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MacArthur's Children (1984)

Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (original title)
PG | | Comedy, Drama, War | 17 May 1985 (USA)
In this drama at the end of World War II, the inhabitants of a small Japanese fishing village must come to terms with their nation's defeat and the sudden occupation of General MacArthur ... See full summary »


Masahiro Shinoda


Yû Aku (novel), Tsutomu Tamura
12 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Takaya Yamauchi Takaya Yamauchi ... Ryuta
Yoshiyuki Omori Yoshiyuki Omori ... Saburo
Shiori Sakura Shiori Sakura ... Takeme "Mume" Hatano
Masako Natsume Masako Natsume ... Komako
Hideji Ôtaki Hideji Ôtaki ... Ashigara
Haruko Katô ... Haru
Ken Watanabe ... Tetsuo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Naomi Chiaki Naomi Chiaki ... Miyo
Hiromi Gô Hiromi Gô ... Masao Nakai
Jûzô Itami Jûzô Itami ... Hatano
Shima Iwashita ... Tome
Bill Jenson Bill Jenson
Ryôsuke Miki Ryôsuke Miki
Howard Muffett Howard Muffett
Shinsuke Shimada Shinsuke Shimada ... Jiro
Learn more

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In this drama at the end of World War II, the inhabitants of a small Japanese fishing village must come to terms with their nation's defeat and the sudden occupation of General MacArthur and his troops. Written by Howell Parry <parryh@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | War


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film is the big screen debut of actor 'Ken Watanabe'. See more »

User Reviews

A touching account of post-war reconciliation in an island village
11 April 2003 | by OskadoSee all my reviews

Unthinkable news come to the people of a small Japanese island: their empire lost the war, and American invaders are on the way. We enter the lives of a cross-section of townsfolk forming a socially and economically diverse caste of characters. Despite language and other cultural differences, we sense how we too might react in their position - a position of fear, as they await the landing of the Western warlords. Common adversity causes disparate groups to connive, and in some cases plot violence: farmers, lovers, school children, barbers, would-be Yakuza swindlers, war-handicapped soldiers - but from the moment the Yanks step ashore, neither side, whether American or Japanese, is able to dehumanize or villanize the other. Both want nothing more than peace, fellowship, cooperation.

This film doesn't gloss over war's brutality. We see, for instance, a flip-side to war crimes tribunals in a young boy whose father is to be executed. But in the midst of that tension and uncertainty, a release emerges in the form of baseball. Just at a time when all the islands' flowers burst into bloom, and fishing boats again set forth with full crews, and farmers plant without regard to military needs, a bond of friendship blooms between the feared invaders and their delightfully human island hosts.

This is a bittersweet film, but one so permeated with optimism and likeable characters that it can withstand many viewings.

Personally, if I compare this film to, for instance, Jose Luis Cuerda's "La Lengua de las Mariposas" (Butterfly), a technically superb work, I cannot but feel its historically and psychologically accurate but deeply pessimistic ending severely marrs what might have been an aesthetic gem. Art should "uplift" and "entertain" - and film-makers have many approaches at their disposition to do just that. Ultimately I am neither "uplifted" nor "entertained" by condemnations of human nature. MacArthur's Children employs the right approach, and indeed might even teach the better lesson.

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Release Date:

17 May 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

MacArthur's Children See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hara, Herald Ace, Nokai See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

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