Hakkodasan (1977) - full transcript

Two infantry regiments of the Imperial Japanese Army tackled Mount Hakkoda in the winter of 1902 to prepare for war with Russia.



Salute the regiment commander!

Shoulder arms!



To conclude,

the war between Japan and Russia
is inevitable.

It's only a matter of time now.

The army has already started
preparations for the war.

In terms of getting armed,
as well as in terms of training.

But there's one thing the army is lacking.

And that is,

winter equipment and winter training.

It is anticipated that the battlefield,

will be located between
the Liaodong Peninsula and Manchuria.

During the Russo-Japanese War,

four thousand soldiers
suffered from frostbite.

It significantly hindered our war efforts.

And our current enemy,

the Russian army,
has been training in Siberia,

and is well-prepared for the war
in sub-zero temperatures.

Therefore we mustn't neglect

learning to adapt to the cold if we want
our soldiers to be properly trained!


there's one more issue with regards to the 8th
brigade and the defense of the northern regions.

When the war breaks out,
we expect the Russian fleet

to attempt to block
the Tsugaru Strait and Mutsu Bay.

What are we going to do if the railway and
this road get damaged as a result of shelling?

Aomori-Hirosaki and Aomori-Hachinohe
routes will be disrupted.

That is to say,

there won't be any roads leading to
the Sea of Japan and the Pacific.

The only route left will be across
the Hakkoda Mountains.

And while during the summer it poses
no considerable problem,

we doubt whether we will be able to
establish communication lines in winter.

Whether it's possible

to move the troops across the deep snow
and frost as well as to transport supplies

can only be determined empirically.

This is not an order,

but if the brigade commander agrees

on top of the aforementioned
training in frosty conditions

in order to ensure the defense
of that route if necessary,

I would suggest deploying

a company or a regiment to train
in the Hakkoda Mountains.

This would help them adapt
to snow and frost

and give them an idea of what it's like out there.

Would you like to add anything?

The Hakkoda Mountains
are a suitable site

to deploy the 5th Aomori regiment and
the 15th Hirosaki regiment for joint training.

Captain Tokushima!

Captain Kanda!

The two of you

have experience in conducting
military operations in snowy conditions.

No. My knowledge and experience
in this area are insufficient.

I have taken part in campaigns
on snowy plains,

but have not crossed mountain ranges.

Still, what do you think

about attempting to cross the Hakkoda Mountains?

What do you say, Captain Tokushima?

It can be done, given thorough preparation.

I totally agree.

I'm glad you accept.

But you have to think through
every way and every possibility.

The 31th Hirosaki regiment
will develop their route,

and the 5th Aomori regiment - theirs.

This campaign has to be a success.

Second company, 31st regiment
commander Tokushima!

Fifth company, 5th regiment
commander Kanda!

The crossing must commence
in January or February next year.

If we start now, we'll make it in time.

I have a suggestion.

Let's go to the Hakkoda Mountains now
for a warm-up.

It's the best way to explore the
terrain before the crossing.

I agree.

Still, it's risky.

The decision has been made.

We're the ones in a particularly
difficult situation.

We got the worst deal.

The 31st regiment has experience
crossing Mount Iwaki,

but the 5th regiment will be facing
such conditions for the first time.

No, my regiment has also undertaken
a crossing in harsh conditions.

The sky has cleared up, but

the wind has got only colder.

That's right.

It's almost November.



The young are working in
the mountains now.

But this man is the village elder.
He might be useful to us.

The village elder? Great.

I'm Captain Kanda,
fifth company, 5th regiment commander.

Is there anyone in the village
who has been to Tashiro

in late January or early February and
went to Sambongi across Masuzawa?

There are no idiots like that here.


There's a lot of snow and strong wind.
Walking is really hard.

Four years ago, young people from our village

went to the hot springs in Tashiro.

They got caught in a blizzard on the way
and all of them died.

Thirteen years ago, the same thing
happened to eleven people from Kohata.

No one who goes to the Hakkoda Mountains
in January or February comes back alive.

It's a snowy hell.

It's time for me to go.

Be careful.

Take care of yourself, Commander.

Military boots aren't good enough.

You need snowshoes made of straw.

A guide? That depends.

There are things that can be done
and things that can't be done.

Help yourself.

The fifth company

is as determined as you are
and their training is going well.

It's encouraging.

I'm afraid I'm the only one
who is determined.

But the company and the regiment
aren't very enthusiastic.

We have only decided
on the approximate route.

By the way...

Never mind.

If the 31st regiment is to cross
the Hakkoda Mountains,

we have to form a platoon.

There's no need for too many people.

We'll try to take every possible precaution
before this campaign.

We'll study the location of the houses
we might come across on the way.

Captain Tokushima, what do you mean by
"if you are to cross the Hakkoda Mountains"?

There was no order from the HQ
or the brigade commander.

They said it was up to
the 31st and the 5th regiments.

If they gave an order,

they would have to provide the training,

and the funding.

As it is, they're putting
all the responsibility on us.

Excuse me.

The food is ready, dear.

Why don't you join us, madam?

No, thank you.
I already drank sake.

We cooked only for you.


Yasaburo's parents criticize me
every single day{\i}

They exploit me like cattle
and make me work so hard{\i}

that my fingers start bleeding...{\i}

I guess, between humans,

nothing ever changes.

