Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This black-and-white historical documentary traces Japan's military activities in Asia between 1920 and 1945 using newsreels, rare archival footage, and engaging and informative narration. As though to emphasize the ultimate inhumanity of war, no matter who the protagonists may be, the documentary begins and ends with scenes of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima. Clearly understandable because of its chronological sequence and narration, the images are moving, poignant, and emotional. The first half of the 100-minute running time looks at Japan's invasion of China and the second half focuses on World War II. For anyone interested in the 20th-century history of Japan, Rising Sun would also be an excellent introduction.