Unbroken

Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe Character Analysis

The novel’s antagonist and the epitome of evil, Watanabe is the cruel and psychopathic prison guard who singles out Louie for emotional and physical torture. Driven by a desire to feel powerful, Watanabe derives sexual pleasure and self-worth by using torture to dehumanize the prisoners. Watanabe is also vain and delusional, believing that that prisoners love and respect him. At the end of the war, Watanabe lacks total self-awareness and compassion, casting himself as a victim, rather than a perpetrator, of the horrors of war.

Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe Quotes in Unbroken

The Unbroken quotes below are all either spoken by Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe or refer to Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival and Resilience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Unbroken published in 2010.
Chapter 28 Quotes

Now he was condemned to crawl through the filth of a pig’s sty, picking up feces with his bare hands and cramming handfuls of the animal’s feed into his mouth to save himself from starving to death. Of all of the violent and vile abuses that the Bird had inflicted upon Louie, none had horrified and demoralized him as did this. If anything is going to shatter me, Louie thought, this is it.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini, Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe
Related Symbols: The Bird
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 35 Quotes

Louie had no idea what had become of the Bird, but he felt sure that if he could get back to Japan, he could hunt him down. This would be his emphatic reply to the Bird’s unremitting effort to extinguish his humanity: I am still a man. He could conceive of no other way to save himself. Louie had found a quest to replace his lost Olympics. He was going to kill the Bird.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini, Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe
Related Symbols: The Bird
Page Number: 361
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Exc

Chapter 37 Quotes

No one could reach Louie, because he had never really come home. In prison camp, he’d been beaten into dehumanized obedience to a world order in which the Bird was absolute sovereign, and it was under this world order that he still lived. The Bird had taken his dignity and left him feeling humiliated, ashamed, and powerless, and Louie believed that only the Bird could restore him, by suffering and dying in the grip of his hands. A once singularly hopeful man now believed that his only hope lay in murder.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini, Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe
Related Symbols: The Bird
Page Number: 373
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui offic

Chapter 39 Quotes

In Sugamo Prison, as he was told of Watanabe’s fate, all Louie saw was a lost person, a life now beyond redemption. He felt something that he had never felt for his captor before. With a shiver of amazement, he realized that it was compassion. At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful and effortless and complete. For Louie Zamperini, the war was over.

Related Characters: Louis “Louie” Zamperini, Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe Character Timeline in Unbroken

The timeline below shows where the character Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe appears in Unbroken. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23: Monster
Survival and Resilience Theme Icon
...the Omori camp, Louie encounters a handsome prison guard with large, brutish hands named Mutsuhiro Watanabe. Watanabe inspects the new arrivals at the camp, shouting that they should each state their... (full context)
Dignity Theme Icon
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
Mutsuhiro Watanabe was born to a wealthy Tokyo family. He had lofty expectations for himself as a... (full context)
War and Identity Theme Icon
At Omori, Watanabe gains a reputation as an especially cruel guard who uses psychological and emotional torture on... (full context)
Dignity Theme Icon
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
Watanabe also seeks the friendship and affection of the inmates in order to boost his vain... (full context)
Chapter 24: Hunted
War and Identity Theme Icon
When Louie meets the other prisoners, they tell him not to call Watanabe by his real name. If he hears the prisoners using his name, he will beat... (full context)
Survival and Resilience Theme Icon
Dignity Theme Icon
Watanabe’s attacks intensify. When the Bird demands that Louie look him in the eyes, Louie refuses,... (full context)
Chapter 27: Falling Down
Dignity Theme Icon
War and Identity Theme Icon
After Watanabe leaves, the kind guard Yukichi Kano takes his place and the Bird’s reign of terror... (full context)
Chapter 28: Enslaved
Survival and Resilience Theme Icon
Watanabe had specifically requested that the Omori camp officials transfer Louie to Naoetsu so that he... (full context)
Chapter 31: The Naked Stampede
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
War and Identity Theme Icon
Watanabe escapes the prison before the men have a chance to take revenge on him. On... (full context)
Chapter 36: The Body on the Mountain
War and Identity Theme Icon
In the winter of 1946, the Japanese police expand their search for Watanabe. An aged police officer travels to the largest home in a small mountain village and... (full context)
Dignity Theme Icon
War and Identity Theme Icon
Watanabe had come to this out-of-the-way village and taken the job as a servant to evade... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
War and Identity Theme Icon
In the mountain village, the farmer requests that Watanabe accompany his son on a trip through major cities. In the cities, no one recognizes... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
War and Identity Theme Icon
Watanabe returns to the farmer’s village. The Bird works as a waiter in the farmer’s son’s... (full context)
War and Identity Theme Icon
...gunshot wound obscures his face, the police think that the man matches the description of Watanabe. They bring in his mother, Shizuka, to identify the dead body. She says it’s her... (full context)
Chapter 38: A Beckoning Whistle
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
Two years after the Japanese government announced that he was dead, Watanabe sees his mother again. The last time they spoke was two years ago when he... (full context)
Epilogue
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
After the Japanese announced his death, Watanabe spent several years working as a farm hand. In 1952, he read a newspaper article... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
In the following years, Watanabe marries, has two children, and makes a small fortune by starting an insurance agency. In... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Belief and Faith Theme Icon
At Louie’s request, Mihailovich tries setting up a meeting between him and the Watanabe during the Olympic Games, but the Bird refuses. Unable to offer his captor forgiveness, Louie... (full context)