22 January 2015

Remembering the Bomb: Promotional Materials for 'Hachigatsu no Kyoushikyoku' and 'Blast from the Past'

As the actual events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki receded in time, each new generation grappled with the memory and reconciliation of the past. Hachigatsu no Kyoushikyoku (also known Hachigatsu no Rapusodi) was released under the title Rapsodia en Agosto in Spain in 1991 or 1992 (the film premiered in Japan and most countries in 1991). A series of lobby cards were distributed by the production company as advertisements to display in theatres that were showing the film. One card in particular emphasises a key theme of the film, which is the complex relationship between three generations of a Japanese family: grandmother Kane, who is a Nagasaki hibakusha, or bomb survivor, her children (who are now middle aged adults), and her grandchildren.

01 January 2015

Making the Bomb: Promotional Materials for 'Taiyo wo Nusunda Otoko' and 'The Manhattan Project'

While some of the earlier atomic bomb films are on a theme of fear, as nuclear weapons expanded beyond the USA and USSR several films turned to the theme of proliferation. In this essay, we’ll take a quick look at how one Japanese film, Taiyo wo Nusunda Otoko, and one American film, The Manhattan Project, on this theme were promoted. Both feature an individual who builds their own atomic bomb. Turning first to the Japanese film, below is a small poster issued by the production company, Kitty Films, in 1979 upon the release of Taiyo in Japan. Note what appears to be a quote at the bottom from actor Kenji Sawada (who plays the bomb builder Makoto Kido) that says: 'Even in Japan there is a man making an atomic bomb!’