In the late 1990s Alexander Sokurov already made films about key historical figures of the 20th century, Lenin and Hitler (Taurus and Moloch).
Emperor Hirohito had succeeded to the throne long before World War II began. In 1941 the monarch supported Japanese Admirals demanding to declare war on the United States unlike Generals who wanted a war with the Soviet Union. If Hirohito had taken the side of Generals, the USSR would have had to fight at two fronts, with Germany and Japan. It was Hirohito who signed the act on Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945, thus saving the country from the long and tormenting war.
Alexander Sokurov's film is dedicated to a few days in the emperor's life when in August 1945 he conducted negotiations with U.S. General Douglas MacArthur on the surrender. Hirohito agreed not only to surrender but also to renounce his divine origin. It is believed that his imperial line dated back to 660 BC when Emperor Jimmu, a descendant of the gods, had been allegedly enthroned as first Japanese emperor.
This renunciation saved Hirohito's life, throne and title.
The Sun by Alexander Sokurov will be the first Russian art-house film and television will take an active part in its promotion. However, Sokurov's movies enjoy commercial success even without active promotion in Russia. The Russian Ark shown in several European countries and the U.S. collected over $3 million only in America.