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    "Letters From Iwo Jima" rife with inaccuracies

    I saw this movie yesterday with my old man. I was excited because Eastwood hit the mark with "Flags of Our Fathers", and I expected him to finalize his WWII saga with another historically accurate film. I'm an amatuer military history historian, and my grandfather is a veteran of the Red Beach landing at Iwo Jima, being medevacd on day 21 after receiving shrapnel wounds to the face. We went to the movie with my grandfather, and he told us that the movie was "bull****."

    There were parts in the movie that had me openly laughing at the absurdity of it.

    #1: The Japanese rescuing an American soldier and providing aid/comfort.
    This had me laughing. Not only are there no reports of this type of behavior occurring, there is exactly the opposite. Ralph Ignatowski, friend and fellow soldier of flagraiser John Bradley, was documented as having been captured by Jap soldiers. He was later found brutally tortured with his penis cut off and stuck in his mouth. It is a fact that the Imperial Army was the most ruthless, destructive army ever fielded. Depicting the Japanese going out of their way to rescue and treat a soldier on Iwo Jima is preposterous and a slap in the face to any Marine grunt that found himself bogged down in those evil black sands.

    #2: American units performing military operations during the night.
    This never happened. Ever. The complex system of tunnels and pillboxes on the island made forward movement incredibly dangerous even in daylight. The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought inch by inch. Literally. Wantonly moving around at night did not happen. To risk moving men under the cover of darkness is absurd, historically speaking. According to my grandfather, "you couldn't pull a needle out of your ass with a tractor trailer at night. Ain't no way no Marines is moving around at night."

    #3: Randomly assigning two American soldiers to "stay back" and guard two Japanese defectors, at night. Wow. The inaccuracies here are astounding. First, Japanese soldiers were routinely shot on the spot. No questions asked. Shot. According to my grandfather "Prisoners? We got in fights over who got the right to shoot the Japs we found." Secondly, defecting at night was never recorded, and attempting to do so would have been a death sentence. The constricted nature of the battlefield made open movement dangerous, and many friendly-fire casualties resulted among Marines who were watching for fellow Marine movement. Think about what would happen to a lone Japanese figure slowly making his way towards an American position in the dead of night. An unarmed Jap moving toward an American position in the dead of night was a death sentence due to limited visibility and hair-trigger tempers.

    #4 - Depicting the Jap as a weak-willed soldier wanting to defect from an unwinable war.
    Taken as a whole, viewers are left with the impression that the average Jap soldier was a weak-willed coward that looked for any opportunity to either commit suicide or defect in the face of an American onslaught. Historically speaking, this was simply not the case. By and large, the Jap soldier was a brainwashed, fanatical killing machine completely devoted to the honor of the Emeror and the protection of the Empire. They were brutal, committed soldiers, fighting to the death. When Japanese soldiers did surrender, it was most often done with two grenades placed under their armpits. This led to the widespread practice of killing Jap soldiers on the spot. The vast majority of Japanese defectors were actually not defecting; rather, they were caught in an emaciated state without food, water, or a means of defending themselves. These men were not weak-willed; they were brave, gritty soldiers that wrought havoc on the Marines and ensured that the battle of Iwo Jima would go down as America's most viscious, terrifying battle.

    #5 - General Kuribayashi's death.
    The movie depicted Kuribayashi requesting to be sacrificially beheaded at the end of the movie. Marines (all 5 of them, which is another inaccuracy, for the Marines never travelled in small units due to the nature of the warfare, but thats another story) stumble upon the body of the General. However, this never happened. Kuribayashi's remains were never found, and the location of his death is a subject for debate.

    I could go on and on about the inaccuracies of this movie, but I will spare you. If you do go to see this movie, keep in mind that it is a far-cry from historical accuracy.
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    Number One Man AJbuilder's Avatar
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    Marines actually made one night attack on March 2nd.

    "3/2For the attack on hill 362A the Marines decide on a night attack.

