Suicide pilots greet media for Tokyo leader's film
The men dressed in pilot goggles and headbands bearing the Japanese flag marched into a news conference called to unveil the cast for the movie.india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 18:03 IST
Tokyo's nationalist Governor Shintaro Ishihara gave a taste on Thursday of a movie he wrote on the kamikaze by organizing a march of 20 young men clad as the Japanese suicide pilots from World War II.
The men dressed in pilot goggles and headbands bearing the Japanese flag marched into a news conference called to unveil the cast for the movie, which is expected to hit cinemas in summer 2007.
The kamikaze actors offered military salutes together in the name of the "holy spirits" of war dead as white petals from cherry blossoms fell from the ceiling at Tokyo's Imperial Hotel.
"This is a movie about beautiful young men going into fatal missions," said Ishihara, 73, a novelist turned popular politician and bugbear of Japanese liberals.
"Peace should be appreciated and is a great thing to have, but at the same time it also has an adverse aspect from the perspectives of the state and nationalism," he said.
"Japan has been losing many things during the last peaceful 60 years...such as strong will," Ishihara said.
The city leader, who has frequently riled Asian neighbours with his views on Japan's militarist past, wrote the screenplay for "I Go to Die For Nothing But You," which will be filmed at a cost of 1.8 billion yen (15.3 million dollars).
Nearly 4,000 kamikaze died trying to crash their planes onto US ships in the last stages of World War II. While they stoked fear in the hearts of many US troops, most kamikaze were shot down before they could reach their targets.
The movie is based on interviews with a woman, Tome Torihama, who ran a restaurant in Chiran on the southern island of Kyushu -- a base for many of the young pilots drafted into suicide missions.
The role of Torihama will be played by actress Keiko Kishi, 73, known for her central role in the film of "Snow Country," based on the novel by Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata.
Thirty actors who will play kamikaze trained for three days in the Ground Self-Defence Force, the term Japan assigns its military after it was forced to renounce war upon its defeat in World War II.
"It was a good environment to learn how to play a soldier," said Satoshi Tokushige, 27, who will play one of the main pilot roles.