Yasukuni

As recently as this past spring, Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso (and before him P.M. Koizumi) unleashed an international furor by paying respects at the notorious Yasukuni Shrine. Established in 1869, Yasukuni houses 2.5 million Japanese war dead including WWII “Class A” war criminals, among them General Tojo and others sentenced to death at the Tokyo Trial (Japan’s Nuremberg). Visitors to Yasukuni include still-militant Japanese nationalists as well as outraged protesters from China, Taiwan, Korea, and Okinawa. Chinese filmmaker Li Ying doesn’t pull his punches. He includes archival images of a “100-man beheading contest” between Japanese officers as well as a fascinating contemporary interview with Kariya Naoji, at 90 years old, the last surviving craftsman of Yasukuni swords, used in these and other atrocities. [Synopsis courtesy of Film Forum]