    * The tactics did suprise the Japanese but fierce fighting and difficult terrain delayed the hills capture until March 8th.
    * Even with the Marines occupying the strategic points on the island the Japanese still continued to fight in smaller pockets."

    http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/WW2T.../LUTZ/iwo.html
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    Originally Posted by AJbuilder View Post
    Marines actually made one night attack on March 2nd.

    "3/2For the attack on hill 362A the Marines decide on a night attack.

    * The tactics did suprise the Japanese but fierce fighting and difficult terrain delayed the hills capture until March 8th.
    * Even with the Marines occupying the strategic points on the island the Japanese still continued to fight in smaller pockets."

    http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/WW2T.../LUTZ/iwo.html
    I'm referring specifically to random troop movement at night, not a pre-planned, coordinated offensive. Good find.
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    How is the movie in terms of overall cultural portrayal (Americans and Japanese)?

    Being Chinese, the subject hits a tough spot in me, but I'm interested in watching the movie.
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    toiling in obscurity IronGame08's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TricepsNGirls View Post
    How is the movie in terms of overall cultural portrayal (Americans and Japanese)?

    Being Chinese, the subject hits a tough spot in me, but I'm interested in watching the movie.
    The movie definitely portrayed the imperialistic ferver of the military quite well, and it could be argued that Eastwood concentrated on highlighting the humanity of the Japanese soldier. He tried to reveal the similarities between the American and Japanese fighting man, although I would argue that he went too far.
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    It isn't like the Japanese were evil kill bots whose only joy was death and conquest. They believed that what they were doing was the only way to save Japan. Japan was happy in its isolation until the western powers moved into the region.
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    toiling in obscurity IronGame08's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EDC View Post
    It isn't like the Japanese were evil kill bots whose only joy was death and conquest. They believed that what they were doing was the only way to save Japan. Japan was happy in its isolation until the western powers moved into the region.
    Was the bombing of Pearl Harbor an example of western powers moving into their region? They fukked with us first, and got repaid in kind.
    Last edited by IronGame08; 01-21-2007 at 06:49 PM.
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    Originally Posted by EDC View Post
    It isn't like the Japanese were evil kill bots whose only joy was death and conquest. They believed that what they were doing was the only way to save Japan. Japan was happy in its isolation until the western powers moved into the region.
    Untrue. Japan wanted colonial power of mainland China. They took Taiwan, Manchuria, and a good span of China. My grandparents in Taiwan were educated by Japanese propaganda and had to learn Chinese from their children. I also have uncles that were drafted into the Japanese army and never returned.

    Japan was confident that the European Theatre would provide sufficent distraction and eventually bombed Pearl Harbor due to trade embargos. "Defense" was not in any part of their equation.

    Even today, their history education is a conservative farce that hides their WW2 atrocities. Any presentation of the Japanese as WW2 victims is ridiculous. Imperial Japan was set on brutal Eastern dominion.
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    And why did Japan want to expand?

    The Japanese saw what had happened to IndoChina and China. Colonialism, spheres of influence, gunboat diplomacy. The British fought a war to stop China from making the import of opium illegal! When an American ship arrived in Japan in 1853 and demanded access to the market the Japanese saw the same pattern beginning. In response they began a program of rapid industrialization and expansion to ensure access to the raw materials they needed to compete with the Europeans and Americans.

    Pearl harbor happened because the Americans froze japanese assets and ended the sale of scrap metal and oil to Japan. There isn't anything immoral about a government acting to preserve itself against states that have proven to be agressive in the past.
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    Originally Posted by EDC View Post
    And why did Japan want to expand?

    The Japanese saw what had happened to IndoChina and China. Colonialism, spheres of influence, gunboat diplomacy. The British fought a war to stop China from making the import of opium illegal! When an American ship arrived in Japan in 1853 and demanded access to the market the Japanese saw the same pattern beginning. In response they began a program of rapid industrialization and expansion to ensure access to the raw materials they needed to compete with the Europeans and Americans.

    Pearl harbor happened because the Americans froze japanese assets and ended the sale of scrap metal and oil to Japan. There isn't anything immoral about a government acting to preserve itself against states that have proven to be agressive in the past.
    Are you Japanese?
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    Originally Posted by TricepsNGirls View Post
    How is the movie in terms of overall cultural portrayal (Americans and Japanese)?

