Airs Monday, April 29 at 9:00 PM on WVIZ/PBS
At the end of World War II Japan was under American control. The trial for war crimes of Emperor Hirohito was widely anticipated. It never took place. This film sets out to explore why and to ask whether the Emperor escaped his responsibility. Hirohito’s defense in his own words is dramatised and examined. How true was his claim of March 18th 1946: “As a contsitutional monarch under a constitutional government, I was virtually a prisoner and powerless?” Based on evidence which has only emerged since his death in 1989, Timewatch tells the story of a monarch at the centre of his nation’s military, political and spiritual life, as it fought a campaign that cost more than 20 million lives. From Manchuria to Pearl Harbour, the film explores the Emperor’s influence over two decades of war fought in his name. From the landing of General MacArthur to the trial and execution of General Tojo, it outlines the amazing story of how American prosecutors and Japanese elite circles ensured the Emperor was not put on trial. Powerful archive footage and dramatisations of key meetings and monologues from the Emperor accompany testimonies from witnesses - many of whom are speaking out for the first time on this controversial topic. They include senior Japanese academics, the family of former Cabinet ministers, former soldiers of the Emperor.