The truth about living in Japan

Beyond the picturesque mountainscapes and vibrant red Tori gates lies a world of concrete skyscrapers and fashion victims.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The truth about Hiroshima

I had terrible nightmares of Atomic weapons growing up as a child of the cold war and I avoided studying World War 2 in high school history as it troubled me. As a result, I never understood how or why Japan came to be an enemy in a war that was against the Nazis in Germany.

I learned, in visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, that before the Atomic bombing, Japan was at war with China and was spending 80% of its national economy on military spending. The people of Japan were forced into working to support the war. Children as young as 13 (boys and girls) worked in manufacturing, school children were given military training disguised as exercise, to have them ready for deployment. Clothing and Food items were rationed severely, with families given coupons and dressed in uniforms. The people of Japan were suffering under the control of their own government, who was even trying to enforce Mind Control to curb any anti-war intentions.

Hiroshima was a city populated by workers. Before the bomb destroyed the city, the government released an air raid warning and school children, those too young to work in the manufacturing plants, were evacuated. Those 13 or older stayed behind to continue working to support the war.

Before visiting the museum, I knew only the rhetoric that Japan was out of control during World War 2 in their bid for world domination. They wouldn’t listen to reason, nothing could be done and there was nothing left to do, someone had to take action and the US dropped the bomb on Hiroshima that ended the war.

While it can be argued that no one knew what the effects of the atomic bomb on a populated city would be, I’ve never felt satisfied with the arguments for killing so many people. As described in the peace museum, there had never before been such a mass slaughter of people in one moment, and I wonder if there has been anything like it since, other than in Nagasaki, the recipient of the other A-bomb dropped three days after.

The museum in Hiroshima contains letters, diary entries and documents from the US side, clearly showing that the bombs were dropped precisely because the effects were not known. In fact, the 2 bombs dropped on Japan were not even the same type of A-bomb. One was Uranium and the other Plutonium. Japan and the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were used as Guinea Pigs. The US claimed there were no choices, but from reading the correspondences between various US officials, it’s obvious there were other choices. Also evident is the written declaration that no warning was issued. Many US officials felt that a warning, and a demonstration of the effects of the A-bomb before one was deployed, would give the Japanese government the chance to make an informed decision, but regarding the use of the A-bomb, Japan never had that chance.

The people of Japan had no idea what they were facing. So when the radiation-filled black rain began to fall in the days following the destruction of Hiroshima, those still living in the devastation, living with coarse, dry throats, dying of thirst and severe burns, opened their mouths to the rain and lapped up paddles of black water, only to become violently ill and if the burns didn’t kill them slowly the ensuing cancer surely did.

White wall stained by black rain

Hiroshima was chosen as a candidate because it was populated by workers, and plenty of them. Plenty, that is, of children aged 13 and 14 working in the manufacturing plants. A list of potential targets had Hiroshima at number 1 position. Kyoto, a potentially more politically strategic target had been wiped from the list because the US wanted to occupy Japan immediately following the bombings, and they knew that bombing Kyoto would be too nationally sensitive and might stop the Japanese government from submitting to the US. Worse, they might have surrendered to the Russians, instead.

The bombs were dropped hastily, in fact the US government was concerned the Japanese might surrender before the US had a chance to test their weapons. Globally, there was a race for supremacy. I’m amazed, now I think about it, that all at the same time every one wanted the grand title of number 1. The Nazis wanted it, Japan wanted it, the Russians wanted it and the US wanted it too. It looks like the US won, but only because they gave Einstein sanctuary from the Germans. There are so many ways World War 2 could have played out, if only small details had been different, or timelines hadn’t intersected each other so exactly. Regardless, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the race in a shocking climax.

Victims of terrible burning in makeshift hospitals

We now know, because those two bombs were dropped and we have seen what happened, how destructive and horrifying Atomic warfare is. Despite it, following World War 2, Russia and the US raced to dominate the world through a steady build-up of Nuclear Weapons they could use to threaten each other and this led to that Cold War and the nightmare visions I had as a child of Reagan and the little red-button that I imagined would destroy us all. The Cold War ended in the 80s and yet, still, these countries and now Britain, India, Pakistan, France and China (and possibly others) have joined the fray.

Every time a nuclear weapon is tested, the Mayor of Hiroshima writes a letter in protest trying to remind the leaders of these countries of the atrocities of the weapons that they continue to build. Why can’t we just take it from those who know, it’s NEVER going to be justifiable to use that kind of weapon again, it certainly wasn’t justifiable the first 2 times. So much for weapons of Mass Destruction, those in glass houses etc. The US remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons in warfare, I hope the mistake is never repeated, but how can we ever be sure when the technology and the weapons continue to be developed?

