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Hiroshima and Nagasaki evoke powerful and sombre associations of holocaust and apocalypse, a vision that gave rise to the Japanese subgenre of cinema, "hibakusha", which dealt with the atom bombings. Fifty years later, have post-war generations come to terms with the bomb and what "Hiroshima means? "Hibakusha Cinema" focusses critical interest upon a rarely discussed yet vitally important feature of Japanese cinema. Assembled chronologically, the anthology provides an historical approach to the "hibakusha" genre within its social context. Rare and older commentary is combined with new writing specially commissioned for this work. The essays explore the "meta"textuality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki via film and television renderings of "hibakusha" experiences, as well as Japanese projections of future nuclear wars. Uniquely, the work assesses both documentary and drama films made under stringent Occupation censorship, the historical docudramas of the 1950s and 1980s, and the prolific, though critically neglected, nuclear monster subgenre and apocalyptic "manga" films and videos.
The collection represents a potent mix of Japanese and Western (pan-Pacific) scholarship which harnesses multidisciplinary methodologies ranging from close textual analysis, archival and historical argument, anthropological assessment, literary and film comparative analyses through to psychological and ideological hermeneutics.