2019: Echoes of the Past on the Atomic Field

Hiroshima & Nagasaki 2019

The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 17 | Issue 16 | Number 2 | Aug 15, 2019
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

Echoes of the Past on the Atomic Field: Water please!
Gwyn McClelland


The material introduced here is a re-working of a chapter from my monograph, Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki: Prayers, Protests and Catholic Survivor Narratives, Routledge (2019), which discusses the symbolism around water and a ‘cry for water’ in the aftermath of the atomic bombing. Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki is a collective biography of twelve survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, including nine Catholic survivors in which I employ a ‘political theology’ as framework to interpret the survivor narratives, showing that their memory upholds the historiography of Nagasaki as distinctive from Hiroshima. Survivor testimony subtly subverts the notion that the atomic bombings made Japan a victim, as Catholics were already victims of prejudice and persecutions carried out by the magistrate on behalf of the Tokugawa and Meiji authorities. Their memory is also dangerous to dominant Catholic narratives which argue that the atomic bomb could be understood as providential, and I argue in the book that survivors are angry, dispelling a common perception that Nagasaki Catholics show passivity, exhibiting no sense of resistance, and therefore lack agency.....

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