This documentary has two parts to it.
The first part of this film is the need for horrors that occurred under Emperor Hirohito to be made public (he was still alive and emperor when this film was made). In this case, it’s that Japaneses soldiers resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. But more than that, if they couldn’t find anyone to eat they would execute the Privates and eat them.
The second part of this film is Kenzo Okuzaki’s personal mission to see the first part through with violence if necessary. When a subject won’t talk he attacks them. He feels that violence is acceptable in order to pursue truths that might stop a war. In other words, fight fire with fire. It’s amazing how smart he can be one moment and then completely stupid the next.
That’s one of the biggest issues with this film, but the other one is that the cannibalism thing isn’t new at all. Ichikawa put it on full display in his film Fires On The Plain back in the late 1950’s. The only change is the execution of lower rank soldiers to be cannibalized. Also, it’s new to not just blame those directly involved, but to put responsibility for all these actions firmly on Emperor Hirohito’s shoulders.
It’s a bit of a mess, but there are some important truths here mixed in with some very unconventional documentary techniques that helped to create the one man tirade documentary made famous by Michael Moore. I recommend it.