The Akizuki area on screen

The village’s rich historical background means that Akizuki and the surrounding areas have been featured in a number of important films and television shows. Here are four examples.

1. Hidden Fortress (1958) – Hidden Fortress tells the story of two peasants who agree to escort a couple to safety from enemy lines in return for gold without knowing that he is a general and the woman is a princess. The film was made by famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

2. Star Wars (1977) – Star Wars (later renamed Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope) is the first installment of the original Star Wars trilogy. The film’s story was inspired by Hidden Fortress.

3. The Last Revenge (2011) – The Last Revenge tells the tale of Rokuro Usui, whose parents were murdered on the eve of the Meiji restoration (1986). Rokuro witnessed their murders and swore revenge, but this – once the virtue of a samurai – became illegal with the new era. Despite this Rokuro hunted down his killers and in 1870 committed “the last revenge,” which sparked a moral debate in Japan.

4. The Wind Rises (2013) – Studio Ghibli’s animated historical film covers the life of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter aircraft and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. The Zero was infamously used for kamikaze attacks during WWII. Though it’s not named in the film, the nearby Tachikawa Airfield became one of Japan’s key dispatch sites for kamikaze pilots. Today the Peace Memorial Museum stands on a former military base. The museum is also home to the only surviving A6M3 Zero (Type 32) fighter plane in the world.


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