Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mitsubishi Zero's

"The WindMiyazaki Rises" (Kaze Tachinu) is perhaps the first Miyazaki movie I've seen which is actually based on real-life. It is a biopic - with lots of extra masala - on Jiro Horikoshi, the man behind the famous Mitsubishi Zero fighter planes.

By all accounts, the Zero was a formidable fighter plane in WW-2. It was one of the key elements of the Japanese military-industrial complex that the Allies struggled to control. The fact that the entire city of Nagoya - among other cities -  had to be burnt to cinders with incendiary bombs, indicates the level to which the allies went to destroy all the aircraft factories.

The movie portrays a mild-mannered kid dreaming about planes, his education at Tokyo University, of being sent to  Dessau and of the reluctance amongst the Germans to share technical knowhow with the Japanese. It shows the patriotic company-man toiling through repeated mistakes to create an aircraft that went on to become the A6M Zero - the best carrier-based fighter in the world.

A6M Zero (source - Wikipedia Commons)

The biopic also portrays a alternate view of the relationship between Japan and Germany -- partners who were taking on the established world order, and yet, competitors who were not willing to share technology on a platter. It also tries to show Horikoshi as an anti-war skeptic who played along knowing fully well that it would be disasterous for Japan.

Hindsight is always 20:20. No wonder this aircraft is the first showpiece that wlecomes visitors to the war-memorial museum attached to the Yasukuni Jinja shrine at Tokyo!


* Review in the Guardian (2014) -- http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/may/11/the-wind-rises-breathtaking-japanese-love-war-story

* Jiro Horikoshi -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiro_Horikoshi

* Wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_A6M_Zero

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