|Hiroshima: Some help would be appreciated
||[Apr. 1st, 2006|04:15 pm]
My name is Molly and I'm doing an honors project for my Collective Trauma class on the Hiroshima a-bomb. I've already researched the bombing and written a report on it. Right now I'm working on developing a thesis for a second report that explores how Hiroshima memorialized the incident.
I've found a lot of official (like the official Hiroshima page) and tourist sources on the memorial but I'm looking for something that goes deeper. I'd be very interested to know if there were any Hiroshima citizens who opposed the message of the memorial or who wanted the memorial to be different. Really, I want to know the politics behind the memorial and if that message has changed at all in generations today.
I was wondering if any of you had any sources that I could use. I'm mostly looking for printed sources instead of web sources because I have a limit to the amount of web sources I can use. Still, I'd be grateful for anything because I've been struggling to find useable information.
So far I've read the Hiroshima Maidens, Hiroshima (John Hersey), and Shockwave by Walker. None of them have really focused on the memorial but instead of the bombing and politics behind the dropping of the bomb.
It'd be great if any of you know of a citizen of Hiroshima I could contact about this. Not necessarily a victim of the bomb since there are very few left. But I'd like to get a citizen's point of view on the memorial.
There are several memorials in Hiroshima. There's the peace park, the plaque at ground zero the children's memorial, the bell (I can't remember it's title) the dome, the shrine, the pool, and Sadako's statue. Ever since I was little, I wanted to see Sadako's memorial because my fifth-grade class read "sadako and the thousand paper cranes" and folded cranes to be sent there. Sadako was a young girl who died of leukemia years after the bomb had struck, so I recommend this book to you, even though it's written as a novel it conveys many of the feelings after the incident.
In 2004, my family and I went to Hiroshima. We stayed in a Ryokan (Japanese Inn) called the "New Kikusui" run by a super sweet 65 year old man who'd lived in Hiroshima all his life. His kindness nearly made us cry that he would be so wonderful and welcoming to American guests such as ourselves. As of 2004, the email was email@example.com I also have the address, fax and telephone numbers if this doesn't work.
About the peace park and museam, everything is in many languages to reach out universally and show through symbolism and story-telling what happened and how it should never happen again. I have to say, I've also been to the holocaut museum and garde of rememberance. I left those feeling sad, scared and angry at what happened and the people who did it. The peace park left me sad, but hopeful that peace was a real possibility, that we can learn from our mistakes and work together. I felt that if all of the world's leaders were to spend a day, with no camera crews for photo ops, no advisors to color their views of the day, just a guide, to show them where things are--if they spent a day in Hiroshima, no one would ever call for war again. I won't describe the exhibits since I'm sure you've read about what they are, but the last room was the most powerful for me. Under relics such as a scorched school girl's uniform were books of stories from survivors (electronic and translated of course) there, I read about a man trying to find his sister and helping as many people as he could along the way, doctors working for days with out rest, a grandmother sorrowfully proclaiming that the americans must be evil to send such horrors on anyone. It was difficult to find a dry eye in the room. But there was no anger. This was not about making people feel guilty. It was about making people feel real. Every life matters, there is no reason good enough to start a war, not revenge, not dominion--killing civilians doesn't help anything. Yes, this was a factory town working for the war effort, but the factory workers don't deserve to die or burn or watch their daughters burn. I can't imagine any controversy that would be connected with these memorials (although in October 2003, someone defaced the ground zero plaque and burned the cranes at Sadako's memorial, I don't know why). The message that they all clearly convey is just what they say- Peace.
Sorry for the length.
Don't apologize. I want to thank you for the help you've given me.
As for contacting the man you mentioned. Do you feel it would be disrespectful for me as a stranger over the internet to just randomly ask him how he felt about Hiroshima? I don't want to appear disrespectful or callous.
I'm not sure I have time to send him a letter and recieve a reply.
He's a very kind man. I think aking wouldn't be a problem. Just make sure you recommend his ryokan to any friends going to Hiroshima (^-^). Just make sure you explain who you are, what you're doing and why. Tell him someone who stayed in his ryokan and found him very friendly and kind gave you his address. He doesn't have to reply after all and you can also ask if he knows anyone who would be willing to write to you.
Two sources that you might find helpful in terms of issues of trauma are:
Beclouded visions: Hiroshima-Nagasaki and the Art of Witness, by Kyo Maclear
Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory: From Auschwitz to Hiroshima to September 11, by Gene Ray
Both deal with issues of trauma. The Kyo Maclear spends a lot of time looking at how the bomb effected citizens of the city directly. The Gene Ray looks at how the trauma of Hiroshima became part of a metaphorical language used to discuss the September 11th tragedy. Both are excellent and valuable sources, if you can find them. Worth at least being aware of, regardless of whether or not you use them as citations.
Best of luck to you.