1. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Joseph Gerson, Director of Programs and Director of the Peace and Economic Security Program of the American Friends Service Committee in New England, for his gracious assistance on this article, including access to his archives. [return to page 1]

2. See, for instance, Gar Alperowitz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam. New York: Vintage Books, 1965; John Whittier Treat, Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and the Atomic Bomb. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1995; and The Nuclear Century: Voices of the Hibakusha of the World. Japan Peace Museum/Japan Confederation of A and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations. Tokyo: Heiwa no Atorie, 1997.

3. See Dr. Shuntaro Hida, The Day Hiroshima Disappeared: Testimony by a Bombed Doctor (typed ms., Joseph Gerson private collection, American Friends Service Committee New England Regional Office); and “The Day Never to Be Forgotten, (Wasurerarenai anoki): A Collection of Testimonies and Pictures by Sufferers of the A-Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Kanagawa Atomic Bomb Sufferers Association, 2005; “The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Chapter 2. Web. 23 July 2012.

4. Despite censorship by the U.S. forces, a demonstration for peace was held in Hiroshima on the first anniversary of the A-bomb; the following year the mayor read the first “Peace Declaration” at the festival. See Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, ed. Unforgettable Fire: Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors. New York: Pantheon Books, 1977, 9.

5. See M. Susan Lindee. Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

6. Joseph Gerson, Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World. London: Pluto Press, 2007, 272 ff.

7. J. Samuel Weber, “History, Collective Memory, and the Decision to Use the Bomb,” in Michael J. Hogan, ed. Hiroshima in History and Memory. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996, 188.

8. For a discussion of censorship in occupied Japan see Yuko Shibata, “Dissociative entanglement: US-Japan atomic bomb discourse by John Hersey and Nagai Takashi,” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 13:1 (2012): 122-37.

9. Georges Bataille, “Concerning the Accounts Given by the Residents of Hiroshima,” in Cathy Caruth, ed., Trauma: Explorations in Memory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1995, 226.

10. The collection of testimonials is an ongoing project of several survivor organizations in Japan. See, for instance, Senji Yamaguchi, co-chair of the Hidankyo organization, published Burnt Yet Undaunted: the verbatim account of Senji Yamaguchi, compiled by Shinji Fujisaki. Japan Confederation of A and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, 2002. See also Mikio Kanda, ed., Widows of Hiroshima: The Life Stories of Nineteen Peasant Wives, trans. Taeko Midorikawa. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989; and Hachiya Michihiko, M.D., Hiroshima Diary: the Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945, trans. and ed. Warner Wells, M.D. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1955.

11. I would like to thank Yoshiaki Shimizu for this translation, which is closer to Kurosawa’s meaning than the titles by which this film is known in English, Record of a Living Being or I Live in Fear.

12. Cathy Caruth, Trauma: Explorations in Memory. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1995, 4-5.

13. I am grateful to Dr. Joseph Gerson for this observation.

14. The image occurs in Japanese footage shot by Nippon Eiga Sha under the supervision of Akira Iwasaki. It occurs in the short documentary Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August 1945 produced by Erik Barnouw and Paul Ronder for the Center for Mass Communication at Columbia University Press. The still is courtesy of Harvard Film Archive, Fine Arts Library, Harvard Unviersity; HFA Item #9675. From 16 mm print.

15. Robert J. Lifton, Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991, 464-67; Joan Mellen, The Waves at Genji’s Door: Japan through its Cinema. New York: Pantheon, 1976, 202-206.

16. Noel Burch, To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema. Berkeley, Univ. of California Press, 1989, 308.

17. Treat, Writing Ground Zero 236. [return to page 2]

18. Treat, 239. In his correspondence with the pilot of the lead plane of the Hiroshima bombing, Claude Eatherly, the German philosopher Günter Anders praised him for his subsequent descent into madness. He wrote:

“The fact that you cannot master what you have done is consoling. Because it shows that now…you are making the attempt to catch up with, to realize the magnitude of your acts, the effects of which you then had not realized…this attempt, even if it fails, proves that you have been able to keep your conscience alert […] One could almost say that it is proof of your moral health.”