    Being Chinese, the subject hits a tough spot in me, but I'm interested in watching the movie.
    Why? Even poles and Russians don't give a **** about WWII anymore.

    Why is it that the Chinese are still pissed? Sure, the sack of Nanking was bad, but why does all this still bother so many Chinese today?

    You're the 4th young Chinese that I've heard recently complaining about what Japan did 60 years ago.
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    Originally Posted by IronGame08 View Post
    Are you Japanese?
    nope, white and a history major
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    Originally Posted by Sealed View Post
    Why? Even poles and Russians don't give a **** about WWII anymore.
    Not rly.
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    Originally Posted by Sealed View Post
    Why? Even poles and Russians don't give a **** about WWII anymore.

    Why is it that the Chinese are still pissed? Sure, the sack of Nanking was bad, but why does all this still bother so many Chinese today?

    You're the 4th young Chinese that I've heard recently complaining about what Japan did 60 years ago.
    I give a **** because no one else will. The Chinese government is more concerned with economic diplomacy nowadays and could give a rat's ass. McArthur and the Russians were interested in the Japanese's experimental data and thus pardoned the high-standing war criminals. The Japanese government has never apologized or recognized its wartime massacres and atrocities (including live experimentation on POWs and civilians), rather celebrated the villains, and is simply waiting for the WW2 generation to die out. It's been one of the most downplayed events in history (contrast it to the Holocaust) and most fcking certainly deserves mention and recognition. The Japanese want to believe that they're all high and pure and refuse to acknowledge what is history. The Chinese, Koreans, Russians, and Americans deserve apologies and factual documentaries rather than some bs films celebrating Japanese "honor". The Japanese also need to get their damn education straight, since the new generation is illiterate to Japan's involvements in WW2.
    Last edited by TricepsNGirls; 01-21-2007 at 08:24 PM.
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    Originally Posted by TricepsNGirls View Post
    I give a **** because no one else will. The Chinese government is more concerned with economic diplomacy nowadays and could give a rat's ass. McArthur and the Russians were interested in their experimental data and thus pardoned the higher uppers. The Japanese government has never apologized or recognized its wartime massacres and atrocities (including live experimentation on POWs and civilians) and is simply waiting for the WW2 generation to die out. It's been one of the most downplayed events in history (contrast it to the Holocaust) and most fcking certainly deserves mention and recognition. The Japanese want to believe that they're all high and pure and refuse to acknowledge what is history.
    Yeah, but dude, you're throwing bricks from a glass house. The Chinese have done a lot of nasty things to the Tibetans, Mongolians, Koreans and themselves. To accuse Japan of general nastiness while China is mired in wrongs and to accuse japan of colonialism while china clutches at everything she can seems a little ironic, don't you think?

    I don't deny that Japan (and the west) has downplayed the guilt of Japan in the post war era, but I'm leery of all the complaining coming from the chinese particularly while used in junction with a motive for allowing China more freedom in her expansion.
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    Every country has done something nasty to another country. At one point the swiss were prized as mercenaries (the first arms control deal forbid the use of the swiss in warfare).
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    Originally Posted by Sealed View Post
    Yeah, but dude, you're throwing bricks from a glass house. The Chinese have done a lot of nasty things to the Tibetans, Mongolians, Koreans and themselves. To accuse Japan of general nastiness while China is mired in wrongs and to accuse japan of colonialism while china clutches at everything she can seems a little ironic, don't you think?

    I don't deny that Japan (and the west) has downplayed the guilt of Japan in the post war era, but I'm leery of all the complaining coming from the chinese particularly while used in junction with a motive for allowing China more freedom in her expansion.
    Who said I wasn't critical of my own people? I'd be more than happy to raise Cain on Chinese indecencies. The Japanese are the one who think they're high **** and refuse introspection.

    The Nanking Massacre, Unit 731, and mass usage of "comfort women" have been ridiculously downplayed. Nobody (including the Chinese) studies them with anything more than a passing glance.

