White Light\Black Rain: The Destruction Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

Synopsis: As global tensions rise, the unthinkable threat of nuclear war has become very real--and very frightening. Through the powerful recollections of the survivors of the atomic bombs that leveled two Japanese cities in 1945, this film presents a deeply moving look at the painful legacy of the first--and hopefully last--uses of thermonuclear weapons in war. Directed by Oscar(R)-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki (1990's 'Days of Waiting'), 'White Light, Black Rain' provides a comprehensive, moving account of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the unique points of view of the people, both Japanese and American, who were there.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Steven Okazaki
Production: HBO
  Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
86 min

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What historical event

occurred on August 6, 1945?

l don't know. Do you?

l'm bad at history.

l don't know.

l don't know.

l don't know.

l don't know.

Do you?

We don't know.

Something important


An earthquake?

For a very long time,

l was afraid

to talk about

my experience.

Why did l survive?

l was so close

to ground zero

l've come to realize

the reason l'm alive

is to tell people

what happened,

so they'll understand.

A popular magazine

asked me

to create a comic

about my life.

The response

was so great

the editor asked me

to turn it into

a full-length project.

That's how ''Barefoot Gen''

got started.

The bright flash.

We were hit by the blast.

l was 6 years old.

l remember it so well.

lt had such a huge

impact on my life.

l remember every detail.

lf l had to recreate it

as a movie set, l could.

At the time,

l was 10 years old.

And l was 9.

Our orphanage

had about 20 babies.

We were the oldest kids,

so we had to help

with the infants--

washing and folding

the diapers.

We were friends

before the bomb.

Since we were

little, right?

We grew up together.

Our bond

comes from eating out

of the same pot everyday.

l was in the first grade

when the war began.

The war dominates

every single memory.

l really don't have

any happy memories.

All l remember

is the fear

and the running

and hiding.

The memory of

being with my family

has faded away.

l carried this pain

in my heart

that l couldn't

talk about.

Even now,

l can't say

my sister's name aloud.

lt hurts too much.

l was 1 3 at the time.

No one was allowed to

see the emperor's face.

He was considered

a descendant of God.

At school, there was

a portrait of him.

We would bow

and pay our respects.

That was

the Japanese way.

l was 20 years old.

l was a university student.

As men,

lt was our duty

to go to war--

to die,

to fall like petals

off a flower--

that was our destiny.

The army was in Hiroshima,

so whenever the soldiers

passed us

we had to bow to them.

The air was full

of patriotism.

Bravely, l left my hometown

and went off to war.

ln 1945, l was a doctor

at Hiroshima

Army Hospital.

At the start of

the war with America

many Japanese

were excited

believing that

we were winning.

But then...

their sons began dying,

one after another.

Mothers and wives

began to feel

an increasing anxiety

as the war continued.

Though the government kept

saying we were winning,

the people realized

Japan couldn't win.

Even as kids we understood,

we were losing the war.

Any fool could see it.

We didn't have anything.

We needed everything.

We didn't even have shoes.

How could we win the war?

Lets see, at the time,

l was 8 years old.

During the war,

Japan confiscated all of Korea's rice.

So there was nothing

for Koreans to eat.

They had to come here

or starve.

That's how l encountered

the bomb.

There was a slogan

that said:

''Desire nothing,

until we win the war.''

Everyday, combat

planes flew over,

but we just

continued playing.

Each airplane had

a particular sound.

l could tell the difference.


from morning to night

we heard air raid sirens,

but Hiroshima

wasn't bombed.

l wasn't afraid.

Even when

the B-29s flew over,

l would just say,

''Oh, there's an airplane.''

Hiroshima was fairly safe

until the atomic bomb.

On the day of the bomb,

the air raid

siren sounded,

but then it

was cancelled.

So everyone came out

and went on with the day.

l was 14 years old.

l was digging out

an air raid shelter

in preparation

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Steven Okazaki

Steven Toll Okazaki (born March 12, 1952 in Venice, California) is an American filmmaker. He is Sansei Japanese American (3rd generation) and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has received a Peabody Award and been nominated for four Academy Awards, winning an Oscar for the documentary short subject, Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo (1990). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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