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Unbroken

Characters

The Bird

Characters The Bird

Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known as the Bird to POWs, was a sadistic Japanese leader at two different POW camps, Omori and Naoetsu. He was born into a wealthy family but experienced humiliation when he was not made a military officer. The Bird subjects prisoners to extreme physical and emotional abuse. On different occasions, appears to take sexual pleasure in causing pain. He devotes particular attention to Louie, whom he beats on many occasions. His behavior is erratic and unusually cruel. After the war, he disappears and never receives formal punishment for his abuses. He works as a farm laborer, waiter, cowherd, and fishmonger while Japanese officials spend years searching for him. During this time, he makes two undetected trips to Tokyo to see his mother briefly before he disappears again. He resurfaces after America grants amnesty to war criminals, and he spends decades living as a wealthy businessman. He marries, has two children, and travels even to America. When interviewed, he often blames his actions on the war and shows limited willingness to take personal responsibility for his actions. Since The Bird was twice reported dead by Japanese officials, Louie believed for decades that he was dead. Television producers are able to interview him in 1997. These same producers try to arrange a meeting between him and Louie. When Louie tries to meet with him as part of a role in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, the Bird refuses. At this time, Louie sends him a note stating his forgiveness but never knows if he receives it. The Bird dies in 2003.