The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:05 pm

I really want to respond to you, MekaGojira3k, but I think we're already dangerously close to a full-blown political debate that we're not allowed to have and my response would almost certainly push it over that line. Oh well.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby jellydonut25 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:06 am

MekaGojira3k wrote:I absolutely see where people are getting the nationalism in Shin Godzilla, but I feel as though I can do that to hundreds of films produced here in the U.S.
What irks me is the idea that somehow it's OKAY (not saying this is expressed here necessarily since I've not been here in forever) for MURICA, but not okay for Japan.

I first encountered this at a G-Fest panel wherein some old white dudes were apparently aware of what the ghost of Ishiro Honda thought of everything, despite the franchise shifting and changing to meet the demands of the market and zeitgeist many times over by this point. I guess after years and years of films with varying intents and purposes I am unfazed by this particular entry of DREADED JAPANESE NATIONALISM (tm).

I think it's less about that, and more about (a) a LOT of people not only denying the existence of nationalistic themes in Shin Godzilla, but even going so far as to say it has the OPPOSITE message and (b) the franchise's roots.

You can dismiss those people from the G-Fest panel as "old white dudes" and think whatever you want, but they were Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, the guys who wrote the official authorized Honda bio and had been invited into the man's former home by his family. So if anyone other than the ghost of Honda himself is going to speak at G-Fest about how Honda would likely have felt watching Shin Godzilla, it's those guys.

At the end of the day, Shin Godzilla is a movie and movies can TOTALLY be viewed and interpreted however a person wants, regardless of filmmaker intent. I doubt Yuasa WANTED me to laugh my ass off watching Gamera vs Guiron, but that thing is one of cinema's greatest comedies, intent be damned. HOWEVER, it's important when looking at a film, and calling it an unparalleled work of genius with themes of global peace and cooperation (as MANY have when "discussing" Shin Godzilla) to look at the intent and context. And given everything known about Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, as well as Ishiro Honda and his views on nationalism in general, it's not out of left field to state he would have found Shin Godzilla a rather disquieting, disappointing film. And I don't want to be alarmist or extremist about that. But just stick with the more...'factual' points. It's obviously hard to be factual when discussing the opinions of a deceased individual, but given that Honda routinely spoke out against nationalism both in his personal life and through his films, it's not terribly hard to extrapolate. AND AGAIN: I don't even want to discuss the 'morality' of Shin Godzilla's message...hell, I don't even really want to discuss Shin Godzilla (it's not only played out but like...the movie is...kinda mediocre), but just point out that this stuff IS THERE. It exists. Whether or not it bothers an individual is up to their own personal opinions, just like watching a modern-day American blockbuster and deciding whether or not the fetishizing of the US military and the often extreme patriotism on display especially in the likes of Michael Bay films bothers them there.....but it's THERE (and I think the reason a lot of people are kinda picking this battle and drawing this line is that a LOT of people who point these kinds of things out in American productions are rather quick to call Shin Godzilla a humanist masterpiece; which it's not; for a LOT of reasons)



http://www.godzilla-movies.com/news/shi ... ationalism
This is a good article that takes a look at the nationalistic themes in Shin Godzilla without getting too alarmist about it.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby MekaGojira3k » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:30 pm

See I've never heard anyone call it a humanist masterpiece. I've just seen people (usually old people) screeching Nationalism and flapping their wings in a panic.

Also, I've found I'm at a point where I think it's great that those two guys have contributed to the fandom, but they're also just...people.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:16 pm

I also think that some folks just object to the movie on a stylistic level, and and as such are inclined to dig deep into their dislike of it. This is common in criticism, really; just saying that the work is remote to you for stylistic reasons seems a rather paltry thing, so often there's the need to find some moral objection to the work of art in order to justify, psychologically, one's dislike of it. That's not to say that one can't find nationalistic themes in Shin Godzilla, but it can explain the need to puff them up to gargantuan proportions and read them into every single scene, character, but of dialogue, camera placement, etc.

