1975 February South Vietnam
A Japanese worker at a trading company, Toshio Sugimoto enjoyed an easy life in Saigon and enjoyed a cheerful atmosphere celebrating Tet (Chinese New Year). In a nutshell, this tragic war is another country's affair not his. But one day, he accidently killed a Vietnamese. Suddenly he became a vunerable guy who killed someone in a foreign country. He lost every title and social status that supported his wealthy position in Vietnam. In an escalation of violence and crime, he was a wanted fugitive. Finally, he decided to escape from Vietnam and stole the car of his friend, a press photographer. He headed to the northern town Hue accompanied with his lover Ran and Taro who is the half blood son of an ex-Japanese soldier and a Vietnamese woman. Ran has a self-sacrificing love for Sugimoto. Taro has a complex feeling of love and hate for his father who returned to Japan without him. Coincidentally, the big campaign of liberating the army has begun. Sugimoto heads North on the military road under fire and battle conditions. Who knows what was waiting for them, is it liberation or total catastrophe?
Japanese! Where did you come from? Who the hell are you?
This simple and fundamental question stabs at our hearts like a knife.
Background of the story
In April 1975, the South Vietnam Army collapsed due to an overwhelming attack by the North Vietnam forces and South Vietnam NLF (National Liberation Front) which led the fall of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. Over 10 years of brutal combat, this war yielded various tragedies but it was finally over.
This movie, Number 10 Blues / Good Bye Saigon was shot in locations all over Vietnam during the real battles of the final stage of the Vietnam War, 1974 December to 1975 April.
The Vietnam War had two faces, one is the homeland liberation war and the other is the surrogate war of the USA and Soviet Union, the cold war era. In 1965, US Air Forces began air strikes to cities in North Vietnam and attacked strategic points like bridges and factories to sever logistics supporting the South Vietnam Communists. At the same time, the U.S. dispatched 200,000 soldiers to South Vietnam and got involved in determined intervention. But this war, this type of combat against communist guerrillas was far from what they experienced before and put them neck-deep into a morass of violence and war. At the end of the day, they were exhausted and had to evacuate the country.
In 1973, finally the US ordered a full evacuation of troops from Vietnam, which by this time had grown to a force of 500,000 soldiers. In a sense the US abandoned the South Vietnam Administration. The US Departure led to ending the Vietnam War.
During this time, the anti-war movement was scattered all over the world. Japan was no exception. But the Japanese government had no ear for these voices and continued to support and help US policy. Furthermore this war benefitted Japanese industry and generated enormous profit for Japan. This accelerated Japan’s path to becoming an economic giant.