We're also being exploited like cattle.

Until we bleed.

We're being forced across Hakkoda,
this hell on earth.

Exactly in the same way.

You grew up in Tsugaru, didn't you,
Captain Tokushima?

Yes, I was born in Kuroishi
in the Nyui region.

My wife is also from Kuroishi
from Kitatanaka.

You sing 'Yasaburo Bushi' really well.

Not at all.

Me, I'm from Akita.

It's far from Aomori, so

I can't sing 'Yasaburo Bushi' well.

That's not true.

One can learn to sing any song.

I can't agree with that.

Why not?

Because the landscape affects men.

Many people don't acknowledge that.

During campaigns in snowy conditions,

I've often heard commanders
sing this song.

What do people think about
in their hardest times?

At that time everyone was thinking
about hot springs and sake.

Everyone wanted a hot drink above all.

It's not that I didn't share that desire,

but I was thinking about
something else.

The colder it got, the more I thought

about spring flowers or
the greenery that covers mountains.

About catching fish and swimming
in a stream as a child.

About the Sea of Japan that
I saw on a school trip.

Those were the things
that came to my mind.


What was I thinking about during
the campaign on Mount Iwaki?


The direction of the wind,
the location of hot springs,

snowshoes for the horses.
That's what I was thinking about.

Captain Kanda!

Looks like our thoughts were
completely different.

We have to carry out training.

Go to the nearest mountain
before the campaign.

I think we can do that while
waiting for the snow.

For example, on Kotoge or Otoge ridges.

We have to train our hardest.

We won't see each other
for some time.

When will we meet again?

When we go through the snow
of the Hakkoda Mountains.

The plan...

I'll show the plan
to the regiment commander.

Ten days and eleven nights
for a 240-km crossing?

What does this mean?

We will set off from Hirosaki,
go through Oguni, Kiriaki,

cross Mount Shirochi,

then, Odeyama ridge, Ginza
and Lake Towada.

After that, Utarube.

From there, we will cross the Inuboe ridge.

Nakazato, Sambongi, Masuzawa.

And from there, we will finally
go over the Hakkoda Mountains.

Then, Tashiro, Tamogino,
Aomori, Hirosaki.

The responsibility for
the choice of this route

lies on the regiment command.

The Fifth regiment will go over
the Hakkoda Mountains

and move towards
Hachinohe and Sambongi.

Tamogino, Tashiro, Masuzawa is the shortest way.

So, if we set off from Hirosaki,

and plan to make a rendez-vous
on the Hakkoda Mountains,

there's no other way
except to make a detour.

If you think this plan is reckless,

then you should reconsider
your orders for the Fifth regiment.

Then, instead of the Hakkoda Mountains,
I will conduct training on Mount Iwaki.

Or you can cancel your orders,

and put forward your own plan.

I'm the commander. My subordinates are:
one lieutenant, one second lieutenant,

seven apprentice officers, one paramedic,

ten corporals and six privates.

Twenty-seven people in total.

Why do you need a lieutenant and
a second lieutenant?

And there are only six privates.

But a lot of officers and corporals.

It's not a regiment but a unit.

Let me explain.

I have chosen officers and
corporals for the team

because the main purpose of
this campaign is exploration.

As a soldier, I have to be
prepared for the worst.

If the campaign fails,

we will be accountable
to the country and to the families.

The blame will be on us.

I now regret having agreed
to the proposal

without thinking it over.

The more I learn about the terrain,
the more cautious I get.

There are direct winds from
the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

Mountains in winter

are the most dangerous place.

I'm afraid

that even 30 or 50 years,
or even 100 years from now,

the Hakkoda Mountains will be
just as dangerous as now.

They won't forgive those who
dared to set foot there.

I have said more than once

that this winter campaign
should be called off.

But the 5th Aomori regiment
under Captain Kanda's command

has decided to take up the challenge.

So, I also

have to go to the Hakkoda Mountains.

The 31st regiment's plan?



I'll be right there.

Even for the summer, this route
isn't easy.

Is Captain Tokushima so confident?

I don't know whether
it's courage or foolhardiness.

Be that as it may, the 31st regiment
has put forward its plan.

What about ours?

Yes, Sir.

- Captain Kanda!
- Sir!

Our regiment's team

will set off from Aomori
cross Kohata,

and then proceed along
Tamogino, Kotoge, Otoge.

After Sainokawara
we will reach Yasunokimori

and head to Umatateba.

After Narusawa, we will spend the night
by Tashiro hot springs.

On the second day,

we plan to cross Masuzawa
and reach Sambongi.

But if our progress
is hindered by a blizzard,

we will camp in Masuzawa
and reach Sambongi on the third day.

Having finished our crossing
in three days,

we will return to Aomori by train.

What about the team?

Our team will consist of
a small number of people.

I'm considering getting a guide,

but first I plan to wait for the results
of the preliminary training on Kotoge ridge.

I'll make a decision after that.

Snow depth?

2 meters 30 cm.

- Rotate the sled pullers!
- Yes, Sir!

Let's go!

One, two!


It's like a guided tour to the mountains.

- Rotate the sled pullers!
- Yes, Sir!

Water in the flasks

won't freeze if they're moved
every 7 minutes.

