The Sun (film)

The Sun

Russian release poster
Directed by Alexander Sokurov
Produced by Igor Kallenof
Marco Muller
Andrei Sigle
Alexander Rodnyansky
Written by Yuri Arabov
Jeremy Noble
Starring Issey Ogata
Robert Dawson
Music by Andrei Sigle
Cinematography Alexander Sokurov
Edited by Sergei Ivanov
Release dates
Running time
115 minutes
Language Japanese

The Sun (Russian: Сóлнце, Solntse) is a 2005 Russian biographical film depicting Japanese Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) during the final days of World War II. The film is the third drama in director Aleksandr Sokurov's trilogy, which included Taurus about the Soviet Union's Vladimir Lenin and Moloch about Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler.[1] The Sun won the Golden Apricot at the 2005 Yerevan International Film Festival, Armenia, for Best Feature Film.


Towards the conclusion of the Second World War, Japan nears defeat as Emperor Hirohito (Issey Ogata) reminisces on the past while being held up in a bunker underneath his Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Hirohito reflects on the foundation of the conflict while attempting to dictate peace terms. Later, U.S. military commander General Douglas MacArthur (Robert Dawson) is sent to bring him through the ruins of Tokyo for a meeting regarding the occupation of the victorious Allied leaders. The two very different men strangely bond after sharing dinner and cigars, after which Hirohito retreats to his personal quarters. Following his admission of personal failures, Hirohito attempts to rebuild his war-ravaged country as a fully developed constitutional nation while his own future remains in doubt, as either the Emperor of Japan or a war criminal.




Having confessed himself in "not being interested in the history or politics which took place, and not really being interested in historical events of the period",[2] Sokurov gives a personal impression of Hirohito while omitting all references to questions surrounding the Tokyo tribunal regarding the personal responsibility of the emperor as head of the Imperial General Headquarters in relation to Japanese war crimes. That omission results in the imperial conference between the emperor and his council and his meeting with MacArthur, in fact, contain none of the words actually related to imperial interpreter Katsuzō Okumura's transcript. For example, as noted by Okumura, MacArthur praised the emperor's "august virtue" (miitsu).[3]

According to The Times, the film has not been widely screened in Japan because of fears of violence from right wing extremists over its portrayal of Hirohito.


  1. The Sun (Solntse) (2005) Reviewed by Jamie Woolley
  2. Aesthetic choices: Aleksandr Sokurov's The Sun World Socialist Web Site
  3. John Dower, Embracing Defeat, 1999, p.296

External links

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