Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance and All Victims of Air War


News Release for August Remembrance of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Victims of Air War Everywhere
Film: Grave of the Fireflies
Film:  White Light, Black Rain
Why We Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Why we Remember the Destruction of Kobe

Contact:   Gladys Tiffany, 935-4422; Dick Bennett, 442-4600


Events to take place at OMNI,
3274 Lee Avenue
, on August 6 and 7, starting at 6:30 pm each night. 

 Saturday, August 6 we will show, Grave of the Fireflies, a Japanese animated film on the firebombing of Kobe (88 min.).  This film won many awards.

Sunday, August 7, a film on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, White Light, Black Rain (86 min.).   An HBO production, the film won a Primetime Emmy and other awards.
OMNI’s Open Mic will follow the film.   Mark Prime will be our moderator.  Music, poems, and prose about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and air war are invited.    The names of victims will also be recited.   

Desserts and drinks will be available, and your contributions are welcome.

At OMNI: Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology, August 6 and 7, 6:30 p.m.,
3274 Lee Ave. north of Office Depot.

Grave of the Fireflies

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This article is about the film. For the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, see Grave of the Fireflies (novel).

Grave of the Fireflies火垂るの墓
North American DVD cover
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on
Editing by
Distributed by
Release date(s)
April 16, 1988 (1988-04-16)
Running time
88 min.

Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka?) is a 1988 Japanese animated war drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata. This is the first film produced by Shinchosha, who hired Studio Ghibli to do the animation production work. It is an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka, intended as a personal apology to the author's own sister.
Roger Ebert considers it to be one of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made. Animation historian Ernest Rister compares the film to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List and says, "it is the most profoundly human animated film I've ever seen."[1]


·                    1 Plot
·                    2 Story origin and interpretations
·                    3 About the title
o                               3.1 Firefly symbolism
·                    4 Music
·                    5 Live-action version
·                    6 Releases
·                    7 English dub cast
·                    8 Reception
·                    9 See also
·                    10 References
·                    11 External links

[edit] Plot

Taking place toward the end of World War II in Japan, Grave of the Fireflies is the tale of the relationship between two orphaned children, pre-teen Seita (清太) and his young sister Setsuko (節子). The movie begins in Sannomiya Station and portrays Seita, in rags and dying of starvation. A janitor comes and digs through his possessions, and finds a candy tin containing ashes and bones. He throws it out, and from it springs the spirit of Setsuko, Seita, and a cloud of fireflies. The spirit of Seita continues to narrate their story, which is, in effect, an extended flashback to Japan near the end of World War II, during the Kobe firebombings.
The flashback begins with American B-29s flying overhead. Setsuko and Seita, the two siblings, are left to secure the house and their belongings, allowing their mother, who suffers from a heart condition, to move to a bomb shelter. They are caught off-guard by firebombs dropped in their neighborhood, and although they survive unscathed, their mother is caught in the air raid. She is taken to a hospital and later dies from her burns. Having nowhere else to go, Setsuko and Seita move in with a distant aunt, who allows them to stay but convinces Seita to sell his mother's kimonos for rice. While living with their relatives, Seita goes out to retrieve leftover supplies he had buried in the ground before the bombing. He gives all of it to his aunt, but hides a small tin of fruit drops, which becomes a recurrent icon throughout the film. Their aunt continues to shelter them but as they gradually begin to run out of food, she becomes increasingly resentful. She openly remarks on how they do nothing to earn the food she cooks.
Seita and Setsuko finally decide to leave and move into an abandoned bomb shelter. They fill it with fireflies for light, but Setsuko is horrified to find that the next day they are all dead. She digs them a grave and buries them all, asking why they have to die, and why her mother had to die. What begins as a new lease on life grows grim as they run out of rice, and Seita is forced to steal from local farmers and loot homes during air raids. When he is caught, he realizes his desperation and takes an increasingly ill Setsuko to a doctor, who informs him that Setsuko is suffering from malnutrition but offers no help. In a panic, Seita withdraws all the money remaining in their mother's bank account, but while at the bank he learns of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies and the probable death of his father, who was a sailor in the Imperial Navy. He returns to the shelter with large quantities of food, only to find a dying Setsuko hallucinating, sucking ohajiki (marbles) as if they were fruit drops. Setsuko offers Seita mud 'rice balls'. Seita gives her a bite of watermelon and hurries to cook, but she dies of starvation. Seita uses supplies donated to him by a farmer to cremate her, and puts her ashes in the fruit tin which he carries with his father's photograph until his own death in September 1945.
At the end, the spirits of Seita and Setsuko are seen, healthy and well-dressed, sitting side-by-side as they look down on the modern city of Kobe.

