My husband and I watch a couple movies a week together – mostly those that he picks out. This week we watched Michael Moore’s “Sicko”, which helped Yoshi to feel superior about Japan’s health care system, and “Home of the Brave,” which helped Yoshi to feel superior about “peaceful Japan.”
To make things clear, I am all in favor in Universal Health Care in the United States and I am against the war in Iraq. But I think it’s good and right that Americans feel free to address what’s wrong with the country in film, literature and other art forms. I don’t think that happens so much in Japan.
At my daughter’s school festival last year, there was a play about Hiroshima. During the play, the characters were innocently going about their lives when, suddenly, for seemingly no reason, a bomb drops out of the sky and ruins everyone’s lives. I believe – for the record – that the dropping of the atomic bomb was unnecessary and gratuitous and tragic. But I dislike the Japanese tendency to whitewash the past and paint themselves as completely innocent.
This evening, my son saw a preview on TV of a movie about World War II which takes place in Korea. In the movie, Japanese soldiers were doing bad things to Korean people. Of course my son was curious, so we got into a conversation about WWII, in which I mentioned the Japanese Occupation, Pearl Harbor and the atomic bomb. I don’t want him to be ashamed of being Japanese OR American, but I don’t want him to grow up thinking that Japan (or America, for that matter) was entirely innocent. I always tell him that the U.S. and Japan are friends now, and that my love for his father is sort of a manifestation of that.
But I wonder how other Japanese/American couples talk about Hiroshima with their children.