The same is true for the human body.

That's why during the crossing,

you have to wiggle your toes,

and even your fingers
inside the gloves.

Captain, I was tasked with measuring the length
of the route. Should I measure it with steps only?

Yes, we don't have any other way,
so try to be as precise as possible.

Yes, Sir.

Private First Class Sato!

Private First Class Koyama!

That's good.

Let's hear what Private Sato
has to say.

Yuki Kodo, the head of Ginza,

has agreed to provide accommodation.

The distance from Ginza to
Utarube is 18 km.

The current snow depth is 2 meters.

The wind is very strong.

What about the guide?

I used to work in Ginza before
my military service.

I can be the guide.

No complaints of frostbite or cold.

Maybe we won't need a
paramedic after all.

Weather conditions are favorable.

I hope we'll have the same weather

during our upcoming campaign.


I see. That's great.

So, we can send,
not a platoon or a company

but a whole battalion?

Yes, but only

if the weather conditions
are just as favorable as today.

Very well.
It's decided, then.

Captain Kanda, we will form
a company for this campaign.

But not your 5th company.

Your company will still
constitute the majority,

but pick from the whole regiment

the whole 5th Aomori regiment.

And one more thing, prepare a detailed plan
for the battalion command.

Did you want to say something?

No, nothing.

I'll begin immediately.

Excuse me, I have a small request.

I'd like to get permission to go to
my aunt's house that lives in the village.

What for?

When I came back, I saw this letter.

Corporal Saito

is leaving Hirosaki on January 20
to cross the snowy mountains,

and if something goes wrong,
he may not come back.

That's why, before he goes,

I'd like to say goodbye to him
in my aunt's house in Aomori.

Are you related to Corporal Saito?

He's like an elder brother to me.
As a child, I...

Oh yes, you were adopted.

In Tsukidate.

Yes, by a big peasant family.

I understand.

Permission granted.

Thank you very much.

One more thing.

Tell Lieutenant Ito and Sergeant Fujimura

that you're going to town too.

Understood, Sir.

I'll leave with your permission.

They will go as a platoon?

But doesn't that mean that...

Commander, I want to go
as a platoon too.

Not because the 31st regiment
has decided so,

but because increasing the number
of soldiers will also entail a bigger load.

Captain Kanda!

Tokushima's plan

is highly reckless.
I don't think it will end in success.

But, if we do the math,

if he succeeds after all,

then he and his platoon
will have covered 240 km.

And if we

cover only 50 km, which is less
than a quarter of that distance,

we will seem clearly inferior.

The 31st regiment's plan was the result
of an agreement with the command.

Captain Tokushima wanted to
conduct training elsewhere.

Welcome home.

Welcome back, Commander.

Did you go see your aunt?

I did, but

my brother had gone back
to Hirosaki shortly before that,

only leaving a message for me.

I see.

That's a shame.

Commander, the bath will be ready soon.

Hasebe said it should be
prepared in advance.

How's the water, Commander?


You said that your brother
left you a message.

What was it about?

Well, Commander.

In short,

sometimes people change.

If I stay longer,
I'll be late for the train.

I have to be going.

When Zenjiro comes,
give him a message from me.

I see.

Of course I will.

As I said before, I'm going
to cross the snowy mountains.

Since I have climbed
Mount Iwaki before,

I felt I had to volunteer.

Tell Zenjiro not to go.

If he can, he shouldn't go there himself.

But I think he said that
not because the crossing is so hard,

but because he's worried about me.

Is that all he said?

When he was little,

he was taken to Miyagi, so he doesn't know
how dangerous the snow is.

And not only Zenjiro.

There are many people from Iwate
and Aomori in the 5th regiment.

They don't know how harsh
snowy conditions can be.

It's very dangerous out there.

Please, mom.

Tell Zenjiro that.

Your brother is right.

If you're afraid,
you don't have to go.

No way!

I'm ready to go anywhere
under your command.

Besides, it's not such a big deal anyway.

Today, we went to Kotoge
and it was like a picnic.

They say we're going to meet
the 31st regiment halfway.

Today, I didn't manage to meet my brother,

but maybe we'll finally
meet in the mountains!

I think we have to form
a company out of the 5th regiment.

It's the best solution.

What about the battalion command?

That doesn't form the company.

Even though the company leader
doesn't have the commander's power,

- there's a higher body...
- A battalion commander minds his battalion.

The 31st regiment is going to set off soon,
so we have to hurry.

The 5th company is going to
comprise the main force.

Even if we want to form two platoons,

or even one platoon,

we have to choose the right people.

Excuse me.

I'm sorry I've come so late.

Come in.

I was sent by the 31st regiment.

I have an urgent message.

Thank you.

"My platoon is setting off on January 20."

"We don't know your platoon's route yet."

"I can't predict where
our platoons will meet."

"I presume that when my platoon
reaches the Hakkoda Mountains,"

"your platoon will head the same way."

"During the crossing,"

"the hardest part will probably be"

"Masuzawa-Tashiro. After Tashiro,
we will reach Umatateba through Narusawa."

"From Umatateba, we will
cross Sainokawara,"

"and approach Mount Hakkoda
from south-east."

"If, in that area,"

"my platoon finds itself in danger,"

"I will count on your support."

JANUARY 20, 1902, 5 A.M.

