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Otoko Tachi No Yamato

Posted under Japanese Movies by admin on Saturday 28 February 2009 at 12:42

Yamato (男たちの大和 Otoko-tachi no Yamato, literally “Men of Yamato”) is a 2005 Japanese war film. With a framing story set in the present day, by flashbacks it tells the story of the crew of the World War II Japanese battleship Yamato. It was directed by Junya Sato and is based on a book by Jun Henmi.

Plot summary

The movie begins with footage from an expedition to the Yamato in 1999, then to a woman, Makiko Uchida, visiting the Yamato Museum in Kure. She is looking for a ship captain to bring her to the site where the Yamato sank, to honor the crew on the 60th anniversary of the sinking. As no captain entertains her offer, Katsumi Kamio, a survivor of the sinking, agrees to take Makiko after he discovers she was an adopted daughter of Petty Officer Mamoru Uchida, a crewman whom he thought went down with the ship.

As Uchida, Kamio, and his apprentice, Atsushi, travel to the site, the narrative changes between the present day journey and Kamio’s memories of his service as an air defense crewman aboard the battleship.

Kamio and several other cadet seamen are subjected to the harsh training at the hands of Petty Officers Uchida, Moriwaki, and Karaki, who have served on the vessel since it entered service in 1941. After the seamen complete their training, the Yamato is sent to intercept the Americans during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, where Uchida loses his left eye. Yamato is sent back to Japan for repairs over the next few months.

The crew, who hear rumors of a mission to Okinawa (Operation Ten-Go), are given a few days shore leave. Uchida uses the opportunity to escape the hospital and rejoin the crew. However, fights break out among the crew after an IJN headquarters representative tells the admiral-in-charge of Yamato, Rear Admiral Seiichi Ito, that Ten-Go is basically a suicide mission.

The ship assumes battle stations after Task Force 58 detects it on the way to Okinawa. The crew opens fire with their anti-aircraft weapons, but the US planes hit the Yamato hard. Kamio, Uchida, and Moriwaki man one portside AA battery after strafing runs and accurate bomb hits kill most of the crew, including Karaki. Because of the heavy damage, ship captain Kosaku Aruga orders all hands to abandon ship. Uchida and Moriwaki throw Kamio overboard. The radioman attempts to call for support but water starts flooding the ship, which eventually capsizes and explodes.

The Yamato’s escorts start rescuing the survivors, but Kamio fails to save a fellow crewman, despite promising his mother that he will look after him. Moriwaki ties Kamio to be hoisted aboard the rescue vessel while he swims away to drown himself.

Meanwhile, back in the present day, the old Kamio has a heart attack, but Makiko and Atsushi revive him. He also discusses what happened to him during the final months of the war. They arrive at the sinking coordinates the following day, where they hold a small ceremony. Makiko scatters Uchida’s ashes and Kamio gives her a dagger that Uchida asked him to keep during the battle. The three head back to Japan after the ceremony.

The end credits show Makiko laying flowers at a special monument for the crew.


  • Ken’ichi Matsuyama – Katsumi Kamio at 15 years old
  • Tatsuya Nakadai – Katsumi Kamio at 75 years old
  • Shido Nakamura – Mamoru Uchida
  • Takashi Sorimachi – Shohachi Moriwaki
  • Jundai Yamada – Masao Karaki
  • Kenta Uchino – Tetsuya Nishi
  • Koyoka Suzuki – Makiko Uchida
  • Sosuke Ikematsu – Atsushi
  • Hiroyuki Hirayama – Tamaki


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