Calls For 'Racist' Unbroken To Be Banned In Japan

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
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Calls are being made for Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ to be banned in Japan, with an online petition already receiving 8000 signatures.

Nationalists have been angered by the portrayal of soldiers in the movie, directed by Jolie, during the POW scenes depicting the latter part of the Second World War.

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The petition, being hosted at Change.org, claims that the movie is ‘contradictory to the facts’.

It follows the amazing story of Louis Zamperini, played by Brit actor Jack O’Connell, a former Olympic runner who spent 47 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean after being shot down in a B-24 bomber in 1943.

He was then captured and imprisoned in a labour camp in Japan for over two years.

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The depiction of the abuse and cruelty suffered by Zamperini while a prisoner of war has been deemed ‘unfair’, according to those protesting the film’s release.

The abuse is detailed in Laura Hillenbrand’s book ‘Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival’, released in 2010, and on which Jolie’s movie is based.

The book tells how one guard in particular, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, who was nicknamed ‘The Bird’ and is played by the Japanese actor and singer Miyavi, was responsible for much of the torment.

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But Hiromichi Moteki, the secretary general of the nationalist group the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, told the Daily Telegraph: “If there is no verification of the things he said, then anyone can make such claims. This movie has no credibility and is immoral.”

He also called the claims ‘pure fabrication’.

Mindy Kotler, director of Asia Policy Point, countered: “It is one thing to question the memories of illiterate women who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military. It is quite another to question the memory of a white male Olympian who was a disciple of Billy Graham.

“Further, there is plenty of documentation on the abuse and tortures inflicted upon POWs. There is also plenty of eyewitness and forensic evidence of Japanese cannibalism of prisoners as well of fellow soldiers.”

The movie, which also stars Domhnall Gleeson and Garrett Hedlund, is out on Boxing Day.

Zamperini died in July at the age of 97, as the film was being finished.

Image credits: Universal

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