Saturday, August 06, 2005

It Was Sixty Years Ago Today: Hiroshima

The A-Bomb Dome
Originally uploaded by Shamrocks!.

This structure was almost at ground zero of the first nuclear attack at Hiroshima.

It was an amazing experience to visit Hiroshima. It is probably the most beautiful of all the cities I saw in Japan (maybe tied with Kyoto), because of its wide open spaces and parks.

One thing that really struck me while I was at Hiroshima, and for that matter in Japan, was that there is this impression that Japan was another victim of World War II. The horrors of the nuclear attack are plain to anyone who enters the Peace Museum and of course hundreds of thousands died, but it seems that certain things have been tucked under the rug.

At the Peace Museum in Hiroshima there is little pre-bomb history, or for that matter any real emphasis on Pearl Harbor, the Rape of Nanjing, or the occupation almost the entire Far East. Instead, the museum focuses on strictly the Japanese suffering from the war. Visitors are baffled by theories that the US was eager to try out their new bombs on a 'non-white' race. There is little mention of the US experience in Okinawa, where the Okinawans were told to kill themselves rather than be under US occupation-Over 100,000 died, many at the hands of their own relatives and Japanese soldiers. War planners knew there an invasion of Japan would result in a huge group suicide.

It would appear that Japan only concluded that war is wrong singularly because of its own experience, and not because of the suffering it inflicted.

Today I think it is worth remembering Hiroshima's awful experience and the victims who were roasted alive at 3000 Celsius. It also worth remembering the victims of Japan's horrible imperialist nightmare-a nightmare that still haunts the Far East today.

UPDATE: An ignoramus weighs in. Matt should first visit Hiroshima.....but then he believes going all over Europe counts as having been all over the world.

No comments: