Japan: Censoring the Emperor

Censoring the Emperor

One of the most memorable scenes in Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Last Emperor consists of newsreel footage depicting the slaughter of Chinese men, women and children by Japanese soldiers during the infamous 1937-38 "rape of Nanking." But when the film was previewed in Japan, the scene was gone. "A big misunderstanding," said a spokesman for the Shochiku-Fuji distribution company, which apparently snipped the 40-second sequence from its prints because it feared a backlash from right-wing Japanese. Bertolucci accused Shochiku-Fuji of mutilating his masterpiece, an epic tale of modern China. Company Executive Shinji Serada phoned the Italian director to apologize, and promised...

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