In the quest of some folks to read that much into this film I've noticed quite a few errors in their descriptions of certain parts of the movie, as they overlook or misinterpret the often straightforward things that are happening on the screen in order to fit into their unified theory. In this regard there has been some cogent analysis of Shin Godzilla and its place in the Japanese culture of today that's been very informative, and there is also been a whole lot of Pepe Silvia-esque craziness.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby jellydonut25 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:28 pm

MekaGojira3k wrote:Also, I've found I'm at a point where I think it's great that those two guys have contributed to the fandom, but they're also just...people.

I'm typically one of the FIRST people to say things like this, but if you're going to ask ANYONE'S opinion on what Honda might have thought (anyone living that is) it's hard to find people MORE qualified to talk about it than Ryfle and Godziszewski.

lhb412 wrote:I also think that some folks just object to the movie on a stylistic level, and and as such are inclined to dig deep into their dislike of it. This is common in criticism, really; just saying that the work is remote to you for stylistic reasons seems a rather paltry thing, so often there's the need to find some moral objection to the work of art in order to justify, psychologically, one's dislike of it. That's not to say that one can't find nationalistic themes in Shin Godzilla, but it can explain the need to puff them up to gargantuan proportions and read them into every single scene, character, but of dialogue, camera placement, etc.

In the quest of some folks to read that much into this film I've noticed quite a few errors in their descriptions of certain parts of the movie, as they overlook or misinterpret the often straightforward things that are happening on the screen in order to fit into their unified theory. In this regard there has been some cogent analysis of Shin Godzilla and its place in the Japanese culture of today that's been very informative, and there is also been a whole lot of Pepe Silvia-esque craziness.
When a noted nationalist makes a movie with nationalist themes, it doesn't take a whole lot of digging to bring them to the surface.
If people are getting basic things wrong about Shin Godzilla, I imagine it's either for comedic or hyperbolic purposes to make a point.

I know I've done it. Especially because I'm not likely to consider a movie with effects like this:
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to be a masterpiece. And that's not even the worst train gif...but I can't find the other one I saw t'other day easily.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:32 pm

^ I like that shot! It has the slightly inexplicable nature that often defines tokusatsu style.

The worst shot is Godzilla moving right before 'cooling down' after his all-out attack. To my eyes the CGI looks far more unfinished than anything else in the film.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby MekaGojira3k » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:52 pm

You can ask what he MIGHT have thought, but to treat it as gospel or to even place so much on the opinion of Honda seems ridiculous. The franchise as Honda understood it and where it was even by the end of his life were very different. It's like that era of the fandom in which THE 54 FILM IS THE ZENITH, ALL ELSE PALES AND STAND ILLEGITIMATE IN ITS WAKE mentality overtook everything. Things change, and this franchise has done so a great many times.

Oh my god, is this where we are? "THE TRAINS DIDN'T LOOK REALISTIC." (also choosing a gif of something that just looks interesting, great choice *thumbs up* and all that)

As for the trains, I like it too, I like how strange it is, as though the cars are bumping into one another and locking into serpentine shapes. It looks like they're swarming him. It's almost like Tokusatsu doesn't value realism over visuals. Though I'm sure there's no hint of that in the franchise's history.

As for a masterpiece, that's always gonna be swathed in opinion and that's why much of the "THOSE JAPANESE AND THEIR NATIONALISM!" irks me. Just dislike the movie, this business of then dragging it into the quagmire of "THIS MEANS THIS" or "THIS MEANS THAT" (Again, I acknowledge it's there to be read) and doing so with such a definitive tone seems silly (not to mention seems to want to place a moral judgement on film thereby ruining the fun of film interpretation as a hobby)

I must've had a fit of madness, because I thought in the era of Shin Godzilla/The Godzilla Anime/an the Monsterverse stuff that by so many tones and ideas being expressed we might've moved into a stretch where everybody got to appreciate a little bit of everything, but instead it feels like certain groups are just clinging feebly to a niche of scholarly influence that is as fleeting as their own lives. We must box things off, and we have to decide what is True Godzilla or No. XD. This fandom is so funny.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:02 pm

MekaGojira3k wrote:
I must've had a fit of madness, because I thought in the era of Shin Godzilla/The Godzilla Anime/an the Monsterverse stuff that by so many tones and ideas being expressed we might've moved into a stretch where everybody got to appreciate a little bit of everything, but instead it feels like certain groups are just clinging feebly to a niche of scholarly influence that is as fleeting as their own lives. We must box things off, and we have to decide what is True Godzilla or No. XD. This fandom is so funny.


