First Yank into Tokyo

First Yank into Tokyo is a 1945 American war film; it takes place during World War II. It was directed by Gordon Douglas.

First Yank into Tokyo
Original film poster
Directed byGordon Douglas
Produced byJ. Robert Bren
Written byStory:
Gladys Atwater
J. Robert Bren
StarringTom Neal
Keye Luke
Barbara Hale
Richard Loo
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • September 11, 1945 (1945-09-11) (U.S.)[1]
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States


In the film, the US government gives Major Steve Ross (Tom Neal) plastic surgery to make him appear Japanese; Ross had lived in Japan and is well versed with Japanese culture. The government assigns Ross to rescue Lewis Jardine, a scientist bearing valuable secrets about the atomic bomb. Ross is also driven by the knowledge that his one true love, Abby, was captured by the Japanese and "is in their hands".

Both Abby and Ross's former college roommate, the treacherous Hideki Okfnura (Richard Loo), are now at the same prison camp where Jardine is being held. Abby (Barbara Hale), does not recognize Steve but senses something strange about the new Japanese soldier from Korea. She detects something about him that makes him different from all the other Japanese who are uniformly portrayed as crazed sadists who, when not busy committing war crimes and stealing, drink themselves into a stupor and then give free rein to their insatiable lust for American women.

Okanura (Richard Loo) is a colonel in the Japanese army who attended American universities to steal industrial secrets and plan sabotage, and was Ross's roommate at the time. He detects something strangely familiar about his new NCO. In addition to committing acts of savagery, Okanura enjoys driving his subordinates to suicide and leering at Abby. When he sees a dog chase Major Ross across the prison yard, Okanura he remembers where he last saw such "superb open field running", recalling a college football game where Steve Ross excelled. Okanura also recalls that his American roommate displayed a nervous thumb gesture identical to the one seen in the mysterious new NCO.

In the film's climax, Major Ross places a bomb in the prison camp's factory, where Allied prisoners are being worked to death by Japanese guards who then steal their food. Okanura has recovered film footage of Ross playing football at university, and is on the verge of exposing him, but is interrupted when the bomb goes off and throws the camp into confusion. Ross kills Okanura with his bare hands, frees Abby and Jardine and then leads the group to a rendezvous with a US submarine just off shore. At the last second, Steve realizes that he cannot go back to the States "looking like a Jap" and bundles his charges into a boat. He stays behind to help some Korean prisoners kill some more of the "yellow monkeys".



Originally the film centered on Ross helping to acquire a new kind of gun. The atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred during production of the film; the producers subsequently altered the plotline.[2]


  1. "First Yank into Tokyo: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
  2. "First Yank into Tokyo (1945)." The New York Times. Accessed July 26, 2008.
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