    China "clutching at everything" and "expanding"? We're not talking about Ghengis Khan here. Are you Japanese? This sounds like a case of psychological projection, because China hasn't meddled with anything beyond its own vicinity and ethnic groups for quite a while. The Japanese are a different story.
    Last edited by TricepsNGirls; 01-21-2007 at 08:43 PM.
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    Also, to put things into perspective, there were more civilians (Chinese, Koreans, and south Asians) killed by the Japanese during WW2 than Jews during the Holocaust. The Holocaust was undeniably more catastrophic due to population proportions, but in terms of pure volume and method, the Japanese were far more brutal than the Germans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_atrocities
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    And just in case the wikipedia entry is too long -


    "To determine the treatment of frostbite, prisoners were taken outside in freezing weather and left with exposed arms, periodically drenched with water until frozen solid. The arm was later amputated; the doctor would repeat the process on the victim’s upper arm to the shoulder. After both arms were gone, the doctors moved on to the legs until only a head and torso remained. The victim was then used for plague and pathogens experiments."

    Robert Wilson, a medal of honor recipient -
    "The slaughter of civilians is appalling. I could go on for pages telling of cases of rape and brutality almost beyond belief. Two bayoneted corpses are the only survivors of seven street cleaners who were sitting in their headquarters when Japanese soldiers came in without warning or reason and killed five of their number and wounded the two that found their way to the hospital."

    "It is a horrible story to relate; I know not where to begin nor to end. Never have I heard or read of such brutality. Rape: We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval there is a bayonet stab or a bullet." (James McCallum, letter to his family, 19 December 1937) regarding Nanking

    An Indian POW -
    "the Japanese started selecting prisoners and everyday one prisoner was taken out and killed and eaten by the soldiers. I personally saw this happen and about 100 prisoners were eaten at this place by the Japanese. The remainder of us were taken to another spot 50 miles [80 km] away where 10 prisoners died of sickness. At this place, the Japanese again started selecting prisoners to eat. Those selected were taken to a hut where their flesh was cut from their bodies while they were alive and they were thrown into a ditch where they later died."

    It's usually unprofessional to appeal to emotion when it comes to statistics-heavy details, but sadism was commonplace and rampant throughout Japanese invasion, yet virtually unheard and unspoken of save a few online and written relics.
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    Originally Posted by TricepsNGirls View Post
    It's been one of the most downplayed events in history (contrast it to the Holocaust) and most fcking certainly deserves mention and recognition.
    prolly due to the jewish control of the media. same reason why darfur isnt talked about, but the israel stuff is talked about ad naseum.
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    Originally Posted by TricepsNGirls View Post
    Who said I wasn't critical of my own people? I'd be more than happy to raise Cain on Chinese indecencies. The Japanese are the one who think they're high **** and refuse introspection.

    The Nanking Massacre, Unit 731, and mass usage of "comfort women" have been ridiculously downplayed. Nobody (including the Chinese) studies them with anything more than a passing glance.

    China "clutching at everything" and "expanding"? We're not talking about Ghengis Khan here. Are you Japanese? This sounds like a case of psychological projection, because China hasn't meddled with anything beyond its own vicinity and ethnic groups for quite a while. The Japanese are a different story.
    No, i'm not Japanese.

    While the chinese aren't actively involved in land acquisition they are VERY aggressive in material acquisition often completely ignoring the destabilizing effects that their policies are having (ie sudan ect).
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    MOVIE QUESTION :

    If I haven't seen Flags of our Fathers yet, would it be ok to see this one first or does it in any way play off the other movie?

    Yes, I know they're from different viewpoints but I don't want to watch a movie and have parts where I don't know what's going on due to a parallel movie from last year.
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    Originally Posted by US_Ranger View Post
    MOVIE QUESTION :

    If I haven't seen Flags of our Fathers yet, would it be ok to see this one first or does it in any way play off the other movie?

