2018: Ghosts of Hiroshima

Hiroshima & Nagasaki 2018

The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 21 | Number 3 | Oct 27, 2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis vin Japan Focus

Ghosts of Hiroshima
Charles Pellegrino

You could not make these landscapes up and have people believe it. Even as fiction, no one would believe it. That is why, for over sixty years, I kept what I saw to myself… until the day others [who] spoke about it, were called liars, [supposedly] because the atom bombs could not have happened that way. For people underneath an A-bomb to have become shadows on the wall, and charcoals, before they could fall to the ground, no one wanted to believe it. But it happened.
  • Miyuki Broadwater, a child of Nagasaki

In 1948, a former OSS agent named Walter Lord—who had interrogated (or, from a certain point of view, “interviewed”) many of Japan’s surviving naval officers—was struggling to turn a series of non-job-related interviews into his first book: A Night to Remember.

The book itself was defeating Walter. Although he now had enough material for a second book (fated to become the basis for a film titled, Tora! Tora! Tora!), he feared that neither book would ever be published. Walter had not yet found “the music of the words,” had not yet found his voice.

About the spring of that same year, he came across a novel by another struggling writer, named Morgan Robertson, who in 1898 had published a science fiction story about a futuristic luxury Atlantic steamship—the largest floating object ever built by human hands, destined to make its acquaintance with hubris and an iceberg on a cold April night, during its first and last voyage.

The novel was an obscure “penny dreadful” —which, commercially, had failed miserably. It was regarded in its day as a story-line so improbable and so contrived that no reader could be expected to suspend disbelief. As it turned out, scientific and historical reality eventually caught up with and exceeded science fiction. ...

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