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“Letters from Iwo Jima” Movie Analysis

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    Letters from Iwo Jima is a movie about the bloody battle between Japan and America in Iwo Jima island. It was produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Clint Eastwood, released in 2006. The stars are Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya who act general Tadamichi Kuribayashi and private first class Saigo. This movie was mostly filmed in Barstow and Bakersfield in California, only few on-location shots filmed in Iwo Jima island. In my view, this movie portrayed very accurate history and focused more on relationship between soldiers and their relatives, fellow soldiers. It also give expression to humanity and extremely strong imperialism.

    The battle of Iwo Jima is a battle during WW2 which is the bloodiest war of Pacific war. On December 8th 1941, America declared war in Japan. Iwo Jima island is a important island. After American forces established Mariana, they continued to bomb Japan. However, there is a long distance to mainland Japan from Mariana, America decided to capture Iwo Jima to set emergency landing area which is easy to attack mainland Japan, also decreased the flying range. American planned to capture this island in 5 day, but it lasted for 5 weeks. At that time, Japanese navy has been destroyed by early Pacific War. In addition, Japan lost lots of warplane. Less warplane was unable to prevail in the air. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi decided to dig passageways underground and set machine gun and artillery which was effectively defended Americans. In February 19th 1945, America tried to land on Iwo Jima. At first, they were landing very easily, because Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s plan was hiding in the mountain and wait for American armies come into their shooting range. When Americans landed, Japanese started to open the fire. American armies had heavy losses, but they have lots of warplane so they slowly move forward. Only 4 days ago, Americans captured Mount Suribachi and raised American flag. Japanese can not defend America’s powerful firepower, also Japan was lacking of food and weapons. Even though Japanese fought to the death. America won this war by strong military and sufficient supplies. It was the only time an attacking nation had more casualties than a defending nation in Pacific War.

    In the movie Letters From Iwo Jima, the whole event has been accurately described.

    War is cruel and ruthless which is the common thing about the movie and reality. In the movie, the soldiers miss their families so much, not only Japanese soldiers but also American soldiers. Even the soldiers know there is no hope to win this war and go back to Japan, they still must fight to the end, Because “Japan’s air force had lost many of its warplanes, and those it had were unable to protect an inner line of defenses set up by the empire’s military leaders. This line of defenses included islands like Iwo Jima”( editors, Iwo Jima). Besides, American army is much stronger than Japanese’. “Within days, some 70,000 U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima. Although they significantly outnumbered their Japanese enemies on the island (by a more than three-to-one margin), many Americans were wounded or killed over the five weeks of fighting, with some estimates suggesting more than 25,000 casualties, including nearly 7,000 deaths”( editors, Iwo Jima). Lots of people died in the war which is horrible.“ Losses: U.S., 6,800 dead, 19,200 wounded; Japanese, 18,000 dead, 216 captured” (Donald Somerville, Battle of Iwo Jima World War II). Secondly, Japanese soldiers blindly faithful to their emperor which is also same as reality. If they lost their position, they would commit suicide. It was affected by Japanese ideology which was in the right wing. They do their what emperor wants to do and believe emperor what wants them to believe.

    There is no difference between reality and movie. However, there are something that movie did not mentioned, such as Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s exact defense strategy and lots of soldiers were sick cause of less water, food and high temperature.

    In conclusion, compare to the real history, this movie is very accurately shows the Japanese situation on the battlefield which is cruel and horrible. This movie showed Battle of Iwo Jima was a disaster by cruel fighting scenes and letters that written by soldiers.

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