamikaze fighter pilots prepare for take-off (15:12). Long-range guns firing at Kamikaze planes (15:23). Civilians pick through the rubble in Tokyo (15:39). Hirohito walks with Admiral Suzuki (15:48). The atomic bomb explodes on August 6th, 1945 over Hiroshima (16:09). Devastation from the explosion (16:24). Hirohito addresses the Japanese people on their defeat (16:34) on August 16th. The Allied occupation of Japan began September 4th, 1945 (17:05). Hirohito pays an unheard of call on Gen. Douglas MacArthur (17:12). Some of the Japanese military leaders are placed on trial for war crimes including Lieutenant General Homma (17:43) and General Tamoyuki Yamashita (18:05). Tojo is filmed after a suicide attempt (18:11). Hirohito was spared as the Allied powers believed his influence could be beneficial (18:23). Hirohito greets civilians in street attire (19:30). Akinito heads for schooling at the exclusive Peers School (20:13). Japanese women are given the right to vote (20:47). Political posters from five major newly formed political factions (20:55). The subsequent westernization of Japan is depicted; neon signs similar to those in New York arrive in cities (21:33). Hirohito enjoys leisure activities such as visiting an aquarium (22:18) and watching a chimpanzee ride a bicycle with wife, Empress Nagako (22:33). Celebrations erupt on May 3rd, 1951 as Japan is returned to full sovereignty (23:34).
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