Japan's Longest Day

Japan's Longest Day (日本のいちばん長い日)[a] is a 1967 Japanese War film directed by Kihachi Okamoto. The subject of the majority of the movie is the period between noon on August 14, 1945, when Emperor Hirohito made the decision to surrender to the Allies in World War II and noon on August 15, 1945, when the emperor's taped message announcing the surrender was broadcast to the Japanese people. Joseph L. Anderson describes the film as "a meticulous reconstruction of the day Japan surrendered and thus ended the Pacific War.[1]

Japan's Longest Day
Directed byKihachi Okamoto
Produced byTomoyuki Tanaka
Sanezumi Fujimoto
Screenplay byShinobu Hashimoto
Based onJapan's Longest Day
by Soichi Oya
Narrated byTatsuya Nakadai
Music byMasaru Sato
Release date
  • August 12, 1967 (1967-08-12) (Japan)
Running time
165 minutes


Several of Japan's best known actors of the day participated in the film. These included Chishū Ryū as Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki, Toshirō Mifune as War Minister Korechika Anami, Takashi Shimura as Information Bureau Director Hiroshi Shimomura and Sō Yamamura as Navy Minister Mitsumasa Yonai.[2] Tatsuya Nakadai serves as the narrator.[2]


According to Okamoto, Masaki Kobayashi was originally supposed to direct Japan's Longest Day but didn't want to, so co-producer Sanezumi Fujimoto suggested that Okamoto direct it.[3] Okamoto believes that this film and his subsequent film The Human Bullet are expressions of his anti-war feelings.[3] Japan's Longest Day portrays the actual people who were able to remain above the fighting, but did fight with each other, while The Human Bullet is a satire of those who did have to fight in the war.[3]


Japan's Longest Day was released in Japan on August 12, 1967, close to the anniversary of the surrender. This started a trend of film releases known as the 8.15 series of World War II films released at the anniversary, which included Okamoto's 1971 film The Battle of Okinawa.[4] It became the second highest grossing film in Japan in 1967.[5] Shinobu Hashimoto won the Kinema Junpo Award for best screenplay for this movie.[6][7] The film was re-released theatrically in Japan on November 21, 1982 as part of Toho's 50th anniversary.[8] A remake of Japan's Longest Day, identically titled in Japanese but released in English under the title The Emperor in August, was issued in 2015 by Shochiku, directed by Masato Harada.[9]


  1. ^ Also known as The Emperor and the General


  1. ^ Anderson, J.L. (1982). The Japanese Film: Art and Industry. Princeton University Press. p. 471. ISBN 9780691007922.
  2. ^ a b "Japan's Longest Day". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  3. ^ a b c Desjardins, C. (2005). Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film. I.B.Tauris. pp. 90, 95–96. ISBN 9781845110901.
  4. ^ Shimazu, N. (2003). "Popular Representations of the Past: The Case of Postwar Japan". Journal of Contemporary History. 38 (1): 113. JSTOR 3180699. – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  5. ^ Galbraith, S. (2008). The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography. Scarecrow Press. p. 241. ISBN 9781461673743.
  6. ^ "Japan's Longest Day Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  7. ^ "Kinema Junpo Awards 1968". mubi.com. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  8. ^ Galbraith IV 2008, p. 375.
  9. ^ "Epic War Movie 'Japan's Longest Day' To Be Reworked". Variety. December 9, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-16.