“History is not about the facts. It is about the context and who is telling the story.” —Prof. Milton Fine.
THE HEROIC SONG OF THE JAPANESE AVIATOR SPIRITAMBASSADOR OSHIMA AT THE PREMIERE IN THE BERLIN UFA-PALACE CINEMA
The Ufa Palast am Zoo, where so many historical, military or politically meaningful films have appeared in the public light for the first time, yesterday became a festive place for the premiere of the Japanese air force film, NIPPONS WILDE ADLER (JAPAN’S WILD EAGLES). The prestigious film premiere palace stood adorned with the flags of Japan and Germany. In the ballroom, where the leading men of the State, Wehrmacht and Party were gathered in the victorious atmosphere from the latest great success of the Japanese special-purpose submarines, which lay near Madagascar and in Sydney Harbor. Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels took part in the film premiere with the Japanese Ambassador, General Oshima, and also seen were Reich Minister Reichsleiter Rosenberg, the Reich Minister Rust and Graf Schwerin–Krosigk, the SA Chief of Staff Viktor Lütze, and high representatives of the diplomatic corps and the General Staff of the three Wehrmacht branches.The stage was flanked with the Japanese flag with the red sun and white background and the swastika flag of Germany. At the front of the stage was spread a marvelous flowerbed of Chrysanthemums, the flower crest of the Imperial Japanese Emperor. The Staff Music Corps of the Watch Battalion of the Luftwaffe under the command of Staff Music Master Teichmann opened the event with the march “Our Stukas” by Grauke and a Japanese patriotic march by Setoguchi.Then the first Japanese newsreel which came to us summarized in retrospect the unique deeds of the Japanese Army, the Air Force and the Marines. It let us participate in the attack of Japanese bombers against Pearl Harbor which sunk the bulk of the North American Pacific fleet; or rendered them harmless for further battle. We relived the landing in the Philippines, the capture of Hong Kong, the forward march of the Japanese infantry through the Malay jungle to Singapore. Events that kept the world in suspense at a time when the German Army stood in a winter defense in the East. Images that make you once again aware of the proud contribution in which the Japanese Armed Forces, as true brothers–in–arms, fight in the common struggle in which the young ambitious powers stand against the Plutocrats. Our very special admiration has always been found by the actions of the Japanese aviators. And now a film has come to us, that reveals something of the spirit of Nippon’s wild eagles, who are empowered to perform so boldly. The film, which was seen for the first time yesterday under the supervision of the Japanese Aviation Service of the Japanese Army and originated with the support of the Japanese Army Command; was made a gift to the Führer and the German people by the Army Leadership. The net profit from all screenings will be shared equally by the Japanese and the German Red Cross Societies. The film takes in a Japanese aviation school and follows the training of the young heroes through action in a Chinese war front; where they prove themselves as tough fighters and as loyal comrades. Tough and severe is the training in the Japanese flying school, that reminds one of the discipline in Prussian barracks. “Your life does not belong to you, but to Japan” — this principle, the highest demand of Japanese soldiers — goes into the flesh and blood of these young flyers and is with them both on duty and also in their free time.“For us that means to die properly as well to live properly” it says in another time. That is the spirit of the Bushido, demanded from soldiers in unconditional and ready-to-sacrifice service to the Fatherland and The Emperor. It forms the steely physiognomy of the young men. The film shows the decisive moves, the concentration of the will in air combat, which the young pilots endure. This gesture is no rigid mask of a dead mechanism that has become a machine; it is the triumph of spirit over the personal ego, behind which a very human heart beats. This is revealed in the scene in which the pilots mourn the death of a comrade, the eyes of the heroes become moist in silent contemplation, in the memory of those who have passed away, the same eyes that just flashed like eagle fire under the iron willpower of battle.The images breathe in the consecration of religious immersion, in which the men bare their heads to reflect on who their life belongs to, for whom they are ready to fight, in the service of which their deeds take on a sacred meaning: The Empire, The Emperor, fallen Comrades. Silent scenes that give us a hint of the secret power of the soul that the Japanese soldier gains from these minutes of prayer.Only a few actors appear in the film. They combine with the young flyers as one. The director of the film, Y. Abe, who gave concise images from military breeding and suggestive excerpts as battle phases — also contemplative, sometimes even lyrical and delicate visions of the splendid East Asian mood.
These and those forms and customs in which the life of the Japanese soldier live are also different from ours, and what can be read out of them, what can be heard from the whole film like a hymn is the spirit of male breeding, the willingness to serve, the willingness to sacrifice, and above all the camaraderie that proves itself in need and danger, and also connects with the Japanese ally to a real fighting community. The film NIPPONS WILDE ADLER made a valuable contribution to this ideal mutual understanding.There was strong applause at the end, which swelled to an ovation when the Ambassador Lt. Gen. Oshima rose gratefully in his box.— Ernst JeroschProduction: Toho-Soho-Film A.G. -TokyoDistributor: Urban-Pfeiffer-Deutschland-Ring-Film.Length: 2543 meters Politically Valuable and EducationalYouth admitted. Holiday screenings.Censorship Nr. 57076 at 28.5.1942Film-Kurier Tageszeitung, 6 June 1942 Nr. 130 / Front page and cont’d on pg. 2
©2020 translation by German Films Dot Net.