The last of Sadako's paper cranes, and the ones that will never be folded


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At 8:10 am, Blogger u2r2h said...

I assembled more info HERE

for your edification.

When asked, many US americans don't even know that THEIR country nuclear-bombed cities with civilians.

Do the test:

"Which country has nuclear-bombed cities?"

Answer: Iraq.

I kid you not.

At 9:39 am, Blogger Youssef Sleiman said...

I noticed your most recent post was a few months ago, but with several posts before it. I’m an American researching the possibility that all world governments are doling out propaganda about all kinds of things. My field is in the U.S. now; but I wanted to learn about Japan. I found your site by googling “The truth about Japan.” You’re the first honest blogger I’ve found in a long time. Your profile lists you in Australia. Let me know if you’re going to continue posting about life in Japan – because there is an audience. I'm wanting to learn.

At 8:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 8:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site!After reading it,I know more about the world's history and thank you for letting me learn more!

At 11:02 am, Blogger said...

The atomic bombs always made sad how innocent people are taken advantage of by war-hungry governments. The few that hold power overrule the peaceful majority. Even though Japanese actions make me angry, those poor civilians should not have died. The US should not have used such a thing. Instead of killing innocent people, the few evil men who designed horrible acts of war should have been captured, tried and killed.

At 5:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a terribly written and researched article with a biased anti-American American counter culture conspiracy theorist vision. Japan was well informed of the Atomic bomb and that the US Military would be using it if Japan did not agree to an unconditional surrender. Aside from that Japan's military and government was committing atrocities that was killing million's in occupied territories including allied forces. Japan never would have surrendered to Russia just as Germany did not. The entire shock of the A-bomb seems to surround itself in the ability to kill large masses of people in a half second. So quickly they didn't know. Killing is horrific and conventional warfare was just as bad. The after math that followed was terrible but testing the bomb in the dessert never lead to the finding's of "black rain" because there is no precipitation in the Nevada sky for it to collect in. The Japanese government and military where so committed to not surrendering that the US had to drop another A-bomb. These bombings saved millions more lives worldwide and Japan and brought an unjust government to justice paving the way for a peaceful society that respects its citizens today. Much as we have. Thank god Eienstein and other German scientist made it to the US and helped build us a better society. Are you a liberal??

At 6:04 am, Anonymous said...

Additionally, look at your statement and logically ask your self why people where removed from Hiroshima? They where moved because the government new it was going to get bombed. Secondly, Japan and even Germany for that matter could have achieved their war raging goals simply by not bombing the US. Lastly, seems you are an Austrailian. Did you know Japan had invaded your country and was committing genocide? Do you think they where going to stop? Your president died from putting exhaustive hours into defending your country and working with the US? You should be grateful the US government and servicemen where fully committed to ending the war and promoting world peace.

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At 10:03 pm, Blogger Matthew Steggles said...

In spite of a few historical inaccuracies, I think the writer's article on the "truth about Hiroshima" is a fair and balanced review. She criticises the Japanese fascist government as much as she criticises America's actions during the war.

Whether or not the Japanese government knew the bomb was going to be dropped doesn't make what the Americans did right. And the justifications given here are just the same as the white lies peddled by Truman and his cronies at the time "it stopped the war... it saved American and Chinese lives." Who cares? A war crime is a war crime and there is no justification. The rape of Nanjing was a crime. The siege of Leningrad was a war crime. The bombing of Dresden was a war crime. What's the fundamental difference besides a justification provided for the actions of the side that won the war and has written the history books?

If the A-bomb can be justified as moral, then any nation has a right to use weapons in order to end a war and win the peace. Based on this reasoning any action is justifiable. The Japanese army can justify the rape of Nanking by saying the slaughtering the population helped the war effort and saved their troops lives (it prevented a long drawn out battle and more destruction to the town.

Two wrongs don't make a right. If the Japanese government knew the bomb was going to be dropped (and no sources/evidence are cited to back up this claim by those here btw), then they certainly wouldn't have told their citizens that this was going to happened. If the Japanese people had known what was coming they might have acted get of their government like the German generals did with Hitler.

It seems like the only brainwashed people responding to this blog are idiot Americans who don't want to her the truth about their country. The worse type of racism is jingoism. This is what is being demonstrated here.If America is so great, their people blessed by God, and are so righteous, then why are they so offended when someone heaps justifiable criticism on what their government does.

At 10:04 pm, Blogger Matthew Steggles said...

