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‘Pearl Harbor’ May Be Big in Japan

May 21, 2001

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TOKYO (AP) _ As promoters of the blockbuster ``Pearl Harbor″ prepared for the film’s Hawaii premiere on Monday, its Japanese distributor also expected a big hit _ despite the potentially sensitive topic.

The movie’s content is not inflammatory to the Japanese because it’s not trying to make a political or social statement, said Yoko Kishi, spokeswoman for the distributor Buenavista International Japan.

``We’re confident that the film can appeal to a wide audience, from the young to the old,″ Kishi said. ``It’s entertainment, a love story.″

Promotional brochures have been out and the trailer has appeared at Japanese movie theaters since last summer. Kishi said the result has been curiosity, but no controversy.

The only Japanese element in the two-minute trailer is a flock of Japanese Zero fighters flying low above children playing baseball in the fields on Dec. 7, 1941. Nearly 2,400 Americans died in the Japanese attack. Eighteen U.S. warships were destroyed, along with 188 planes.

The $135 million Disney movie, which opens in the United States on Friday, is scheduled to hit Japanese theaters on July 14.

Young movie fans here are excited about the graphics of the film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Michael Bay, who also collaborated on the blockbusters ``Armageddon″ and ``The Rock.″

But the film also has caught the attention of those who are examining Japan’s wartime role.

``Maybe it’s just the title that sounds sensational, but I want to find out how Japan is portrayed in the movie,″ said Hiromi Yamasaki, a member of a support group for former wartime sex slaves.

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