[edit] Story origin and interpretations

The story is based on the semi-autobiographic novel by the same name, whose author, Nosaka, lost his sister due to malnutrition in 1945 wartime Japan. He blamed himself for her death and wrote the story so as to make amends to her and help him accept the tragedy.
Some critics have viewed Grave of the Fireflies as an anti-war film due to the graphic and truly emotional depiction of the negative consequences of war on society, and the individuals therein. The film focuses its attention almost entirely on the personal tragedies that war gives rise to, rather than seeking to glamorize it as a heroic struggle between competing ideologies. It emphasizes that war is society's failure to perform its most important duty: protect its innocent.[2]
However, director Isao Takahata repeatedly denied that the film was an anti-war anime. In his own words, "[the film] is not at all an anti-war anime and contains absolutely no such message". Instead, Takahata had intended to convey an image of the brother and sister living a failed life due to isolation from the society and invoke sympathy particularly in people in their teens and twenties.[3

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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Jump to: navigation, search

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The film's poster.
Directed by
Produced by
Steven Okazaki
Written by
Steven Okazaki
Distributed by
Release date(s)
August 6, 2007 (2007-08-06)
Running time
86 minutes
United States

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an HBO documentary film that was directed and produced by Steven Okazaki and was released on August 6, 2007 on HBO, marking the 62nd anniversary of the first atomic bombing. The film features interviews with fourteen Japanese survivors and four Americans involved in the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


·                    1 Interviews
o                               1.1 Japanese survivors
o                               1.2 American personnel
·                    2 Recognition
·                    3 See also
·                    4 References
·                    5 External links

[edit] Interviews

[edit] Japanese survivors

Main article: Hibakusha
In preparation for the film, Okazaki met with more than 500 Japanese survivors of the bombings and collected over 100 interviews before settling on the fourteen subjects featured in the film. They were, in order of appearance, including age at the time of the bombings:
·                    Shigeku Sasamori, 13 years old. Sasamori came to the United States in 1955 to undergo reconstructive plastic surgery as part of a group of women called the Hiroshima Maidens.
·                    Keiji Nakazawa, 6 years old. Nazakawa lost most of his family in the bombing and later recounted his story in the Barefoot Gen series of comic books.
·                    Yasuyo Tanaka and Chiemi Oka, 9 and 10 years old. Tanaka and Oka were the only survivors among 20 children housed at a Catholic orphanage in Nagasaki.
·                    Sakue Shimohira, 10 years old. Shimohira survived along with her sister, but lost her mother and brother to the bombing. Her sister later committed suicide.
·                    Kyoko Imori, 11 years old. Imori and her friend were the only survivors out of 620 students attending a Hiroshima school, although her friend died a week later from radiation poisoning.
·                    Katsuji Yoshida, 13 years old. Yoshida incurred several injuries in the blast, including the right side of his face, which was disfigured by a severe burn.
·                    Sunao Tsuboi, 20 years old. At the time of the bombing, Tsuboi majored in science at a Hiroshima University.
·                    Shuntaro Hida, 28 years old. Military doctor who treated Hiroshima survivors after the bombing.
·                    Satoru Fukahori, 11 years old. Orphaned
·                    Pan Yeon Kim, 8 years old. Prior to the bombing her family immigrated to Japan from Korea to escape starvation.
·                    Etsuko Nagano, 16 years old. Nagano lost her brother and sister to the bombing.
·                    Senji Yamaguchi, 14 years old. During his lengthy hospitalization Yamaguchi started a survivors' group to petition the Japanese government to provide medical care to victims of the bombings.
·                    Sumiteru Taniguchi, 16 years old. Taniguchi was a mail carrier and incurred heavy burns during the blast.