The dropping of the bomb was wrong. There were other options. As time has passed, there has been growing recognition in the community that the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime. It was not to save Allied lives as the spin the infamous President Truman and his bloodthirsty cabinet put on it would have us believe (and the jingoistic yankee idiots here say. This was a nice white like masking the US's true intentions. The end of war with Japan was brought on by the entry of the Soviet Union into the conflict. The use of the atomic weapons was a way of positioning the US as the dominant power in the post war period.

Japanese culture is not a cult. American culture is. Every nation that does not prostrate itself to America and tear down its borders to allow MacDonald’s, Nike etc. and all the rest of it build their factories there to utilise the cheap labour is an "enemy" or a "pariah state". More people in Latin/South America, Asia, Africa etc. died as a result of the actions of murderous CIA backed and funded (if not placed into power) regimes than those who in Warsaw nations in Europe.

It always about spreading freedom and democracy and ushering in an era of human prosperity and happiness with America leading the way. It's never about US domination and advancing the interests of US imperialism. America is also benign in its actions - as these idiots here will tell you. If you are dictator sitting on oil rig then we're coming to save you our brothers and give you freedom. Too bad if you're poor and live in Zimbabwe or a banana republic. Too bad for all those millions that were slaughtered by Pinochet and all the others that the US installed. So much for the contras - that never happened. So much for murdering Diem - the President of South Vietnam - in order to escalate the war. So much for using chemical weapons on North Korea during that conflict. So much for carpet bombing and slaughtering 15 million people in South East Asia.

All this was done for the right reasons. No ulterior motives at all. And as for all that rubbish about countries competing more when they get to the top, well that's just what nation's do. China, Japan, India or whoever has a right to arm them if some idiot in Washington has drones flying over them and nukes in outer space.

As I said, the worse type of racism is jingoism (a refusal to take a fair and balanced view of your own country and government, and berate everyone else at the same). And as for all this destruction that has been brought on the world as a result of "keeping American number one as we must do because everyone else is inferior as that one racist here has said", what has all this done for the American people.

Look at the state of your country people. You've got no health care whatsoever (you have a higher rate of infant mortality than Cuba), people cannot afford an education, the economy is 20 trillion in debt, 20 million people are on or below the poverty line, 5 million people on food stamps. Nasa is closing down. What an empire. Was it all worth it. Maybe the people here are in denial and don't want to come to terms with their nation's decline.

I am Australian born, however, My country is - The truth. My flag - critical thinking. My anthem - the facts. Let us all wage a war on ignorance and racism.

At 6:13 pm, Anonymous Habbit said...

You're arguing from hindsight. The Japanese people, I can guarantee you, much rather prefer the atomic bombs dropped over the alternative of being split into two separate countries like the Russians were planning.

At 1:35 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. What happened in Japan does make my heart ache when I think about such great loss. But Japan wasn't just dragged into the war that was against the Nazis. Japan was Germany's ally and took the preemptive strike against the United States (on Pearl Harbor, killing soldiers and civilians alike). At the time, the USA was a neutral nation and was only considering whether or not they should give into peer pressure by allies like England to enter the war. Also, many feared in the USA that if they did not enter the war, the war would eventually come to their own shoreline (which Japan proved them correct). The first bomb was in fact dropped on Hiroshima, but it did not end the war as you suggest. The Japanese government was warned they would drop another if they would not surrender, but those in power in Japan at the time refused. So, the second bomb was dropped and the Japanese government surrendered. The United States didn't target 13-14 year olds, they targeted the factories that were making their weapons. You say that they evacuated the younger children, but that meant that they were given the time to evacuate in general and chose not to. A lot of the horror of what was going on inside Japan was vastly unknown until soldiers came in and saw--like Northern Japanese using Okinawan women and children as body shields--and of course years later we would discover the hideous treatment of men of POW camps. It would have been much kinder to kill them (and to say that is saying a lot). The truth is, war is a hideous and horrible thing with gruesome tales on both sides. It's true that the US generals may have been testing the effects of the nuclear weapon, as it was the first time they used it in a battle, but the caliber of the bomb didn't matter. The fact is, they were bombed and would have been bombed after Pearl Harbor regardless of whether the United States had a new bomb or not. The only difference is that the nuclear bomb ended the war with Japan almost immediately verses a long dragged out war (and I really, really hate the nuclear bomb, btw. Nuclear energy and weapons are by far the worst thing mankind has ever developed). But, that's just what happened. People did what they felt they had to do to protect their families, on both sides I'm sure. That's the sad thing about war. In the end, the ones fighting it are all people. But, in the same twist of irony, that's the very reason we have wars in the first place. Because we're all people. Again, great article. I enjoyed reading it.


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