In the beginning, there was the camera. I'm no historian, but I'm easily swayed by the argument that social protest as we now know it did not exist before the invention of photography. It provided a reliable recording device that could prove to observers across space and time that, indeed, the authority of the powerful was being challenged. Would peace marches exist without cameras to record them? Would flag-burnings? Would Kenzo Okuzaki?
In the Emperor's Naked Army Marches On Okuzaki tracks down the surviving members of Japanese Army squadrons that were stationed in New Guinea, confronting them to tell the stories of their involvement in unspeakable acts in the days following the news of their country's surrender to General Douglas MacArthur. John Farr calls him a "one-man truth-and-reconciliation committee", which might sound overly-glib but opens an interesting line of inquiry. South Africa's TRC was designed to bring the truth of the apartheid regime into the light. Some felt the commission placed too high a value on truth at the expense of justice. Okuzaki also is committed to pursuit of truth, facts, and information. When he uses brute force on his interviewees, it's not so much a method of justice or punishment, but coercion so that they'll do what he wants them to do: spill the beans.
But I don't think Okuzaki is uninterested in justice either; he talks of a kind of karmic retribution for post-wartime crimes in the form of physical ailments. He's unabashed in claiming his moral superiority over those he confronts. And the camera too performs a role in meting justice or punishment. It's often alluded to that family honor is the obstacle to honest confessions by the former soldiers. Okuzaki appeals to a higher set of ideals, arguing that the revelation of truth about murder and cannibalism will comfort the victims' souls, and that this is a greater goal than maintaining the integrity of family honor. But it seems likely that he also feels that getting his interviewees' testimonies on film is its own form of justice. I'd be curious to see a follow-up on how the successful release of the Emperor's Naked Army Marches On in 1987 affected the lives of the former soldiers in the film, and their families.