    Yes, I know they're from different viewpoints but I don't want to watch a movie and have parts where I don't know what's going on due to a parallel movie from last year.
    Also, it looked like Clint used some of the scenes from "flag" over again. True?
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    Originally Posted by JoeDirtBody View Post
    prolly due to the jewish control of the media. same reason why darfur isnt talked about, but the israel stuff is talked about ad naseum.
    I don't know how mainstream media works, but there's rarely any civil rights international coverage save the middle east nowadays. We don't get nearly enough feed from Africa and South America, which is unfortunate.

    We are however, saturated with news whenever there is an economic link involved (eg. Fortune, The Economist, BusinessWeek, NewsWeek)
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    Originally Posted by JoeDirtBody View Post
    prolly due to the jewish control of the media. same reason why darfur isnt talked about, but the israel stuff is talked about ad naseum.
    That really doesn't make too much sense. If the Israelis were really perpetrating some sort of Palestinian holocaust and they really did have some sort of monopoly on American media, in theory wouldn't it be best for American-Jews in control of our media outlets to bury or ignore the story?
    100% 中国人 / Chinese
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    Originally Posted by IronGame08 View Post
    Was the bombing of Pearl Harbor an example of western powers moving into their region? They fukked with us first, and got repaid in kind.

    The truth behind Pearl Harbor varies depending on who you believe. There are plenty of veterans who believe it was a sort of 9/11 of WW2, if you know what I'm getting at.
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    Originally Posted by TricepsNGirls View Post
    Untrue. Japan wanted colonial power of mainland China. They took Taiwan, Manchuria, and a good span of China. My grandparents in Taiwan were educated by Japanese propaganda and had to learn Chinese from their children. I also have uncles that were drafted into the Japanese army and never returned.

    Japan was confident that the European Theatre would provide sufficent distraction and eventually bombed Pearl Harbor due to trade embargos. "Defense" was not in any part of their equation.

    Even today, their history education is a conservative farce that hides their WW2 atrocities. Any presentation of the Japanese as WW2 victims is ridiculous. Imperial Japan was set on brutal Eastern dominion.

    This isnt entirely accurate. One cannot also deny the exaggerations on behalf of the Chinese and Koreans, that became worse over time. Also, one must study everything that led up to WW2 within Japan, to understand their reasoning for occupation of certain asian countries.
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    One of my favorite historical quotes comes from Ho Chi Minh. After Japan surrendered and the French moved back in to Vietnam, Ho, explaining why he then rejected help from China in ousting the French, remarked (I'm paraphrasing): "Better to sniff French **** for a few years than to eat Chinese **** for the rest of our lives." But in any case at least they were rid of the Japanese, referred to as "small death" and by many accounts the most brutal of the many oppressors Vietnam withstood.
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    Originally Posted by ~Serpent~ View Post
    This isnt entirely accurate. One cannot also deny the exaggerations on behalf of the Chinese and Koreans, that became worse over time. Also, one must study everything that led up to WW2 within Japan, to understand their reasoning for occupation of certain asian countries.
    I'm sorry, but that is just a bunch of crap. First, Asians have a strong tendency for underestimation. As I said already, eastern governments now are apathetic to victim's appeals due to overbearing economic incentives. Second, there was nothing quantitative in the passage you quoted me. Lastly, any figures I posted were official, and many statistics rendered for the East Asian War were documented by neutral westerners.

    There was nothing reasonable about Japanese colonialism, yet in the US we somehow learn a history where we "oppressed" them with oil embargos, thereby "forcing" them to bomb Pearl Harbor. The Japanese men were wholly militant and savage during the war, and they were hell bent on violent domination of the eastern sphere. They struck Pearl Harbor to take out our pacific fleet so that we would not be able to interfere.
    Last edited by TricepsNGirls; 01-22-2007 at 07:16 AM.
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    Originally Posted by ~Serpent~ View Post
    The truth behind Pearl Harbor varies depending on who you believe. There are plenty of veterans who believe it was a sort of 9/11 of WW2, if you know what I'm getting at.
    There is nothing up in the air about it. The US was not the aggressor. Some conspiracy theorists surmise that Roosevelt purposely ignored warnings to unite American wartime sentiment, but you'd be hard-pressed to find proof for that motive.
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