It does feel we got off of the rather conservative reaction to Godzilla 1998 where it was all "Godzilla has to look like this and do this to be Godzilla."
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby klen7 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:17 pm

シンゴジラ vs 真ゴジラ!!!
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:57 am

MekaGojira3k wrote:You can ask what he MIGHT have thought, but to treat it as gospel or to even place so much on the opinion of Honda seems ridiculous. The franchise as Honda understood it and where it was even by the end of his life were very different. It's like that era of the fandom in which THE 54 FILM IS THE ZENITH, ALL ELSE PALES AND STAND ILLEGITIMATE IN ITS WAKE mentality overtook everything. Things change, and this franchise has done so a great many times.

Oh my god, is this where we are? "THE TRAINS DIDN'T LOOK REALISTIC." (also choosing a gif of something that just looks interesting, great choice *thumbs up* and all that)

As for the trains, I like it too, I like how strange it is, as though the cars are bumping into one another and locking into serpentine shapes. It looks like they're swarming him. It's almost like Tokusatsu doesn't value realism over visuals. Though I'm sure there's no hint of that in the franchise's history.

As for a masterpiece, that's always gonna be swathed in opinion and that's why much of the "THOSE JAPANESE AND THEIR NATIONALISM!" irks me. Just dislike the movie, this business of then dragging it into the quagmire of "THIS MEANS THIS" or "THIS MEANS THAT" (Again, I acknowledge it's there to be read) and doing so with such a definitive tone seems silly (not to mention seems to want to place a moral judgement on film thereby ruining the fun of film interpretation as a hobby)

I must've had a fit of madness, because I thought in the era of Shin Godzilla/The Godzilla Anime/an the Monsterverse stuff that by so many tones and ideas being expressed we might've moved into a stretch where everybody got to appreciate a little bit of everything, but instead it feels like certain groups are just clinging feebly to a niche of scholarly influence that is as fleeting as their own lives. We must box things off, and we have to decide what is True Godzilla or No. XD. This fandom is so funny.

I legitimately feel like you didn't actually read anything I said, the MULTIPLE qualifiers I put behind it, or appreciate the context of literally anything. You just got pissy because I don't like a movie you like and took some potshots at it.
THAT'S the state of this fandom and franchise. Nobody's allowed to criticize and discussion is braindead because as soon as contrarian opinions arise, everyone just nitpicks and attacks rather than appraise the entirety of someone's comments. And that's all besides the point that I feel like even throughout Godzilla's LONG history of changing through the years, peaceful, humanist messages and ideals were always at the core of the character and the stories...until Shin Godzilla.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby MekaGojira3k » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:04 am

jellydonut25 wrote:
MekaGojira3k wrote:You can ask what he MIGHT have thought, but to treat it as gospel or to even place so much on the opinion of Honda seems ridiculous. The franchise as Honda understood it and where it was even by the end of his life were very different. It's like that era of the fandom in which THE 54 FILM IS THE ZENITH, ALL ELSE PALES AND STAND ILLEGITIMATE IN ITS WAKE mentality overtook everything. Things change, and this franchise has done so a great many times.

Oh my god, is this where we are? "THE TRAINS DIDN'T LOOK REALISTIC." (also choosing a gif of something that just looks interesting, great choice *thumbs up* and all that)

As for the trains, I like it too, I like how strange it is, as though the cars are bumping into one another and locking into serpentine shapes. It looks like they're swarming him. It's almost like Tokusatsu doesn't value realism over visuals. Though I'm sure there's no hint of that in the franchise's history.