Sing "March through the snow"!

We march through the snow, we walk on the ice
We march through the snow, we walk on the ice

You never know if there's a river or road
You never know if there's a river or road

The horses are collapsing, but we can't leave them behind
The horses are collapsing, but we can't leave them behind

Wherever you look, there's enemy land

The battalion command

isn't going to take part
in forming the platoon.

Yes, Sir.
That seems the case.

Is Captain Kanda going to be
appointed the platoon commander?

Yes, Captain Kanda is going to be
charged with leading the platoon.

The battalion command's task
is to study the crossing.

The purpose is to lay the foundation
for further training in snowy conditions.


The 31st regiment already left
Hirosaki this morning.

So, it's underway...





Temperature, below 7 degrees.

1 meter 10 cm.

Wind speed, 5 meters per second.
Temperature feels like minus 12.

88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97,

98, 99, 100.

2, 3, 4.





Tada, check the back!

Yes, Sir!

1st platoon, 5th regiment
commander, Lieutenant Ito.

2nd platoon, 6th regiment
commander, Lieutenant Nakahashi.

3rd platoon, 7th regiment
commander, Lieutenant Ono.

4th platoon, 8th regiment commander,
Junior Lieutenant Suzumori.

Commander of the elite 5th platoon,

comprised of 1st 2nd and 3rd regiments,
Lieutenant Nakamura.

Apart from me, there are
five commanders in the detachment.

Two apprentice officers,
two warrant officers and 186 soldiers.

In total, 196 people.

Escort from the battalion HQ.
Captain Kurata.

Captain Okitsu.

Paramedic Nagano.

Apprentice officer Tamura.

Apprentice officer Inoue.

Sergeant Shindo.

Sergeant Imanishi.

And others. In total, 14 people.

Together in both units

we have 210 people.

Every single one of them

must come back.

Conduct training in such a way
has to ensure success.

The money is still not here?

Only two flat rice cakes!

There are 420 straw snowshoes
in the warehouse!

We have eight sleds with
food and other supplies.

Each sled is pulled by four people.

Each detachment will allocate
eight people for rotation.

That will give us a separate
unit of 32 people.

Now, for the supplies.

Each private has to have two coats
to protect them from the cold.

There also has to be a change of boots and
gloves. To have new ones when they get wet.

Over here!

Come on!

You're here too?

There are two platoons.

It must be hard for you
in the main detachment.

It's so unexpected...

What's this newspaper?


Latest news.
I just bought it in the stall.

I should get one too...

But first I have to go
to the warehouse.

Well, go ahead.




2, 4, 6, 8, 10.

Eight thousand.

From here, we will cross Shirochi
and head to Motoyama ridge.

There's strong wind, so protect your ears.

Put on two pairs of gloves and scarves.

- We're departing!
- We're departing!

Guides to the front!


What happened?

I'm fine.

Are you sure?

Lake Towada!
I see Lake Towada!


Everything is ready.


We'll start making preparations
early in the morning. Now, get some rest.

Yes, Sir. I'll go.

If you excuse me.

Thank you for your help.


The fire lasts for three days.


Put enough for five, six days.

Of course I can do that, they're light.

But aren't you going for three days?

No, for five or six.

All platoons get ready for departure!

Main detachment.


First platoon.

JANUARY 23, 6:55 A.M.


Second platoon.


Third platoon.


Fourth platoon.


Command platoon.


Fifth platoon.






We march through the snow,
we walk on the ice

You never know if there's a river or road

The horses are collapsing,
but we can't leave them behind

Wherever you look,
there's enemy land

Cheer up!
Let's light a cigarette!

There are only two cigarettes left


Listen up!

Is the Captain here now?

The one who talked
to you recently?

Captain Kanda isn't here now.

I remember he asked me about
a guide to Tashiro.

Captain Kanda asked to appoint a guide?


He just asked if someone
could accompany them.

So, since he didn't ask
for a guide, what's the problem?

But you can't go there without a guide!

There are blizzards every day up there.

And there's a big snowy
plain before Tashiro.

The visibility is very low.

You're just saying that
because you want money.

Do you think soldiers need
to be told what to do?

We have a map

and a thing called compass.

We don't need a guide!

Captain Kanda!

He wanted more money,

so he said we can't go
to Tashiro without a guide.

What an idiot!

Alright, let's go.

Let's depart!

The most stupid are those

who challenge the mountain gods,
never having lived here!


What about our orders?

There was no order concerning a guide.

There are many hardships ahead.

But the whole purpose of this campaign
is to learn to overcome them.

All detachments!
Get ready.

Let's go!

Move it!

Rotate the sled pullers!

Rotate the sled pullers!

Nakahashi's detachment,
you will escort them!

- Kuramochi and Funayama!
- Yes, Sir.

- Take the rifles from Corporal Kawase.
- Yes, Sir.

Corporal Kawase!

- Take the backpack from Corporal Matsuo.
- Yes, Sir!

My bad.

Let's go!

Forward march!

How are we supposed to eat this?

If you don't wrap it properly, it freezes.

Here, eat.

Thank you!

Should I not only wrap it in oiled paper
and a towel but also tie it to my body?

You were told last night that
it would freeze if you don't do that.

A flat cake is nothing.

