Taiyo Response Essay

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4/30/2013 “Our chances of victory in the war with the west were 50 out of 100. Germany's chances in this war were 100 out of 100.” | Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito |
Art 3693 – Survey of Asian Art

Art 3693 – Survey of Asian Art

Ryan Rankin | Movie Response, “Taiyo” |

Ryan Rankin | Movie Response, “Taiyo” |

After watching the movie entitled “Taiyo” which means “the sun”, the movie begins during the setting of the end of WWII in which the Japanese Emperor Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito, is in his last days of rule. The movie titled “The Sun” to me is the reference in how the emperor is a descendant of the Sun God. In this fascinating portrayal, the director expresses the everyday life of Emperor Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito and how he is dealing with these last dramatic days. The movie has such a fantastic insight into the culture and religious similarities and differences of the eastern world and the western world. At the time, the Japanese were allies of Germany and the Nazi Regime and the United States were part of the Allied Forces. This movie is also shortly after the tragic and horrific bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We learn of Emperor Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito’s love for science and poetry as well as his love for his family. In the end of the movie Emperor Shouwa-Tennou Hirohito meets with the United States Commanding officer, General Douglas MacArthur. They bond over some brandy and cigars as the director here shows the differences and similarities between the east and the west. This essay will talk about the movie as well as start a conversation on some of these similarities and differences and how it shaped the national and cultural identity of current-day Japan.

First of all, what stood out to me in the commencement of the film was the fascinating insight into the psychology of the emperor. As he initiates to interact with his servants you immediately recognize his defeated and frustrated attitude with not only the inevitable defeat of the war but also his personal frustrations in holding up to the standard of a God in the body of a human (which is the way his servants and others treat him). In a very uncomfortable scene, the emperor articulates to his servants that he has a disgusting taste in his mouth and that the taste was that of hatred that the common people had for him. One of the servants assures him he is loved and supported by everyone but you can tell this is not the case. This is incredibly frustrating for him because he rules through what he has learned in education himself as well as what his ancestors have taught him, yet what he thinks is right turns out to take many of his people’s lives. He is beginning to realize that he will most certainly face the day where he will have to surrender to the Allied Forces.
Furthermore, this portion of the movie is such a fantastic representation of several things giving us clues to what it may have been like in Japan at that time as well as things we discussed in class. The beautiful and elaborately decorated rooms have beautiful handcrafted wood and hand-woven furniture floods every scene. It is amazing to see what we learned in class about fashion of the time in which the emperor changes his wardrobe throughout the day depending upon the type of activity or meeting. More specifically his wardrobe includes more of a Western style range of…