As for a masterpiece, that's always gonna be swathed in opinion and that's why much of the "THOSE JAPANESE AND THEIR NATIONALISM!" irks me. Just dislike the movie, this business of then dragging it into the quagmire of "THIS MEANS THIS" or "THIS MEANS THAT" (Again, I acknowledge it's there to be read) and doing so with such a definitive tone seems silly (not to mention seems to want to place a moral judgement on film thereby ruining the fun of film interpretation as a hobby)

I must've had a fit of madness, because I thought in the era of Shin Godzilla/The Godzilla Anime/an the Monsterverse stuff that by so many tones and ideas being expressed we might've moved into a stretch where everybody got to appreciate a little bit of everything, but instead it feels like certain groups are just clinging feebly to a niche of scholarly influence that is as fleeting as their own lives. We must box things off, and we have to decide what is True Godzilla or No. XD. This fandom is so funny.

I legitimately feel like you didn't actually read anything I said, the MULTIPLE qualifiers I put behind it, or appreciate the context of literally anything. You just got pissy because I don't like a movie you like and took some potshots at it.
THAT'S the state of this fandom and franchise. Nobody's allowed to criticize and discussion is braindead because as soon as contrarian opinions arise, everyone just nitpicks and attacks rather than appraise the entirety of someone's comments. And that's all besides the point that I feel like even throughout Godzilla's LONG history of changing through the years, peaceful, humanist messages and ideals were always at the core of the character and the stories...until Shin Godzilla.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:10 am

MekaGojira3k wrote:Do....do you need to lie down?

Thanks for contributing.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby MekaGojira3k » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:11 am

jellydonut25 wrote:
MekaGojira3k wrote:Do....do you need to lie down?

Thanks for contributing.


No problem. I mean, I didn't have a lot to work with, but I thought I gave it a good try.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:54 pm

MekaGojira3k wrote: I thought I gave it a good try.

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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby klen7 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:26 pm

jellydonut25 wrote:Everything Godzilla is good. Everything Godzilla is good. Everything Godzilla is good.

i used to say i never met a Godzilla movie i didn't enjoy.... then the animes were released
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby tbeasley » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:12 pm

If you have the time this is an interesting video to check out (it's nowhere near as snarky as the thumbnail implies) -
phpBB [media]


The video takes a pitstop to look at the apparent nationalism of the live action Space Battleship Yamato, directed by Takashi Yamazaki. Yamazaki also directed the film Eternal Zero which Hayao Miyazaki roundly criticized for its rightwing leanings.

I bring up Miyazaki, who's as pacifistic as you can get and openly and regularly criticizes Japan for nationalism and whitewashing history, because he's also very good friends with Anno and I think, unless he doesn't want to badmouth a friend, he would say something about Shin if it really was this rightwing screed.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:52 pm

I watched that video a couple of weeks ago! Really dig this guy's stuff. Hope he goes on to make a lot more video essays like this.

The thing about Yamazaki is that his brand a jingoism feels very similar to that in American movies.When Toho first announced that they were making a Godzilla movie August Ragone bet on Yamazaki being the director, right?
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby Gwangi » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:15 pm

tbeasley wrote:If you have the time this is an interesting video to check out (it's nowhere near as snarky as the thumbnail implies) -
phpBB [media]


With "Shin Godzilla", of course, many will have their own interpretations, however, I am inclined to agree with what was said in the video. If anything, I tend to see "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" as what one might call a more nationalist approach. I do recall the bit of controversy it caused here in the States, when scenes of Godzilla stomping on U.S marines during WWII surfaced. Of course, I don't know what Kazuki Ōmori's intentions where when he wrote the screenplay, but personally, for myself, I can't help but to look at in that context.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:59 am

^ Well, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is critical of the Japanese economy at the time it was made... but it also presents a highly romanticized version of the Japanese in World War II.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby canofhumdingers » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:25 pm

That was incredibly interesting. I learned a lot that I was only marginally aware of regarding the historical-revisionist political movements in Japan. I also fully agree with his assessment of Shin Godzilla. It’s what I’ve thought of the film all along, but he explains it more eloquently and with a much deeper understanding of the issues than I could hope to express.

