Argo Pictures: 'Yasukuni' to screen in Japan


TOKYO -- "Yasukuni" distributor Argo Pictures said Tuesday that it intends to screen the documentary sans cuts at 21 cinemas across Japan next month.

Japanese media had reported that Naoji Kariya, the swordmaker featured prominently in the film, wants his scenes cut after being contacted by Hiroko Arimura, a politician from Japan's upper house.

"We have received no direct request from Naoji Kariya and therefore have no plans to cut his scenes from the documentary," Argo's Aki Nagamura said in response to the reports.

Kariya, 90, is the last surviving swordsmith who made samurai swords at Yasukuni for Japanese Imperial Army officers in World War II. Footage of him forging swords is interspersed with film of people and events connected with the shrine, which is dedicated to the memory of Japanese war dead.

Nearly 2.5 million people, including 14 Class A war criminals, are enshrined at Yasukuni, which is a focus for both right-wing nationalists and anti-imperialist protests.

Representatives of Yasukuni contacted Argo last week asking that other scenes shot at the shrine also be removed, claiming that though they granted filming permission, they received no request regarding the production of the documentary.

"It's a very difficult issue, and we're currently consulting legal experts," Nagamura said.