According to Wikipedia, of 13 new US-made WW2-themed war movies for 2014, only one is about fighting Japan. In fact, Wikipedia tallies 41 of these US-made or co-produced WW2-themed productions since the year 2000 that deal with Germany but only 12 with Japan.

No film industry association I contacted (guilds, AFI, the Oscars' academy), nor two LA Times entertainment editors, nor the German Film Institute, has replied to my query. Not even the principal producer of last year's HBO series "The Pacific".

My dad and uncles all fought Japan and would wonder about the disparity. Now I'm wondering.

  • 1
    this is not history.
    – user5001
    Oct 31, 2014 at 16:31
  • 3
    But your own questions states that there are movies about Japan, so they are not really "ignoring" her. Also, how many of those movies are about Italy or Bulgaria or Romania or Finland?
    – Semaphore
    Oct 31, 2014 at 16:37
  • 3
    In general questions of the form "Why don't..." (Why do...ignore...) are difficult for the SE format. That difficulty is compounded when the focus of the question is subjective. If you're interested in pursuing this question, I would suggest (a) proving that there is a disparity between movies about Japan and about other fronts (b) demonstrating your preliminary research and (c) revising the question to a positive, rather than a negative.
    – Mark C. Wallace
    Oct 31, 2014 at 16:49
  • 2
    And the presumption as stated by @Semaphore is completely wrong. On the right SE i could provide a list of Hollywood films on Japan (wartime) and most if not all are actually excellent films as well.
    – Rajib
    Oct 31, 2014 at 16:56
  • 5
    There are a few reasons why a WWII vs Japan movie is 'harder'. It was a Navy show, so major parts would require expensive settings. Land battles were tough tactical slogs in horrible terrain without much ebb and flow...just paying the cost to root out the defenders. Tanks and Jeeps sweeping down highways are much more exciting on film. And after the first year, the results of most actions were foregone conclusions. Your hero isn't the one that turned the tide.
    – Oldcat
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:03

1 Answer 1

  1. Resources: Many accessible US locations are good dupes for European battlefields. It's more difficult to recreate tropical island fights or big naval battles believably and cheaply.

  2. Bias: There are fewer established Japanese actors who studios would trust as a big draw to a historical movie.

  3. Thematic content: Americans like to see themselves beating up the Nazis. It's the most black and white conflict we've ever been in, so the audience can watch the heroes struggle and triumph and feel good about themselves. The Pacific theater had fewer clear-cut victories and triumphant moments. It was even more of a miserable, violent, endless slog than the European theater. The conflict isn't resolved through the valiant courage of everyday Americans (like all the D-day movies), but through America's greatest war crime and the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians through technology.

An interesting comparison could be how many WWII movies show the battles against Germany near the end of the war versus the battles in Italy. Italy was more like Japan, a protracted conflict with lots of tactically unimportant loss of life and no clear resolution brought about by the infantry.

  • Very well answered.
    – Drew C
    Apr 21, 2016 at 18:48
  • Re 3: I think this is mostly it, personally. It was clear cut, good vs evil, and good won. Thus we focused on it more, emphasized it when teaching/telling stories about the war, which kicked off a giant feedback loop that perpetuated our focusing on the European theatre over the Pacific. Eventually we've gotten to a point where everyone knows about Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust, but most know very little about the atrocities committed by the Japanese Apr 21, 2016 at 22:59
  • I also think that it is because of the characters. Most of these movies follow specific people through the war, and people weren't fighting in Germany AND Japan. Following a group that fought in Germany makes more sense because they were the most prominent threat.
    – gannolloy
    Apr 22, 2016 at 15:57
  • "America's greatest war crime"? The one that saved millions of innocent lives? I wonder how the OP's Dad's and Uncles would feel knowing that they should have sacrificed their lives to save the lives of the people who started the war.
    – moviegique
    Jul 20, 2016 at 18:55

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