Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Letters from Iwo Jima, A Historical Context

It has been forever since I have written a post and the sad thing is that I have seen a ton of movies. Well maybe I will write one for the Avengers when I go see that next week (midnight showing!!!). Well anyways, I wrote this for my history class and decided that it is relavent so I will post it.

Japanese Soldiers of Iwo Jima

            Iwo Jima was a brutal battle that saw the death of 6,800 American soldiers and 19,000 Japanese soldiers. Iwo Jima was the first island that was officially part of Japan and meant a great deal to the Japanese. For the Americans, Iwo Jima was closer to homeland Japan for B-29 bombers to land on. The fighting began on February 19, 1945 and ended on April 4, 36 days of intense fighting. The Marines requested 10 days of initial naval bombardment but only received three. As seen in the movie Letters from Iwo Jima, Lt. Gen. Tadamishi Kuribayashi had his troops concentrate their defensive efforts on Mt. Suribachi and hills in the center of the island by building an expanse network of interconnecting caves to hold troops and weaponry. Four days after the initiation of the battle, Mt. Suribachi was defeated and the troops raised the American flag atop, becoming a symbol for our nation (history from The Navy Department Library). Not many stories are told of the Japanese soldiers that also lost their lives on Iwo Jima. The movie Letters from Iwo Jima is the story of the Japanese troops as the struggle to defend the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.

The story focuses on two characters, the General Kuribayashi (played by Ken Watanabe) and a private Saigo (played by Kazunari Ninomiya). Saigo is a lowly soldier who was drafted into the war, as was most at this late point in the war. He and his fellow soldiers are trying to survive and prepare for the coming war with no supplies, because the American submarines had sunk most of the Japanese maritime fleet (Roy, 2009), and no reinforcements. The Japanese fleet had been sunk in the Marianas battle and most of the air force had been pulled back to protect the homeland. Saigo talks with a buddy about how they shouldn’t fight the Americans and just go home, but his talk gets him punished, being termed unpatriotic because it does not fit with the Japanese code of Bushido, to honor the Emperor and fight to the death (Pyle, 1996). Later, his buddy dies of dysentery because there is no good water on the island and no medical supplies were coming in because there was no fleet to bring the supplies.

            General Kuribayashi comes to the island and sees that the soldiers are building trenches on the beach and have not coordinated their attacks with the army. Kuribayashi had been to American and knew of the superior industry that could build warships at a ratio of 16:1 compared to Japan (Roy, 2009). With this superior might, the Americans would destroy the beaches and the soldiers there if they stayed. He had the soldiers pull back and spend their efforts building caves and pillboxes to confront to Americans.

            Later in the movie, a new character arrives, Shimizu (played by Ryo Kase). The he joins Saigo’s company and the other guys ask him where he is from and where he was trained. He says that he was trained at Koho Kimmu Yoin Yoseijo in Tokyo, which is where the Kempeitai were trained. The Kempeitai were the military police, charged to make sure everyone was fighting and loyal to the Emperor (Roy, 2009). Saigo and his buddy suspect that he is there to arrest anyone caught with unpatriotic talk. Later, it turns out he was sent to Iwo Jima because he couldn’t kill a dog that his commander decreed was a disturbance to military communications.

            When the American troops arrive, they quickly take Suribachi. Kuribayashi tells the commander to take his troops and retreat to the northern caves. The commander believes that this is not honorable because they are going to die defending Suribachi. The commander tells his troops to commit honorable suicide (hara-kiri) and he will meet them all at Yasukuni shrine. According to the code of bushido, you do surrender because that is dishonorable (Roy, 2009). Yasukuni shrine is the shrine that the war dead go to and are made into kami (Nelson). Saigo and Shimizu don’t kill themselves because Saigo convinces Shimizu that joining the other troops at the caves and continuing to fight would better serve the Emperor. When they get to the northern caves, the commander there tries to kill them, believing that the surrender and are dishonorable, but Kuribayashi stops him because he believes that they are more useful alive.

            As the war is coming to a close, Saigo and Shimizu decide that they want to surrrended to the Americans. They believe that the propaganda that has been fed to them is a lie and that the Americans are barbarians. Shimizu leaves first and gives up to a squad of Americans. Another Japanese soldier is there and tells Shimizu that they will get food from the Americans. The Americans decide that they don’t want to guard the Japanese and shoot them. Not many Japanese prisoners were taken in the war (Roy, 2009). When the Japanese did surrender, it was usually a trap and the Americans would stop taking prisoners for that reason and also for the reason that there was deep racism and hatred of the Japanese (Roy, 2009).

            Iwo Jima was a very bloody war for both sides, but especially for the Japanese. They had a code of dying in the service of the Emperor and they would not surrender or give up fighting. Only 14% of the Japanese troops lived through the battle. These soldiers had families and lives, too. Both sides could not get over their hatred and racism against each other, leading to the bloody battles and atrocities that happened during the war. The movie Letters from Iwo Jima gives a look at a side that is rarely seen and shows that there was good in the Japanese, too. They were trying to fight for what they believed was right, just like the American soldiers.

Works Cited

Nelson, John. Yasukuni excerpt.

Pyle, Kenneth B., 1996. The Making of Modern Japan Second Edition. D.C. Heath and Company. Lexington, MA.

Roy, Denny, 2009. The Pacific War and its Political Legacies. Praeger Publishers. Westport, CT.

The Navy Department Library, 2012. Battle for Iwo Jima, 1945. United States Navy.