How about we skip the snack
and drink some sake instead?

Guys! Let's have a drink
in the hot springs today!

Corporal Watanabe.

Which way is Tashiro?

It's impossible to see anything
because of this blizzard.

The weather is very changeable.

I was at the meteorological
station yesterday.

I asked about the weather for
the next few days.

The low pressure area moved
to the northern shore of the Pacific Ocean.

To the north?

If the northwester gets stronger
in the afternoon,

the weather conditions will deteriorate.

Since I'm part of the escort unit,

I don't have the authority to give orders.

I'm relying on your decision.

Temperature, below 17 degrees.
Wind, north-west about 15 meters per second.

The temperature has dropped by 6 degrees
and the wind has got stronger.

Those are signs of an
approaching snowstorm.

How big of a snowstorm?

Paramedic Nagano says

that even though the wind has got stronger
and the temperature has dropped,

it's not a plain but a mountain,
so this kind of wind is normal.

And since the soldiers' clothes
are made of cotton,

they must put on woolen coats like ours,

and take a second one with them.

If the weather doesn't change,

what were all those preparations for?

It doesn't make any sense.

We can still proceed.

Even though we have faced an obstacle,
our duty is to overcome it!


We march through the snow -
we walk on the ice

You never know if there's a river or road

In late January, early February...

Somewhere in the Hakkoda Mountains...

Let's go!

We stick to the original plan.
Get ready to set off for Tashiro!

Forward march!

All detachments line up!

Is the battalion commander
giving orders now?

He gave orders in Tamoino too.

What do we care who gives orders?

We just have to make it to Tashiro

and get into one of those hot springs!

The situation is getting
worse and worse.

And the commander seems
full of confidence.

But it's strange that the battalion
commander is giving orders now.

I think so too.

Maybe he was given the authority?

Maybe the company commander decided

that, in order for this campaign to succeed,
the battalion commander has to be given

the authority to give orders.

The main unit, 196 people.
The command unit, 14 people.

In total, 210.
Get ready for departure!

All units!

Forward march!

First platoon, go!

Second platoon, go!

Third platoon, go!

Corporal Eto!

- Reconnaissance!
- Yes, Sir!

- Veer right.
- Yes, Sir!


We're going to cross Sainokawara quickly.

Then we will pass Nakanomori and
Yasunokimori, then head to Umatateba.



Move it!
Do your best!


Abandon the sled?

Divide the supplies among the units.

We'll carry them on our backs.

It's hard for them to
pull the sled now.

But when the blizzard subsides,
it will get easier.

No, the sled pullers are
falling behind.

Here's what we're going to do.


Is there anyone with frostbite?

Wiggle your fingers and toes.

Put your rifles and backpacks down
and help with the sleds.

Yes, Sir!

What is Kanda going to do?

There's 7 km left to Kotoge.

I went there in the summer
a couple of times.

I know the way.

From Umatateba, there are
2 km left to Tashiro.

2 km, huh?

So close.

A 15-man unit headed by Sergeant Fujimura
will go to Tashiro before everyone else.

As soon as you get there,
blow the horn.

Yes, Sir!
If the weather is too bad

for this to work I'll send someone.



Corporal Murayama, is this
where we were last June?

Yes, it was beautiful here.

Like in a dream.

But now there's nothing but snow here.

But we can think about how we will drink sake
in a hot spring. Two bottles per person.

Corporal Watanabe, let's make it
three bottles this time.

- Three?
- Yes.

I'd prefer to be among those
red azaleas instead.

Pull your hoods on!
The storm is starting!

100... 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,

13, 14, 15, 16, 17...


Get the sleds to the back!

Still no news from the unit?

Not yet.

We have to explore the area.

I suggest sending ahead
a reconnaissance unit.

Maybe we'll meet someone from
Fujimura's detachment on the way.

Commander, the soldiers have been walking
since early in the morning. They're tired.

- We must reach Tashiro as soon as possible.
- But...

We might get lost at night.

Besides, Narusawa has a
complicated terrain,

and, if we find ourselves in a ravine,
it will be hard to get out of it.


I will head the reconnaissance unit.

It's the battalion commander!

Captain Kanda!

We have to send
a reconnaissance unit to Tashiro!

You go. And I'll take on command
over the rest of the soldiers.

We will be right behind you.

I shouldn't have left
him in command.

But that doesn't matter now.

The most important thing is that
I'll show them the way to Tashiro.

That will make it easier for them.

- Commander!
- Commander!

We're stuck.

I'll tell the main unit that we
must abandon the sled.

I'll go catch up with them.


We must abandon the sled.

Fujimura, is that you?


Commander, I'm sorry!

I got lost because of the darkness.

And the wind made us stray off course.

I have no idea which way Tashiro is!

Corporal Saito.

If we had set off today
it wouldn't have been so hard.

Corporal Saito.

Isn't the 5th detachment
setting off today?

I don't know.

But, even if they do, we won't be able
to meet in the Hakkoda Mountains.


Is this the replacement of
hot springs and drinks?

Stop bitching!

The unit is in a difficult situation.

Captain Kanda and his unit
found a place to set camp.

He showed everyone the way.

Captain Kanda should get his authority back.

Otherwise, there will be questions

about the command unit orders.

But, it can't be done now.
It's too late.

