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Japan's Peace Constitution
Directed by John Junkerman
Produced by Yamagami Tetsujiro
Music by Soul Flower Union
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In 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II, a conservative Japanese government is pressing ahead with plans to revise the nation's constitution and jettison its famous no-war clause, Article 9. This timely, hard-hitting documentary places the ongoing debate over the constitution in an international context: What will revision mean to Japan's neighbors, Korea and China? How has the US-Japan military alliance warped the constitution and Japan's role in the world? How is the unprecedented involvement of Japan's Self-Defense Force in the occupation of Iraq perceived in the Middle East?

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Through interviews conducted with leading thinkers around the world, the film explores the origins of the Constitution in the ashes of war, and the significance of its peace clauses in the conflicted times of the early 21st century.

Key interviews include:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning historian John Dower
  • Paris-based social theorist Hidaka Rokuro
  • Beate Sirota Gordon, drafter of the equal-rights clause of the Constitution
  • Political philosopher and activist Douglas Lummis
  • Political scientist Chalmers Johnson
  • Kang Man-Gil, president of Sangji University, South Korea
  • Shin Heisoo, co-representative, Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan
  • Korean historian Han Hong Koo
  • Chinese filmmaker and writer Ban Zhongyi
  • Syrian writer Michel Kilo
  • Lebanese journalist Josef Samaha
  • Linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky

"Evokes courage and provokes thought. It should be seen by all generations."—Okinawa Times

"Recommended!"—Educational Media Reviews Online

"Powerful!"—Professor Peter Frost, Williams College, for Education About Asia

"Rather than appealing to emotion, it is a film made with faith in human reason."—Ronza Magazine

"Simply watching it makes one feel you have come closer to a world of peace."—Ryukyu Shimpo

"The thoughts of those interviewed bring into sharp focus the world's expectations of the absolute pacifism of the Constitution and its significance in the history of humanity."—Shinano Mainichi


2006 Association for Asian Studies Film Festival
Best Documentary, 2005 Kinema Jumpo Awards
Best Documentary, 2005 Japan Film PEN Club Awards
2005 Yamagata International Documentary Festival
  

70 minutes / color
Release: 2006
Copyright: 2005
Sale: $348

Subject areas:
Asia, Conflict Resolution, East Asia, History (U.S.), History (World), Japan, Law, Political Science, World War II

Related Titles:
Japan, The Emperor and the Army: Examines how Japan’s demilitarization in the months following the WWII continues to resonate today – in Japanese politics, national identity and cultural influence on the international stage.

Nanjing: Till today the history of the 1937 "Rape of Nanking" is a point of contention between China and Japan. How is it seen in each country, and can a shared memory ever be constructed?

Hiroshima Bound: A personal documentary that tracks the construction of America's collective memory (or lack of one) of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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