Christopher Baker, who appeared in the movie Kokoda, will narrate a two-hour documentary which looks at both sides of the war. Beyond Kokoda includes interviews with Japanese veterans regarding the campaign.
Shot in Australia, Japan and Papua New Guinea it also features New Guinean villagers who performed missions of mercy for the Japanese wounded.
The History Channel has previously produced award winning documentaries about important chapters from our past. Its world premiere screens on The History Channel on Thursday, September 25 at 8:30pm.
In a remarkable world-first, BEYOND KOKODA tells the powerful story of the Kokoda Campaign of 1942 – from both sides.
Narrated by Australian actor Christopher Baker (who appeared in the 2006 film ‘Kokoda’), The History Channel’s exclusive two-hour documentary explores one of the most defining moments in Australian military history and features the harrowing personal stories of the Kokoda Trail from both the Australian and Japanese soldiers’ perspectives.
Featuring candid interviews with Australian veterans and – speaking publicly for the first time – Japanese veterans, as well as a production team made up of both Australians and Japanese, BEYOND KOKODA provides a unique and balanced look at the bloody struggle that lasted from July 1942 to February 1943.
The Kokoda Campaign resulted from the failure of a previous attempt by the Japanese to capture Port Moresby and was a decisive Australian victory that delivered Australia from Japanese encirclement and possible occupation.
Two armies, Japanese and Australian, each pushing the other back along a muddy, precipitous track over the mountainous spine of New Guinea’s Owen Stanley Range resulted in one of the most brutal conflicts in Australian war history.
Historians and veterans distinguish it as a campaign of exceptional savagery. Few prisoners were taken; most were shot. War conventions were routinely flouted by both sides. The troops were reduced to a primal level, such were the inhuman conditions in which the battle was waged and the impossible expectations made on soldiers of both sides at the front line.
BEYOND KOKODA is a deeply personal account of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of those directly involved in the Kokoda Campaign, set against the sometimes flawed strategic decisions of key commanders and politicians, both Australian and Japanese, and the broader context of the war in the Pacific.
The documentary also features the ‘fuzzy-wuzzy angels’, New Guinean villagers well-known in Australian folklore for their support of the wounded Australian soldiers, as well as New Guinean villagers who performed similar missions of mercy for the Japanese wounded.
Shot in Australia, Japan and Papua New Guinea and using re-enactments and archival footage to illustrate the harsh conditions and heroic actions of both armies, BEYOND KOKODA demonstrates the primal battle for survival on both sides and the devastating consequences of war.
BEYOND KOKODA is an exclusive FOXTEL production. The documentary is directed by Shaun Gibbons and produced by Stig Schnell. Hajime Marutani is the associate producer.
Beyond Kokoda will have its world premiere on The History Channel on Thursday, September 25 at 8:30pm AEST. An encore screening will air on Sunday, September 28 at 8.30pm.