An interesting aside: early on he mentions he’s part of the younger generation of Godzilla fans (which he distinguishes from he “old guard”) and has been active in the fandom for about 10 years. It made me realize that I’ve been part of the online Godzilla fandom for almost exactly 20 years, which puts me in and odd limbo of sorts. I’m too young to be part of the old guard who grew up seeing these films in their original runs in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, but I’m too old to really identify with the younger generation that populates the fandom these days. It oddly mirrors how I feel about the general classifications of generations in the US. I’m too young to be Gen-X, yet I’m really a bit too old to fit in to the common description and stereotypes of the millennials. Apparently I’m not alone, as there are many articles out there like this one that clearly explain exactly what I mean.

And it led me to realize that I believe many of the people on this board (no matter how small the community has become) fall into the same group, which is quite likely why it continues to be my absolute favorite place to discuss kaiju, and probably even my favorite single website in all the internet.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby Baltan II » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:01 pm

That actually makes a bit of sense, and explains the community that's left around here still being willing to cling onto this forum rather than let it fade from existence. Facebook is still a horribly inadequate replacement for the discussions that occur here but I can't fit in with the likes of Toho Kingdom either. I'm definitely teetering on the edge of that xennial description, born in 85, but absolutely relate to nearly everything covered there.

Interesting aside to this conversation!
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby Gwangi » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:14 pm

canofhumdingers wrote:An interesting aside: early on he mentions he’s part of the younger generation of Godzilla fans (which he distinguishes from he “old guard”) and has been active in the fandom for about 10 years. It made me realize that I’ve been part of the online Godzilla fandom for almost exactly 20 years, which puts me in and odd limbo of sorts. I’m too young to be part of the old guard who grew up seeing these films in their original runs in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, but I’m too old to really identify with the younger generation that populates the fandom these days. It oddly mirrors how I feel about the general classifications of generations in the US. I’m too young to be Gen-X, yet I’m really a bit too old to fit in to the common description and stereotypes of the millennials. Apparently I’m not alone, as there are many articles out there like this one that clearly explain exactly what I mean.


In the classic words of one Yukon Cornelius, "Even among misfits, your a misfit!" :mrgreen:

With all of this talk of WWII and nationalism in Godzilla movies, today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Emperor Hirohito, and of course, the end of the Showa period.

The strange thing about that news was that Hirohito's death, inadvertently re-ignited my interest in Godzilla movies. In the 1980s, my interest in G had waned. The movies were not being played with regularity anymore (at least on commercial TV). Godzilla products were at best minimal, and the Medved brothers kept putting down Toho's films any chance they got.

After the Emperor's death that January, our local PBS station decided to play many programs in regards to Japanese culture. One rainy Saturday night, they showed "Seven Samurai", and I was completely blown away by it, by Kurosawa and the actors involved the film. I recognized Takashi Shimura, but I did not know his name at that time. But that alone, gave me a yearning to watch Godzilla again, and did a few months later when I bought my first G-films on VHS (Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster & GKOTM). It is weird how some things work out.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:37 pm

^ Neat story!

I was already committed fan at the time, but I know that Seven Samurai was the first time I saw Shimura in a non-kaiju movie. I must have been either late middle school or early high school age, and it was certainly on Turner Classic Movies. I've read a lot about how PBS was the only way a lot of people saw silent films are foreign films back in the day, but that was before my time.
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby Gwangi » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:45 pm

Yes indeed, before there was TCM, we had to rely on our local PBS stations if one wanted to watch foreign or silent features.

Apologies if I have gotten off the topic. But never would I have thought that the death of Emperor Hirohito 30 years ago, would cause this chain reaction (and I have PBS to thank!). Not only did it re-spark my interest in Godzilla, but it introduced me to Kurosawa and sparked an interest in Japanese cinema as a whole. One year later, I am at the college library, checking out one of Donald Ritchie's books on Japanese film (though, he was skimpy on the Godzilla segment).
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Re: The Imperial Ambitions of Godzilla

Postby tbeasley » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:53 pm

This is about a decade old but goes into the themes of GMK that correlate with this thread (ignore the Final Wars pic at the start) -

The Enemy Within
One of the last Godzilla films, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, challenges Japan to confront its own war guilt.
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