The Atomic Bomb and its victims
The flames of their lives still shine brightly through their strength and resolve.
In August 1945 the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
What unspeakable suffering did these atomic bombs leave in their wake? Stories of the tragedies have been told many times. Those who survived the atomic bombings are now in their twilight years. Many of the atomic bomb victims have lived long, hard and painful years since those fateful days in August, 1945. Many lost their entire families and struggled through the rest of their lives alone, with no close kin to give support or sympathy. Some became crippled by radiation poisoning and had to forgo love and marriage. Many suffered dreadful trauma and have struggled through life with painful memories.
The ever-decreasing numbers of A-bomb victims are now in their final years, but for many the flames of passion still burn brightly within their hearts.
After decades of physical suffering, neglect and discrimination, what stories do they have to tell?
This is a documentary about survivors and their stories of those who didn’t survive.
Not all atomic bomb victims were Japanese.
Besides the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this documentary also looks at A-bomb victims from Korea and the Netherlands.
It is estimated that 66,000 in Hiroshima and 30,000 in Nagasaki died immediately, or by the end of August, 1945. Estimates vary but by 1950 Hiroshima had recorded 200,000 A-bomb deaths and Nagasaki 140,000. A further 250,000 Japanese have been recognized as “hibakusha” or official victims of the atomic bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Little known is that some 40,000 Korean laborers and workers were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on those fateful days. Over 20,000 Koreans are estimated to have died in the bombings, or soon after.
A POW work-camp holding 195 Allied prisoners was near the epicenter of the Nagasaki atomic-bomb blast. Seven of the British, Dutch and Australian POWS died in the blast.
What did these POWs witness in Nagasaki on that fateful day, far from the safety and security of their homelands? How has that experience affected their lives and what memories have lingered to this day? Their stories differ from the experiences of typical Japanese atomic bomb survivors, or even their fellow victims, the Koreans.
Producer Shizu Azuma was born in 1975. Azuma’s 2007 “The Women the War Left Behind” is a documentary about a war-displaced Japanese woman who was left behind in Manchuria, after Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II. It was her first film and this film was screened at cinema theaters in Japan, international and domestic film festivals.
In 2009, an emerging artists fellowship from Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, allowed Azuma to hone her craft in Paris, France.
While in Europe, Azuma studied the persecution of European Jews in World War II, from the early round-ups, to its culmination in the unspeakable Holocaust where 6 million died.
Those facts reminded Azuma of the tragedy of atomic bombs dropped on Japan and motivated her to make this documentary, as her second film.
Almost 70 years after the A-bombings, Azuma set out to record the histories and memories of surviving victims, many of whom experienced a lifetime of almost insurmountable difficulties and unimaginable loss initiated by those few seconds of horror as the atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Photographed & Directed by Shizu Azuma
Sound Engineer: Yasuhiro Nagamine
Music: Heigo Yokouchi
Film Title Design: Hicozoh Akamatsu
Produced & Released by Ichigu-sha Co., Ltd, S.A. Productions
Sponsored by Agency for Cultural Affairs
2013/ Japan/ 116 minutes/ Color