Lieutenant Ono, if we carry on like this,

the campaign will be a success.

It should be headed by someone
from the command,

or Captain Kanda who planned it.

2 km.

There are only 2 km left to Tashiro.

And the only thing that is in the way

is snow.

JANUARY 24, 12:17 A.M.

Captain Kanda!

Call Captain Kanda!

I'm abandoning the crossing
and turning back the detachment.

We don't have a choice since we haven't
been able to find a way to Tashiro.

Commander, let's wait till sunrise.

What are we going to do
if there's a blizzard like today?

Commander, turning back now
makes no sense.

If you have made up your mind about turning back,
we should at least wait till next morning.


If the weather conditions don't change,

in the morning, the soldiers won't be able
to walk because of the frostbites.

We're turning back!

We're turning back immediately!

By the time

we reach Umatateba, it will be dawn.

If the weather improves in the morning,


Then, we head to Tashiro again!

First unit, no issues.
Second unit, no issues.

If we cross Narusawa here,
we'll end up in a ravine.

We're going to make a detour
and climb this slope.

Then, we head towards Umatateba.

Fifth unit, no issues.

Main unit, 196 people,
command unit, 14.

His kimono got wet
because of the sweat,

so the fabric got soaked.

When he went outside,

it immediately turned into ice.

He froze to death.

Get up!

- Halt!
- Halt!

Isn't this the way to Tashiro?

It is!

This beech tree is on the right side
of the road to Tashiro.

- Go have a look.
- Yes, Sir!


Two branches have been cut off.

It was definitely done by people.


Change of plan!
We're heading to Tashiro!

You're going to be the guide.

Captain Kanda!

We know how to get to Tashiro.
Sergeant Shindo knows the way.

But Commander,

where is the actual road to Tashiro?

This beech tree should be
on the right side of the road.

- But according to the map...
- Captain Kanda!

Don't you see?

Someone from Tashiro
has cut off the branches.

Sergeant Shindo will guide us.

We're heading to Tashiro!

It's 20 km to the base.

And only 2 km to Tashiro.

Since we have discovered
the way to Tashiro,

we have to go there.

Sergeant Shindo!

Guide the unit to Tashiro!

Yes, Sir!

Today, we're going to reach Nakamoto.

There will be some complicated terrain
on the way, the Inuboe ridge.

Have you ever crossed
a snowy ridge in January?

A couple of times.


But Captain...

In this kind of weather...

With this snow...

It's impossible to walk.
You won't make it.

If you go,

you might get stuck.

It's better to turn back.

This is the wife of my son
who works in a mine.

They have a new-born baby.


I'm sorry, but I can't be
your guide any longer.


Sergeant Shindo!

Sergeant Shindo!

I believe our unit is somewhere
around here.

In order to get out of here,

we must go west along the tributary
of the Komagome River.

We must change course.

We don't have a choice but
to go to Umatateba again.

And, when we reach Umatateba,
we turn back?

I agree. Not knowing if we can
find the way to Tashiro,

continuing along this way
may cost us many lives.

Our goal now is not
to reach the destination,

but to come back alive.

As Captain Kanda said,

we will go west along the tributary
of the Komagome River.

And, then, head to Umatateba.

Captain Kanda and I will walk in front.

I'd like to ask you to walk in front too.

30, 31, 32, 33,

34, 35, 36, 37,
38, 39, 40, 41.

We have no choice.
We have to climb.

Everyone, listen up!
We're going to climb this slope!


55, 56, 57, 58, 59.

54, 55, 56, 57,

58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63,

64, 65, 66, 67, 68.

- Are you alright?
- Yes.



Hold on.

Let's go.

My piss! My piss!



73, 74, 75, 76.

Maybe we should take a break?

Let's eat.


There's no wind there.

Form two lines.

Two lines!

Commander, let's send
the guide to the back.



Unit! Halt!

Horn player to the front!

- Private Kaga to the front!
- Yes, Sir!

Keep walking.

Forward march!

The house of our guide's parents

is in Herai, so she can't
walk with us anymore.


I wish you all luck.


Let us thank the guide.



What are they doing?


The night is cold.

Let the soldiers sleep in the village.

Thank you for your help, but for training
purposes the soldiers will sleep here.

Hasebe! Wake up!

My brother from the 31st regiment

got promoted to sergeant.

What are you talking about?

He saved the commander
of the 5th regiment,

and he got promoted for that.


What are you talking about?
Wake up!

And, when I asked him what
happened to me,

he said, "You froze.
There was nothing I could do".

You were already dead.

Stop dreaming that someone
will come and save you!

Whether you live or die,

it depends only on you!

Wake up!



Don't fall asleep.

Wake up!

Don't fall asleep!

- Commander!
- Wake up!


At this rate, we're going to lose
more and more soldiers.

It's better to leave the injured
and go forward.

Give orders to set off immediately!

No. We'll wait for sunrise.

Leaving the shelter last night
was a mistake.

I'm not going to make
the same mistake twice.

We should have waited for
the sunrise yesterday!

But the situation has changed!

Let's move!

Please, give orders to set off!

Calm down, Captain Kanda.

You won't be able to
find the way in the dark.

Let's move at dawn.

Besides, there might not as
snowy and windy tomorrow.

Captain Kurata is right.