Yamashita, Iris and Haggis, Paul, 2006. Letters from Iwo Jima. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Produced by Warner Brothers Studio.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Act of Valor, Dedicated to Our Serivce Men and Women

Act of Valor was a very good movie. If you like movies that are like this, then this is one for you. There were explosions like every five seconds and shoot outs and awesomeness all over. The cool thing is that the actors are real active duty Navy SEALs. When I went, there was approximately 5 women to about 40 men. Haha.
The movie is about a team of Navy SEALs that have to go after a terrorist who wants to bomb America. It starts with a CIA operative getting captured and tourtured to give up the information that she knows. The SEALs are called in to go and get her back out and find out any information that she had. They go into Costa Rica to get her and have huge shoot outs. They find out that the bad guys are working with a terrorist who is going to bombs in the the US. The bombs are ceramic ball bearings that are hidden in vests that explode and do a ton of damage. They follow these terrorists to the town of Mexicali and have to take out the terrorists and the Mexican cartels that are hiding them in the city.
The movie is very fast paced and loud with some sad parts. At the movie, there were a bunch of guys from different brances of the military, including the Navy, and it sounded like they didn't like it so much. So if you are in the armed services, I kind of don't suggest it for you, but if you are a civilian like me who likes war movies, I highly recommend it. I will say that the movie is rated R for war violence, war gore, and language, so if you have a adversion to a lot of blood don't see it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This Means War, Funny

This Means War is really good. I was laughing so hard. There was a lot of action and comedy and hot dudes. What would you do if you had two hot guys fighting over you? Well this is what the movie is about.
FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are two best friends who work for the CIA. They are assigned to take down a man named Heinrich, but fail to capture him. So they are sent home to wait for him to turn up. Tuck then decides that he needs to start dating again and so he goes online and puts his profile up. Meanwhile, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) is a single, working woman who constantly keeps running into her old boyfriend, Steve (Warren Christie, the guy from Apollo 18). So her friend, Trish (Chelsea Handler) decides that she needs to put Lauren up on the internet too. Well Lauren finds Tuck and they go out on a date. They hit if off and have a wonderful time.  After the date, Lauren runs into FDR and he gets her to go on a date with him. This puts Lauren in a dilemma because she likes both of the guys. She goes on a bunch of dates to try to determine which she likes more. Tuck and FDR find out that they are dating the same girl and decide that they need to let her pick. That doesn't mean that they are not going to try to sway her vote. They bug her house and track her to find out what she likes and all these covert things. They also try to ruin each other's dates by hilarious means. All the while Heinrich is looking for them to make them pay.
This movie is really funny and awesome. There are some cute parts in it for the girls to enjoy. When I was in the theater, all I could hear was guys laughing super hard, so this also a good movie for any guy. It was fun to try to figure out who Lauren would choose and see if you guess right in the end. If it were me, I would have a hard time choosing, too. I would probably have to choose Chris Pine so I could say that I accomplished a life goal and got with Captain Kirk. Haha.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chronical, I Wish I Had Telokenisis

Chronical was pretty darn good. What would you do if you suddenly had the power to move things with your mind? I would probably do a bunch of stupid things, then become a superhero ("with great power..."). This movie is simple in its special effects, but still looks very real.
This movie is about Andrew (Dane DeHaan), a kid who buys a video camera to document his life and show what is happening to him in his home (his mom is dying and his dad beats him). Andrew goes to school with his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), who tells him that he needs to be more cool and go to a party. Andrew goes to the party with Matt and ends up out in the woods with Matt and the cool kid, Steve (Michael B. Jordan). There is a huge hole in the ground and they decided to go down and find out what is in it. In the hole, there is a strange looking, glowing, crystal-like thing. Then the ground starts shaking and the screen goes black. The story then rejoins some days later where they are practicing their new powers in the backyard. They had the ability to control objects with the power of their minds. The more they use their power, the stronger they get, eventually getting to the point where they can fly. One day when they are all driving in the car, a truck pulls up behind and is honking at them. Well Andrew uses his powers on the car and ends up pushing the car over the road and into a pond. The man is the car is injured and they decide that they need to have rules on their powers so they don't hurt people. The boys continue to get stronger and some problems arise.
This movie was great and kind of funny. It makes you think of what you would do if you were in the same spot as these boys. What would you do if you came across great power like this? I suggest you check this movie out. Rate PG-13 for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

7500 (10/31/2012)

Screw snakes on a plane, this movie has ghosts!!!

This is the first trailer for the movie 7500. I decided that I want to see it cause the main guy is kind of attractive and it's a ghost movie. Super cool looking. I love scary movies!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Man on a Ledge, Sam Worthington Can Stand on my Ledge

The title isn't suppose to be dirty. I mean stand on my ledge as a in a ledge outside my window. Haha. Well Man on a Ledge is freaking awesome (Rotten Tomatoes and Katie can suck it!) Sam Worthington is super hot and so is Jamie Bell and so is Edward Burns. This movie was super intense and good. I was on the edge of my seat (Woman on an edge).
The movie is about Nick Cassidy (Sam Worhtington) who is an escape convict standing on the ledge of a huge building in New York. Nick is an excop who was accused of stealing the Monarch diamond from David Englander (Ed Harris). When negotiators go to talk him down (Edward Burns and Elizabeth Banks), the feel that his is not out to jump but has alterior motives. His alterior motives is to get the Monarch diamond from David Englander and prove that Nick is innocent. Nick's brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and Joey's girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are sneaking into Englander's bank to get to the diamond.
This movie is super intense and there are some twists and turns that you don't expect. Then Sam Worthington is jumping around on the building and the made me super nervous. I didn't want him to fall (you know that he won't but it still makes you nervous). If you like heist movies and hot dudes, check this movie out. The movie is rated PG-13 for violence and some language.