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Five Japanese films on Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings

  • Published at 09:28 am August 5th, 2021
A scene from Hiroshima (1953)| Collected

To mark the upcoming 76th anniversary of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings, we present five Japanese films that have effectively portrayed the devastation of the bombings

During the Second World War, the United States bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively -- killing 226,000 innocent civilians. This remains the single use of nuclear weapons in the history of armed conflict.

The legality of the bombings remains a matter of contention among scholars to do this day. While some sought to justify the bombings as a reprisal to the single instances of illegal air bombardments committed by the Axis Powers and as a means to swiftly put an end to the armed conflict, neither justifications have been proven adequate by history.

In 2016, Barack Obama was the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima and place a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb.

On the 76th anniversary of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings, we present five Japanese films that have effectively portrayed the devastation wrought by the war:

Black Rain (1989)

The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel and directed by Shohei Imamura. Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, and Etsuko Ichihara starred in the acclaimed drama. The film tells the story of Yasuko who managed to escape the bombings unscathed, but was later in life stigmatized by the larger society owing to the widespread fear of radiation exposure in Japanese society.

Hiroshima (1953)

 Directed by Hideo Sekigawa, “Hiroshima” delivers a brilliant and extremely realistic retelling of the day in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. The film was released only seven years after the devastating bombings.

Frakenstein Conquers the World (1965)

Near the end of WWII, Germans transport the immortal heart of Frankenstein's monster to Japan, where it gets lost in the bombing of Hiroshima. Years later a wild boy is found, born from the immortal heart.

Children of Hiroshima (1952)

Post war Hiroshima: It's been four years since the last time she visited her hometown. Takako faces the after effects of the A-bomb when she travels around the city to call on old friends.

NN-891102 (1999)

This film's cryptic title refers to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki (Nagasaki Nuclear 8 [August] 9 [the day] 11:02 [the time]). A 5-year-old boy survives the blast and thinks that its sound has been captured on his father’s tape recorder, only to become obsessed with reproducing it. This little-known film was director Gô Shibata’s graduation drama.  

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