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I was the Japanese Military Technical Advisor on this film directed by John Woo starring Nicholas Cage and Christian Slater. The movie is about the Marine's Navajo code talkers' important contribution to the invasion of Saipan in June 1944.
I have been to Saipan 3 times and was always fascinated with this particular little-known battle.
On the film I was involved wtih 4 months of pre-production in which authentic Japanese uniforms, equipment and gear were assembled and reproduced. Filming was done on the north shore of Oahu and at Santa Clarita, California. We conducted a 1 week Japanese bootcamp for the "Japanese soldiers" (Hawaiin born Japanese-Americans). I also assisted with post-production audio and Japanese voice-over dialogue.
One of the most interesting incidents that arose from the film was my meeting of Mr. Shiro Shimoda, one of the 5 surviving members of the 5th Tank 's banzai charge that occured on July 7th, 1944. Of the 800 men from the 5th that drove their Type 97 and Type 95 tanks into the Marine and Army lines at Tanapag that night, only 5 men managed to survive the battle. When we fabricated the Type 95 tanks for the movie, I did used the correct colors and markings for the 5th Company. When the movie played in Japan, Mr,. Shiro Shimoda, recognized his tank commander's tank markings! This led to a meeting in Osaka Japan where he gave me a boxed military sake cup he received from Emperor Hirohito.
The movie "Windtalkers" is one of the most historically accurate films to date regarding WWII Japan and USMC uniforms, equipment and weapons.
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