I can't think straight because
of the cold and tiredness.


That's it. Captain Tokushima
from the 31st regiment,

will definitely come tomorrow
or the day after.

When Captain Tokushima sees this unit...

No, if we meet Captain Tokushima...

Captain Tokushima will save us.

JANUARY 26, 6:00 A.M.

From now on,

I'll walk as I have decided!

Corporal Murayama!

Corporal Murayama!

Corporal Murayama!

The heavens...

The heavens have abandoned us.

Let's turn back to the base!

Let's die where others have fallen!
Won't that be fair?!

Hasebe! Hasebe!

The road is visible!

I can see the road from up here!

I know where the base is!

Let's go back to the base!

If we hurry up,
we can get back today!


It's starting to clear up!

91, 92, 93, 94, 95,

96, 97, 98, 99, 100.

What is it, Corporal Saito?

- Zenjiro is dead.
- What?

Who is dead?!

My little brother is dead!

Who's your brother?

He's in the 5th company, fifth regiment,
under Captain Kanda's command.

You don't have to worry about them.


I heard my brother's voice saying,

"Brother, in my grave,"

"there's a beautiful ice flower."

As soon as I heard these words,
I found

this strap from a backpack.

That's because of the tiredness.

You're hallucinating.

We have to get to Sambongi.
There you can rest.

Let's move!

Forward march!

The fire will save us.

Captain Kurata.

I was out of line yesterday.

Don't worry about that.

It can happen to anyone.

We'll send a reconnaissance
unit to Tamogino.

Any volunteers?

Captain Kurata, let's divide them
in two groups.

Yes, let's do that.

Corporal Watanabe will go towards Komagome.

Corporal Takahashi will explore
the plateau to the north-west.

If you find the way back,
report immediately.

Then, we will head that way.

A six-man unit under Corporal Watanabe's
command is heading towards Komagome!

A six-man unit under Corporal Takahashi's
command is heading north-west!


Judging from the terrain,
it should be that way.

Umatateba lies to the north,
so you must be right.

- Captain Kanda.
- Yes, Sir?

It's better to put Lieutenant Ito
to the back of the convoy.

He seems to be holding on the best.

We must make sure that
the battalion commander's actions

don't lead to the deaths of
everyone in the 5th company.

We must get the remaining
soldiers back alive.


We have found the way back!

- Are you sure?
- Yes.

We managed to get to Umatateba.

Four soldiers under
Private Tashima's command

kept going towards Tamogino.

We found the way!

The reconnaissance unit reached Umatateba

and continued to Tamogino.

Let's move!

Battalion commander!

- Number!
- One.

Two, Three, Four, Five,
Six, Seven Eight, Nine, Ten.

The backpacks of the injured
ones were left in the camp.

Besides, half of the rifles
were left behind

to reduce the load.

The battalion command is
accountable for this decision.

Captain Kanda!

Tell everything exactly the
way it happened.

No need to hide anything.

There are 64 people from the main unit
and 3 more from the command unit!

We will cross Nakanomori
and Yasunokimori!

Then, we will cross Sainokawara,

and head to Tamogino village
near Otoge and Kotoge ridges!



Is this from Major Monma
from the 31st regiment?


I already got this information
on the phone this morning.

It says that the 5th regiment
is supposed to arrive on the 25th.

And that is today.

They were supposed to
be here by now.

That's true.

But because of the weather,

they might get delayed
for one or two days.

In the army, you have to be ready when
things don't go according to schedule.




JANUARY 26, 3:50 P.M.

- Yesterday at 4 p.m.?
- Yes.

The Sambongi police got a call
from the command.

The main unit arrived at 4 p.m.

That means they made
it without problems.


But what about Kanda? He was supposed
to contact us when he reached Yamada.

In Sambongi,

they were supposed to make
a rendez-vous with the 31st regiment right?

Major Kinomiya!

Call the Sambongi police
and ask them once again.

They arrived yesterday,

and left in the morning
for Masuzawa?

Are you sure?

Understood. Thank you.

The Sambongi police mistook
the 31st regiment for the 5th.

Yes, looks like it.

It was a mistake on our part.

We didn't ask about the regiment number
or the number of soldiers in it.

Only if a unit arrived...

Gather the commanders of the 1st and the 3rd
battalion and commanders of all companies!


That's Aomori Bay.

We're north of Yasunokimori.

If we go straight on,
we'll get to Tamogino!

So, we were going the
right way all along.

We're definitely going towards Tamogino.

We know the way!
Let's go!

Let's move!

33, 34, 35, 36,
37, 38, 39,

40, 41, 42.

Captain Kanda!


Corporal Eto!


This is Sainokawara.

Straight ahead are Otoge,
Kotoge and Tamogino.

Go forward to Tamogino.

Corporal Eto!

Captain Kurata's unit went
to Komagome ravine.

We must catch up with them.

Take someone from the
village and go there.

Tell them that the main
unit needs help.

Yes, Sir.

I'm off.



We have to abort!

We don't know what happened
to the 5th regiment.

We must contact the other
regiment on Hakkoda.

- Order to abort!
- Yes, Sir!

But Major Monma...

How are we going to contact

Captain Tokushima?

27, 28, 29.


Don't stop!

Get in the back!

The avalanche is coming!



What is that?


