Mr. Hoyado Hodai, representative of the Tokyo consortium that had just bought Beneficial Motion Pictures, arrived in Hollywood to inspect the property his people had purchased for $20 billion.
Thomas Killright, Beneficial's production head, escorted him to the studios in the longest limousine Tinseltown could provide.
Hodai said, "I want to see the studio's library, particularly the pictures you made concerning World War II."
"No problem," answered Killright. "We'll show you everything we have."
Hodai sank into a first-row seat in the screening room. He was surrounded by Beneficial executives who didn't want to lose their jobs.
"You'll love this one," Killright said, "It's 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' and it's about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Americans got the hell beat out of them thanks to faultless Japanese planning, ingenuity and the element of surprise."
Hodai stared at the screen as the film unfolded.
"Why do you show so many Japanese planes being shot down?"
"I guess it was mainly to give the American audience a rooting interest in the film. You'll like this part where you people sink the battleship Arizona."
"I think you're using too much smoke. What else do you have to show me?"
"We have 'Wake Island,' where your brave Japanese soldiers overcame hordes of ruthless, unshaven American Marines who committed every atrocity in the book to save the island."
"Why are the Marines calling the Japanese dirty ethnic names?"
"We made the picture before we knew you were going to buy the studio. Would you like to see 'Bataan' with Robert Taylor? It's the story of American soldiers who are beaten by superior Japanese freedom fighters in the Philippine jungles."
"I like it. Let's put it in color and release it again."
"That's exactly what I was planning to do," Killright said.
"I understand we own 'Destination Tokyo,' " Hodai said. "It is a submarine picture with Cary Grant in which the Americans attack Tokyo Bay and sink the entire Japanese fleet."
"We do," said Killright, "and I was always against the movie being released."
"People won't buy our cars if they see Cary Grant sink our ships."
"We could cut the picture so Grant sinks only one North Korean fishing boat."
"You understand we don't want to interfere in how you run the studio, but when you see an American submarine in Tokyo Bay you have our permission to cut out the violence."
"Mr. Hodai, we have one more picture to show you. It's 'Sands of Iwo Jima' and stars John Wayne. Wayne kills more Japanese in this movie than were killed in World War II."
"Then cancel Wayne's contract with the studio."
"We can't -- he's dead."
Mr. Hodai handed Killright a hara-kiri dagger and said coldly, "That is your problem -- not mine."