On Dec. 7, 1941, Tomikazu “Tomi” Nakaji (Kyler Ki Sakamoto) and his best friend Billy Davis (Kalama Epstein) are playing baseball in a field near their homes in Hawaii when Japan launches a surprise attack on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor. As Tomi looks up at the sky and recognizes the Blood-Red Sun emblem on the fighter planes, he knows that his life has changed forever. Torn between his love of all things American and the traditional ways of his parents and Grampa (Dann Seki), Tomi feels frightened and ashamed of his native land. Tomi’s friendship with Billy is soon tested as prejudice divides their island community. He must find the courage to stand up to the neighborhood bully, Keet Wilson (Bryce Moore), while protecting his family’s honor and its katana, a centuries-old samurai sword. He is then forced to become the man of the family to care for his Mama (Autumn Ogawa) and sister, Kimi (Mina Kohara), after his Papa (Chris Tashima) is arrested and taken away to an internment camp. Based on actual events, “Under the Blood-Red Sun” is an unforgettable story of friendship, courage and survival.
“Under the Blood-Red Sun” is a well-acted and powerful film. It is set in 1941 in Hawaii and is about a young man named Tomikazu “Tomi” Nakaji (well played by Kyler Sakamoto) and his family, as well as his good friend Billy Davis (Kalama Epstein). The movie is based on a book by Graham Salisbury. The story leads up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, a day that, as President Roosevelt says on the radio, “will live in infamy.”
Tomi and Billy and the other boys live a normal life. They go to school and play baseball. Tomi must deal with the local bully, Keet Wilson. Life is pretty routine until the news spreads about the imminent attack of the Japanese. Tomi’s grandfather (Dann Seki) is loyal to his own country and attempts to unfurl the Japanese flag as Tomi constantly makes him put it away for fear of retribution from the locals. But when the Japanese actually do attack, the entire family will have to suffer the consequences from just being Japanese. Tomi’s father (Chris Tashima) is wrongfully taken prisoner, and Tomi’s mother (Autumn Ogawa) must be both father and mother while her husband is held prisoner at a camp. Will Tomi’s father be released, and can life ever return to normal again?
We are happy to award this gripping film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages 12-plus.