[edit] American personnel

Okazaki also interviewed four Americans for the film. Morris R. Jeppson, weapons test officer, and Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, navigator, were on board of the Enola Gay during the bombing missions. Harold Agnew joined them as a scientific observer during the Hiroshima mission. Lawrence Johnston was a scientist at Los Alamos who claims to be the only person to have witnessed the Trinity test as well as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

[edit] Recognition

White Light/Black Rain was named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of 15 films considered for nomination as the Best Documentary Feature for the 80th Academy Awards. It was not included among the five nominees.[1] The film was also a nominee for the Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award at the 2008 Producers Guild Awards and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It did win the 2008 "Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking" Primetime Emmy Award.

[edit] See also

·                    Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
·                    Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission
·                    Hibakusha
·                    Hiroshima Peace Memorial
·                    Hiroshima (BBC documentary)



The bombings were decided during a time of immense national fear, grief, anger, hatred, and patriotism over the attack on Pearl Harbor and the loss of US lives during the WWII Pacific campaign.   There seemed an urgent need to end the war before the planned land invasion of Japan occurred, which some people estimated would result in a million US casualties (later shown to be exaggerated).   Options to the bombings were available, but were not chosen; for example, bombing an uninhabited island.   Instead, heavily populated civilian cities were targeted.   We remember those innocent civilians and the lost opportunities to choose alternatives to this horrendous weapon of mass destruction.

The bombings were carelessly chosen also because they started the nuclear arms race which still, perhaps increasingly, threatens the planet.   Whereas on the one hand our leaders did not reflect upon the immediate immorality of bombing civilian cities, on the other hand they did not reflect about the long-range consequences.   They did not consider what the Soviet Union would do to counter US power, or believe they could do it, despite the manifest evidence of Soviet capacity and will for war-making in the defeat of the Nazi empire.  Soon the Soviets developed their Bomb.   Then the US made the hydrogen bomb, soon followed by the Soviet Union.  And the pattern continued—the US initiating, the Soviets imitating (with about two exceptions when the Soviet Union preceded the US in nuclear innovation).   And our leaders did not consider another certain consequence—that other countries would want the weapon too, as nations always had in the past.    Now eight countries have the nuclear weapon of doom.  We remember the lost opportunities of statesmanship and for negotiation to end the arms race, which eventually produced over 40,000 nuclear weapons each one exceeding exponentially the explosive power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

We remember neither to establish justice with this past, nor to console,  nor to inflame, for where is justice to be found in all that destruction, what can console us for all those killings, and why would be wish to repeat that violence of fire and ashes?  There will be no closing of those accounts.  We remember, rather, at each commemoration, the familiar message of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:   Never Again.    We resolve again individually and collectively to stand against killing.   Ahimsa declared Gandhi:  Do Not Kill, a-himsa: No killing.   That is our foundation.    Not passively, not out of fatigue or timidity, but because we have chosen to be different from those who kill, especially those who order the killings.  Another form of love in action.    Thus we remember to prevent violence with all of our resources; to reject vengeance and retaliation; to rescue the vulnerable people and animals; to build shelters and feed the refugees; to refuse defense as a ruse for war.   Out of these actions for peace, we will grow a nurturing world.

Finally, why for Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance do we remember the fire-bombing destruction of Kobe?  The answer is simple.  The US decision to annihilate Hiroshima and Nagasaki was only part of the larger plan to destroy Japanese cities and to slaughter and terrorize their citizens.   The same policy prevailed in the hideous bombings and fire-bombings of German cities.   These bombings killed some 800,000 noncombatants in Germany and Japan, and injured hundreds of thousands of civilians.  We remember them all, swearing a vow of resistance to the war crimes of air war.

1 comment:

section9 said...

What tommyrot.

You write as if the Japanese were helpless victims. They were not.

Their government had pursued a war of vicious conquest and imperialism, punctuated by genocidal war crimes, throughout Asia. The Japanese people supported that government.

At the end of the day, the atomic bombings were necessary to forestall Operation DOWNFALL, the invasion of Japan. This is something peace activists and revisionists never consider.

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)