Kiichi Nakajima is a self-made man, still active at the age of 60. Although his education did not amount to much, he made a success with his factory and has acquired quite a fortune.
However, he is suddenly struck with an overwhelming fear of radioactivity from the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs. He decides to sell all his property and migrate to Brazil. His family is opposed to his idea and they take legal measures to declare him mentally incompetent.
It is Kiichi’s firm conviction that “to die cannot be helped, but I don’t want to be killed.” This conviction was Kiichi’s ruin. He was pronounced by the court “mentally competent to handle his business.” Thus barred from any activity in connection with his work and factory, his fear and mental agony daily increases. He finally arrives at the conclusion that the reason his family disapproves of going to Brazil is because of his property―the factory. So he promptly sets fire to the fruit of his life-long labors.
Kiichi is happy now in the belief that, with the obstacle now removed, he can go away to Brazil to avoid the bomb. But this temporary happiness is rudely smashed when he receives harsh recriminations from his factory hands. He then realizes there is no refuge from the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs on the face of this earth.
After he is taken to an asylum he regains composure. There is a calm expression on his face. He believes he has escaped from the earth to a safe place. Watching the sun sinking in the west he cries exultantly, “It’s burning! It’s burning! The earth is at last burning away!”
- Akira Kurosawa
- Shinobu Hashimoto
- Japan Release year
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