After Nagasaki: Examining the Cultural Fallout

Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, the second of two atomic-bomb strikes on Japan that ended World War II. In the past, we've looked at the physical and political impact of the attacks, but today, we focus on their impact on Japanese culture.

'Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture'

"Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture" explores the relationship between the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and contemporary art in Japan. Sheldan Collins hide caption

itoggle caption Sheldan Collins

One of Japan's leading artists, Takashi Murakami, argues that the country's military defeat and its ensuing dependence on the United States has led to cultural icons ranging from the monster Godzilla to the cute (and mute) Hello Kitty and influenced the development of video games and anime in Japan.

Murakami curated a recent exhibit in New York City titled "Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture." "Little Boy" is the name given to both the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Murakami's view of the relationship between Japan and the United States in the years since.

We examine the cultural fallout of the bomb with a curator from the Japan Society in New York, a Duke University professor and a Japanese filmmaker who talked with both U.S. and Japanese teenagers about the bomb.

Guests:

Linda Hoaglund, senior film curator for the Japan Society; working on a fall film series called "After War"; and translator for the Japan Society's "Little Boy" exhibit

Marianna Torgovnick, cultural critic and professor at Duke University; author of The War Complex: World War II in Our Time

Ayana Osada, co-producer of the documentary Original Child Bomb about the human cost of the nuclear bomb, airing on the Sundance Channel

Books Featured In This Story

The War Complex

World War II In Our Time

by Marianna Torgovnick

Hardcover, 209 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
The War Complex
Subtitle
World War II In Our Time
Author
Marianna Torgovnick

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.