Burning Conscience: The case of the Hiroshima pilot, Claude Eatherly, told in his letters to Günther Anders. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1962, 2-3.

19. Mitsuharo Inoue, “The House of Hands,” in Kenzaburo Oe, The Crazy Iris. New York: Grove Press, 1985.

20. Kenzaburo Oe, Hiroshima Notes, trans. David L. Swain and Tashi Yonezawa. New York: Grove Press, 1865, 75 and 35.

21. Treat, 288-99.

22. Masuji Ibuse, Black Rain, trans. John Bester. New York: Kadansha International, 1979, 300.

23. Cathy Caruth, “An Interview with Robert Jay Lifton,” in Caruth, ed., Trauma: Explorations in Memory, 137.

24. See the memoir of Mieko Hara in Children of Hiroshima, ed. Yoichi Fukushima. London: Taylor and Francis, 1981, 75; also quoted in John Dower, “the Bombed: Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japanese Memory,” in Michael J. Hogan, ed., Hiroshima in History and Memory. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1966, 116.

25. Treat 282.

26. Thierry Jousse, “Entretien avec Akira Kurosawa,” trans. Catherine Cadou, Cahiers du Cinema, 445 (June 1991): 12; quoted in James Goodwin, “Akira Kurosawa and the Atomic Age,” in James Goodwin, ed., Perspectives on Akira Kurosawa. New York: G.K. Hall, 1974, 138.

27. Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), Unforgettable Fire: Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors. New York: Pantheon, 1997. A drawing by Ito Kanichi represents a woman trapped in a collapsed house, 28; another by Haruko Ogansawara shows victims with seared flesh, 45; one by Tadao Inoue outlines the charred body of a mother and child, 63; and another by Masato Yamashita sketches the charred body of a victim, 104. All the drawings are by hibakusha.

28. Treat 297.

29. Treat 10.

30. Lifton 184; see especially chapter five, “On Being a Hibakusha.”
[return to page 3]

31. Lifton 175-76.

32. Kiju (Yoshishige) Yoshida, “My Theory of Film: a Logic of Self-Negation,” trans. Patrick Noonan. Review of Japanese Culture and Society (Dec. 2010): 107.

33. Adam Bingham, “Stories written in Sunlight and Water: The Cinema of Yoshida Yoshishige, Part 2—Independence and Independent.” Asian Cinema (Fall/Winter 2010): 281.

34. Oe, Notes 58.

35. Shibata (126) makes a compelling case for the avoidance of closure in Hiroshima narratives—an argument that applies equally well to film.

36. Megumi Iizuka, “A-bomb doctor warns of further Fukushima woes,” The Japan Times Online, July 12, 2012, accessed July 31, 2013, http://info.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120712f3.html

37. At the 2013 annual meeting of the College Association in New York City, Professors Yoshiaku Shimizu and Gennifer Weisenfeld organized a session on “Disaster and Creativity” that featured several speakers on Hiroshima and the echoes of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. I wish to acknowledge the insights I gained from the presentation by Julia Friedman, “Between Awe and Anger: Young Japanese Artists Respond to Tohoku and Fukushima.” It was in listening to her presentation that I learned about the Chim/Pom collective.

38. On Chim/Pom’s exhibition “Real Times,” see the short video
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTqokIecNhs/>. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.
See also “Art Cannot be Powerless: an interview with Ryuta Ushiro” (a PBS Frontline report on Chim/Pom). 20 and 30 May 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.

39. Emily Taguchi, “Japan’s New Nuclear Generation,” Frontline 26 July 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-atomic-artists/emily-taguchi/>

40. Lida Bach, “Nuclear Nation,” Kino-Zeit.de. 2 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

41. David Elliott, Fukushima: Impacts and Implications. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan 2013, 80-98.

42. Hiromitsu Toyosaki, “The World’s Hibakusha,” in The Japan Peace Museum/Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers, The Nuclear Century: Voices of the Hibakusha of the World. Tokyo: Heiwa no Atorie, 1997, 348.

To topPrint versionJC 55 Jump Cut home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.