Film Review: Letters from Iwo Jima

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It would be near insanity to say Letters from Iwo Jima constitutes an everyday war movie. Clint Eastwood not only created a film that sympathizes with the Japanese, but also acknowledges the fact that both the Japanese and Americans were wrong. The Japanese assumed Americans were cowardly fools and the Americans had been taught the Japanese were mindless imperial machines. These stereotypes are quickly cast aside as viewers of this movie acquaint themselves with Saigo and his friends. However, although this movie effectively accomplishes its goals, it still contains many inaccuracies. These errors eventually culminate to the point that the movie may seem sensationalized or even overly dramatized at points. More importantly, the cultural, geographical, and propagandized inaccuracies make it difficult to believe what Letters from Iwo Jima is trying to say; the Japanese fought even more bravely than the Americans despite what public opinion was.

Some of the most glaring errors that Letters from Iwo Jima has stem from either cultural misinterpretations or fallacies. Although many Japanese committed suicide during World War II and the Battle of Iwo Jima, it would have been ludicrous for a commanding officer to behead a subordinate in feudal Japanese fashion. As Kuribayashi said, “I don’t want you to kill my soldiers needlessly” (Letters from Iwo Jima). Killing soldiers would only make it easier for the Americans to take Iwo Jima and move closer to taking the Japanese mainland. Perhaps even more ridiculous is the fact that Saigo and Hanako were wearing kimonos. According to MIT, Kimonos ceased to be commonplace before the turn of the century (“Kimono Hypertext: History”). Assuming that a common baker and his wife would hav...

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Alexander, Joseph H. “Suribachi.” Marines in WWII Commemorative Series. National Park Service, n.d. Web. 10 March 2010. .

“Battle for Iwo Jima, The.” Department of Defense, n.d. Web. 9 March 2010.

Kennedy, David M., et al. The American Pageant: A History of the Republic. 12th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. Print.

“Kimono Hypertext: History.” JP NET Kimono Hypertext. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999. Web. 9 March 2010.


Letters from Iwo Jima. Dir. Clint Eastwood. Perf. Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Ryo Kase, and Tsuyoshi Ihara. Amblin Entertainment, 2006. Film.
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