Usually with German film people of the Third Reich I take a defensive stand in most cases like this because there's a genuine hysteria regarding everything made between 1933-45, even doing pure entertainment is somehow seen as supporting and stabilizing the totalitarian state. As if Soviet Russia or North Korea wouldn't prove the opposite, the lack of entertainment isn't enough to make people so unhappy that they start a revolution.Michael Kerpan wrote:A lot of Hara's acting contemporaries (and older and younger colleagues) were far less right-wing than she was -- alas.
However I think it's important to recognize that some people in Italy, Germany and Japan eagerly and willingly supported the militarist, racist and totalitarian ideology and threw themselves into the work. Others did their best to evade as far as possible. I have the impression that Italian and Japanese filmmakers got away with murder in most international film histories and popular perception while Germans were thoroughly attacked. This corresponds with the lack of availability of propaganda films for these two countries while German films of the era float around en masse and you can buy them on pages like IHF. Naturally it's also a difference in being ready to investigate the own past with Japan and Italy being less willing to do so.
Taking this into account I allow myself to point out what Michael has already mentioned earlier in this thread. Hara being Japan's beloved virgin and an international star for the film history lovers is problematic in two ways. First in forgetting to split the achievements of the actress from these of the person Hara. If people think her a genuinely good actress. fine. But as an idol she's badly cast. She was an active propagandist of absurd and murderous values not like a Karl Ritter. She didn't stumble into a film or was forced to do this, she regularily appeared propaganda films from the very beginng of her career and pretty much in the nastiest ones. I am not aware that she ever regretted her actions as e.g. Ri Koran/Shirley Yamaguchi did.
The second point might be more controversial because I seriously doubt Hara's achievements as an actress which I believe also stem from her right wing attitude. She played a Japanese icon of purity (no kissing scenes for her) limiting therefore her range. She may embody a certain cliche of Japaneseness to foreigners (but Japanese as well) which rings quite hollow on the screen to me. However this is obviously a matter of debate.