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 (a.k.a. Harp of Burma) is a 1956 black-and-white Japanese film directed by Kon Ichikawa. It was based on a children's novel written by Michio Takeyama. The film was nominated for the 1957 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 1985, Ichikawa remade the film in color and with different actors.


Private Mizushima, a Japanese soldier, becomes the harp (or) saung player of Captain Inōye's group, composed of soldiers who fight and sing to raise morale in World War II Burmese campaign. When they are offered shelter in a village, they eventually realize they are being watched by British soldiers. They successfully retrieve their ammunition, then see the advancing force. Firing is declined, however. They are later told that the Japanese surrender has occurred and they surrender.

At a camp the soldiers are asked for a volunteer to talk down a group of soldiers who are still fighting on a mountain. Mizushima volunteers and is told he has 30 minutes to tell them to surrender. At the mountain he is almost shot down before they realize he is Japanese. He climbs up safely and asks to speak to whoever is in command. Meeting their commander in a cave bunker he informs him that the war has ended and they should surrender. The commander says he shall talk to the other soldiers, and they come out minutes later stating that unanimously they decided to fight to the end. Mizushima begs for them to surrender but they do nothing. He decides to ask for more time from the Britishmarker, and when he creates a surrender flag, the others take it the wrong way and believe he's surrendering for them. They beat him unconscious and leave him on the floor. Soon the artillery begins again and because he's in the cave, he becomes the only survivor. He wanders around looking for the camp his group was in. He becomes sick looking at all the corpses on the ground and decides to help bury them and pray for them by stealing a monks robe.

Meanwhile, Captain Inōye and his men are wondering what happened, and cling to a belief that he is still out there. Eventually they buy a parrot (saying 'Mizushima lets go back to Japanmarker together over and over again) and tell a villager to bring it to a monk they suspect Mizushima is hiding as. But they get a long letter reply that he won't come back to Japanmarker with them, because he must continue burying the dead while studying as a monk, and promoting the peaceful nature of mankind. In years however, he allows for the prospect of returning to Japan.


Awards and nominations

See also


  1. [1] The Burmese Harp, IMDB Profile

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