The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On


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PrintEast Asian Film Series

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

  1. Thursday, November 10, 2011 6:30 p.m.
Emperor's Naked Army Marches On

This absorbing documentary follows Kenzo Okuzaki—a veteran of Japan’s World War II campaign in New Guinea—as he searches out those responsible for the mysterious deaths of several soldiers in his unit. Though he holds Emperor Hirohito accountable for the suffering caused by WWII, he painstakingly tracks down former military officers and accuses them of specific war crimes, often abusing them verbally and physically. Director Kazuo Hara’s subtle cinema vérité not only captures the zeal of Okuzaki’s lifelong mission, but also exposes the atrocities committed by the Japanese military against its own soldiers. Winner of the Caligari Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. (Digital presentation. Japanese language with English subtitles.)

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Following the screening of The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On, Ken Ruoff , Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Portland State University, will offer a brief talk followed by a Q&A session to help contextualize the documentary.  The title of his brief talk will be Contextualizing The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On in the Japan of the 1980's.

In 2005 Ken Ruoff was awarded the Osaragi Jiro Prize for Commentary, Japan's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, for the Japanese translation of his book The People's Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995 (Harvard East Asia Monographs, 2001).

Dr. Ruoff's most recent book, Imperial Japan at its Zenith: The Wartime Celebration of the Empire's 2600th Anniversary (Cornell University Press, 2010), is a sweeping study of Japan in 1940. This book was also published in Japanese translation in December 2010 in the Asahi sensho series under the title 『紀元二千六百年 消費と観光のナショナリズム』.

Professor Ruoff received his A.B. with honors from Harvard College in 1989, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1997. From 1994-96 he was a research fellow and then lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Hokkaido University. In 2004, he was a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at Kyoto University.

Since the publication of his study of the monarchy in postwar Japan, Ruoff has become recognized as the leading authority on the imperial house in Japan. He is often asked to write commentary for Japanese journals ranging from Sekai to Bungei shunju, and has been interviewed about Japan's royal house by virtually every major media outlet in the world. More recently, as the result of his new book, Dr. Ruoff has been called upon by the mass media to explain conditions in Japan in the period leading up to its attack on Pearl Harbor.

His present research interests include tourism to colonial areas during the era of imperialism ("imperial tourism"), and the role of national heritage tourism in shaping popular historical memory.