- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd; First Edition edition (July 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714530077
- ISBN-13: 978-0714530079
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,172,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hiroshima Notes Hardcover – July 1, 2000
From Publishers Weekly
Japanese novelist Oe, who won a Nobel Prize in 1994, wrote these searching essays between 1963 and 1965, when he made frequent visits to the rebuilt city of Hiroshima and interviewed survivors. The collection, now reissued on the 50th anniversary of the bombing, examines the moral and political implications of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Oe explores how A-bomb survivors maintained their dignity despite shattered health resulting from radiation exposure. He writes about the courage of Hiroshima's doctors and nurses who engaged in emergency efforts despite their own afflictions. He also reports on the Japanese movement to ban nuclear weapons, and divulges that medical authorities in Japan suppressed or withheld evidence of the link between radiation exposure and leukemia. The impact of this grim report is enhanced by its calm restraint and the spare, evocative line drawings.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese
Top Customer Reviews
The central figure of the essays is Dr. Fumio Shigeta, a medical doctor who was in Hiroshima on the day the A-bomb was dropped. He happened to arrive in the city to take up a new post just a week before the day of the bombing. It is through Dr. Shigeta that Oe learns how the bomb victims become social outcasts, have difficulties finding marital partners, get divorced because they cannot have children, hide in shame in the back-rooms of their houses for years, and commit suicide or go insane upon learning that they are diagnosed as having "an A-bomb disease". In the midst of this pain and suffering, Dr. Shigeta patiently applies his medical skills to help the victims. He ignores the stigma placed on the victims by Japanese society, and for him there is no taboo on issues like the genetic effects of the radiation.
Dr. Shigeta is the "authentic man" for Oe, a person who is "humanist in the truest sense ¡V neither too wildly desperate nor too vainly hopeful". A man of modesty, patience and perseverance, Dr.Read more ›
Don't look for Oe's characteristically bizarre, visceral prose style in these essays. At least in translation, they are written simply and declaratively, with extended passages of quotation from writings and interviews of the Hiroshima survivors themselves. Still, Oe's perceptions are complex and multi-faceted, not always consistent, and not always palatable to an "outside person" - a "gai jin" - particularly to an American who may be ready to defend the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of the two previous reviewers here on the River expresses that patriotic dudgeon quite vehemently. Oe - let's be honest! - regards the bombing as a crime against humanity comparable to the German genocide camps. [Please don't lambaste me in comments; I'm merely reporting, not advocating.]
In the preface to the first republication of Hiroshima Notes as a book, Oe wrote: "The realities of Hiroshima can be forgotten only by those who dare to be deaf, dumb, and blind to them." Read that sentence several times! It's not as straightforward as it seems. Why "dare"?Read more ›