• Kyodo


A Japanese film depicting the struggles of a Japanese woman who survives the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of Hiroshima premiered in the United States on Thursday.

The movie, known as “Chichi To Kuraseba” in Japan and “The Face of Jizo” in the United States, was shown at a theater at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the Global Hibakusha Film Festival being held in Boston between April 14 and April 24. The festival is organized by students and teachers at Tufts University and MIT in Boston.

“The Face of Jizo” is based on a play of the same name written by Japanese playwright Hisashi Inoue, who says he hopes as many people as possible in the United States and other countries possessing nuclear weapons can see the film.

The film, directed by Kazuo Kuroki, was shown in Japan last summer.

Organizers said the festival, along with similar events, is being held due to the “need to revive,” amid the growing danger surrounding nuclear weapons, “the experiences of A-bomb survivors, known as hibakusha in Japanese, as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.

About 150 students and faculty members viewed the film. Four A-bomb survivors, who are in the United States to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in New York in May, were also present.

Daniel Levin, a former MIT professor, said he was happy about the U.S. victory in World War II but after watching the film, he felt a sense of guilt.

Hosea Hirata, who is one of the organizers and also associate chair of Tufts University’s Department of German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literatures, said: “Young Americans are not well informed about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, especially in comparison to their knowledge of the Holocaust.

“To learn about the history of the Pacific War and the development of the atomic bomb is a first step . . . What we want our students to think, instead, is to find a way to connect to the horror personally.”

“The Face of Jizo” is the story of Mitsue, who lost her father, Takezo, in the A-bomb blast and is struggling three years later to come to terms with her guilt as a survivor and attempting to find happiness. Her father reappears as a ghost and encourages her to give in to her heart’s desire and fall in love.

The father is played by veteran actor Yoshio Harada, and the daughter by award-winning actress Rie Miyazawa.

In Tokyo, Kuroki, who was not able to attend the film festival, said he was happy that the film was showing in the U.S.

“I hope the audience in the United States will watch it with the same feelings as the Japanese and realize the horrors of the atomic bomb, which to this day has people suffering from aftereffects,” he said earlier.

Max Felker-Kantor, a junior student at Tufts who is part of the organizing committee, said he hopes that his fellow students would “learn that the issues and legacy of the atomic bomb resonate with us today.”

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