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Most people think that World War II started on September 1st, 1939, with the German army’s invasion of Poland, and that the conflict spread to Asia on September 7th 1941, with the Japanese attack on the American military base of Pearl Harbor. In fact, the origins of the conflict go back well before, when, ten years earlier, Manchuria was invaded by a now-forgotten Japanese general: Kanji Ishiwara.
From the 1920s onwards, he set out to propel Japan on a path of confrontation with America and its Allies. Paradoxically, whereas he had predicted this war and done everything in his power to trigger it, he desperately tried to stop it once it was launched.
This story sheds a new light on the Pacific War, on its origins and on the universal mechanisms at work in moments of deep crisis. One of its many strong points is that general Ishiwara himself photographed and filmed his men, his daily social and family life: a rare opportunity for us to see – and to understand – this dark period in the History of Humanity, through the eyes of one its key players and witnesses.
The brutal and eccentric grandson of a samurai, a Bouddhist, a fascist and a germanist, a photographer, a drawer and a cameraman bestowed with a real gift for dramatizing his own life: general Ishiwara’s peculiar character conveys an original and captivating edge to this historical documentary.
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