Captain Kanda...

Where's Captain Kanda?

Where's Major Yamada's unit?

Urgent message!

Is it true that Corporal Eto
was found near Otoge?


He was barely alive.

We gave him first aid.

Corporal Eto said

that Major Yamada's unit

and Captain Kanda's unit

are all dead!


We're looking for them

everywhere now.

Not only the 5th regiment is involved.

The 31st regiment was also
ordered to take part.

We need more manpower!

The 8th artillery regiment and
the 8th field engineer battalion

have also received orders.

The division commander
has also sent the 4th brigade

and the 8th brigade.
He's very concerned.

Have you ordered the 31st
regiment to abort?


We haven't been able to contact them.

Captain Tokushima and his 31st regiment

are now in the Hakkoda Mountains.

Captain Kanda!

Where is Captain Kanda now?

Junior lieutenant Mikami.

Have you found any survivors?

No, Sir.

It's very unlikely that we will.





It seems that human beings

have no influence on their own fate.

I have only stupid thoughts
in my mind right now.

I'm also thinking about nonsensical things.

Captain Kurata.


What do you think happened

to the 31st regiment?




Zenjiro! Zenjiro!


Forgive me!

I should have...

I should have come sooner!

Forgive me!


Forgive me!


I want

to carry my brother on my back.


I understand how you feel.

But, Corporal Saito,

we have a long hard way
to Tamogino ahead of us.

If you carry your brother
and you fall down,

and, then, the one who
tries to help you falls down,

I will lose the whole unit!

The rescue unit is going to be here soon.

And, for now, your brother

can rest in peace here.

Everyone apart from
Corporal Saito line up!

Get in two lines!




Rifles down!

We found the way!

Umatateba! If we cross there,
we can get to Umatateba.

Let's move!

Let's move!

Next destination, Nakanomori,
and from there, Yasunokimori.

Then, we will cross Sainokawara
and reach Kotoge before Otoge ridge.

Distance: 7 km.

We'll go over Hakkoda in no time!

Let's go!

Forward march!

Keep moving!

I can't walk anymore.



Move it!

Okay, let's dig a hole.

We can wait until it's over.

No, we mustn't stop.

If we stop,

it's our end.


Captain Tokushima!

We meet at last.

Yes, on Hakkoda.

It must have been hard for you.


The real hardships...

Real hardships and bloody tears

fell on your part, Captain Kanda.

JANUARY 29, 2 A.M.

I'm very grateful to you.

That you led us from Masuzawa
all the way here

through all the hardships.

I can't repay you for what you did.

And one more thing.

As I said on the way,

you mustn't tell anyone about
what you saw on Hakkoda.

Even your family.

In short,

anyone who talks,

will be arrested by the Kenpeitai.

And it's better if you don't stay in Tamogino.

Just head to Aomori and go back by train.

That's the best way.

Got it?

Main unit of the 31st regiment.

We crossed the Hakkoda Mountains.

Now, we need to get some sleep
and I want to talk to the command.

One of the injured was taken
from Sambongi by train.

Is everyone else alright?

Yes, Sir.

When you were on Hakkoda,

did you see anything?

Today, at 11 a.m,

in Narusawa, a soldier's body
was found.

And that's not all.

At 4:30 p.m., on Sainokawara,

the bodies of Captain Kanda
and his unit were found.

- On Sainokawara?
- Yes.

That's impossible!

The rescue team searched
everywhere on Sainokawara.

They found 23 bodies and took them.

And that was yesterday.

Captain Kanda

apparently blaming himself
for what happened to his unit,

mustering whatever energy
he had left in his frozen body,

before he died,

bit his own tongue off.

Captain Tokushima of the
31st regiment.

I wanted to say goodbye
to my friend.

He said,
"In the Hakkoda Mountains,

I will finally be able to meet
Captain Tokushima".

He said

that was the only thing
that cheered him up.


I really did

meet him

in the snow of Hakkoda.

Like I said,

including Corporal Eto, who
was found first on Sainokawara,

there were 15 rescued.

But three of them didn't survive.
They died soon after that.

There are 12 survivors as of now.

We thought that everyone out of
the 210 people had died,

but at least 12 survived.

Among them was Corporal Murayama,
who is now being taken to Tashiro,

which was the 5th regiment's
initial destination.



Spring will come...

Summer... autumn...



No, don't get up.
You don't have to.

Commander, please forgive me.

This tragedy

happened because I didn't know
anything about the mountains.

I'm the one responsible

for what happened.

What about your unit?

We arrived two days ahead of schedule.

Everyone made it.

We spent the night in Aomori
and arrived in Namioka yesterday.

Today, we will leave Namioka

and go to the 31st regiment's
base in Hirosaki.


"We march through the snow"!


We march through the snow,
we walk on the ice

You never know if there's a river or road

The horses are collapsing, but
we can't leave them behind

Those are Aomori fir trees.

When winter comes, Aomori fir trees

get covered with frost.

Two years later, captain Tokushima from the 31st regiment and his unit, as well as captain Kurata's and lieutenant ito's units, took part in the Russo-Japanese war

they fought for two days without food or water in -20 °c cold during the battle of Sandepu and later died in the battle of Mukden

to this day, the story of the mount Hakkoda campaign is being told in the northernmost part of Honshu.