Friday, May 27, 2016

the last book I ever read (Susan Southard's Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, excerpt five)

from Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard:

No specific censorship rules related directly to the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bombings, but the CCD eliminated most statements about the nuclear attacks in print and broadcast journalism, literature, films, and textbooks. Public comments that justified the U.S. use of the bombs or argued for their inevitability were sometimes permitted, but subjects that continued to be censored included technical details about the bombs’ blast, heat, and radiation; the extent of physical destruction in the two cities; death and casualty counts; personal testimonies of atomic bomb survivors; and any photographs, film footage, or reportage of survivors’ suffering from atomic bomb injuries and radiation effects. Even phrases such as “Many innocent people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki” were banned. Nagasaki named its annual commemoration of the bombing the Memorial Day for the Restoration of Peace, calling it a “culture festival” to appease U.S. officials, who believed these services were Japanese propaganda tools that indirectly called for U.S. atonement and hindered U.S. efforts to promote Japanese war guilt.

Some hibakusha writings slipped by occupation staff and were published locally in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but numerous books written by survivors were blocked from publication, including a small book by fourteen-year-old Ishida Masako, Masako taorezu [Masako Did Not Die], which described in vivid detail her memories of the Nagasaki bombing. The CCD felt the book was historically significant but banned it over the concern that it would “tear open war scars and rekindle animosity” toward the United States and tacitly indict the Nagasaki atomic bombing as a crime against humanity.

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