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The Hiroshima bomb Essay

The Hiroshima bomb, dropped in (insert year, i forget which) was a deadly atomic bomb that drastically affected the lives of Japanese citizens in both novels and in reality. In the fictional novel, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, written by Gail Tsukiyama, the author portrays a very accurate perspective of the Japanese and their experiences during World War II. The tragedies that are descriptively discussed in this novel similarly resemble the incidents that occurred to the Japanese victims during World War II. The Japanese suffered extremely throughout the few years of the war. They went through periods of starvation and psychological devastation when the economy spiraled downwards.The financial state of the Japanese suffered a terrible blow as a result of the large amounts of invested money put into the military in hopes of expanding the imperialism ideology. In the novel, Hiroshi could not understand why “Yanaka’s alleyways were crowded with women and children who lined up and waited for hours for meagre rations of rice and salted fish. (Tsukiyama 51)”

After the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the American embargoes stopped all the needed resources in Japan. The American oil embargo caused a crisis in Japan. Reliant on the US for 80% of its oil, the Japanese were forced to decide between withdrawing from China, negotiating an end to the conflict, or going to war to obtain the needed resources elsewhere (embedded http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/wwiipaccauses.htm). “…Hiroshi couldn’t remember the last time they had any meat or fresh fish to eat. He and Kenji ate more and more slowly, trying to make what little they had in their bowls last longer. (Tsukiyama 69)” All the villagers in Yanaka, including Hiroshi were not accustomed to povertybecause of the luxurious lives they lived before the crisis occured. Now, they “fear and dread of the war and their increasing hunger weighs heavily on everyone’s minds (Tsukiyama 69)”.

Because of the second Sino-Japanese war, the Japanese had to cut down imports of goods to pay for the materials for railway and ship building industries. The American embargoes prevented any goods from being exported to Japan. Therefore, Japan began to have a shortage of food and other necessities. This caused havoc in Japan which was vividly portrayed in the novel, when Hiroshi and his family struggle to survive and ration each of their resources. Satoko Matsumoto, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing stated, “One after another, people died, some of them with a cry for water on their lips (Embedded p31 Harris)” Matsumoto’s state was very similar to Hiroshi’s perspective as everyone solely cares about is the hunger that’s assaulting their stomach. As if the starvation running rampant in the country was not devastating enough, the bombing on Hiroshima plunged Japan into further chaos.

The bombing of Hiroshima killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese citizens. The survivors were forced to lose many loved ones, and scarring their lives forever. In the {insert novel name}, Kenji and Haru were both present during the dropping of the bomb and their thoughts reflected the same ones as citizens who experienced the catastrophe in reality. The author states, “Can you imagine a wind so strong that it ripped a man’s face away where he stood? Can you imagine how internal organs exploded, clothes and bodies burst into flames, disintegrated on the spot? Can you envision a mushroom cloud formed by smoke and debris that could be seen for miles by the naked eye, followed by a black rain falling, black tears they called it, radiation spreading in its wake? Those who died were the lucky ones; those who lived through it would never be the same. (Tsukiyama 140)”

These memories will always haunt Haru’s mind as even 3 years later, she “still felt a sharp burning in her palms and the tips of her fingers, and suddenly the three years disappeared and she was twelve years old again, hooking her arm through Aki’s as they ran and ran, their eyes stinging, lungs burning, running through the thick acrid smoke back to the stable, running fast so that her little sister wouldn’t see the burned bodies writhing in agony, pleading for water. (Tsukiyama 181) The fire weakened Haru’s vision and her hands were paralyzed. Her sister Aki suffered hair loss due to the radiation caused by the bomb. As of November 1945, an estimated 130,000 were dead. Both Haru and Aki suffered through the symptoms due to radioactive rays. Aki later died of Leukemia and left Haru behind devastated. Katsuko Horibe was a teacher at Honkawa Elementary School when the incident happened. “Seven Honkawa students, burning and bleeding, their uniforms in tatters and strips of skin hanging from their bodies, lay crying in agony.

The children had been playing hide-and-seek when the bomb found them.” (embedded) The horrific memories of Horibe were concealed in her mind just like Aki and Haru until the day she died. “Blood was caked on her skin and clothes, as she was starting to feel intense pain.” (embedded) Seven year old Michiko Kodoma’s classmates were playing outside when it happened. “Kodoma says what she witnessed next are horrors that no child should ever experience. ‘[There were] people whose eyeballs had popped out their sockets. There were those who held their babies – burnt black; they themselves had no skin.

There were those whose intestines had come out of their bodies, and confused they struggled to put them back in.’” (embedded) The visions that Michiko saw were exactly what Haru tried to prevent Aki from witnessing. Uragashira, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing as well as the Nagasaki bombing 3 days later recalled, “I still remember the smell of charred bodies and the weak screams of the dying, for water… Even if I suffer dementia, I will never forget it.” (Embedded) This proves how gruesome and appalling the disaster was. Tsukiyama graphically portrayed these dreadful and terrifying memories through the words of Haru and the voices of the dead. Her interpretations of the suffrage of the Japanese were very concise and accurate.


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