SYNOPSIS

yoko
Yoko

My dream has always been to go to America to apologize for Japan starting World War II.
Eiji Nakanishi

The stories of Japanese, Korean, and American hibakusha. Their stories are linked to the relationship between Eiji Nakanishi (one of youngest survivors of Hiroshima) and his little friend, Yoko, an eight year old girl he teaches to play the guitar. Little by little she learns about Eiji's hibakusha experience. She becomes intrigued by colorful pictures and drawings made by the survivors. Then she discovers Sadako and the story of the Thousand Cranes. "Will Eiji take me to the Peace Festival in Hiroshima?"

They meet with another survivor, Harada-san, to discuss preparations for the journey and to sing folk songs together. The bond between Eiji and Yoko grows stronger through simple rituals of music, making Origami and Buddhist prayer. During a thunderstorm Yoko learns of the Black Rain that has haunted Eiji for sixty years. Just before they embark on their pilgrimage to Hiroshima, Eiji suddenly and unexpectedly dies from radiation poisoning he has lived with since 1945. Yoko's reaction is heartfelt. "Eiji-san has passed on. I miss him. Who will take me to the Festival?"

Harada-san offers to take Yoko to the Peace Festival. Their journey to Hiroshima parallels Stonewalk 2005 where 9/11 Families For Peaceful Tomorrows pull a 4,000 pound memorial plaque from Nagasaki to Hiroshima. In counterpoint to Yoko we introduce Davey, a little boy growing up in America during World War II. He learns about the war from Life magazine and Hollywood movies. Interviews with other hibakusha and young people are woven into the film as Harada-san, Yoko and Stonewalk converge upon Hiroshima.

A bond is formed between hibakusha and younger generations when children and adults work together to bring art, music and dance to the 60th anniversary peace festival in Hiroshima. The festival builds from solemn commemoration to a frenzy of song and dance. Just as it reaches a crescendo, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima happens in the film bringing the gruesome reality of the bombing into the present time. That evening thousands of people participate in launching their rice paper lanterns into the Motoyasu River near the Peace Dome. A modern Jazz band accompanies the Lantern Festival.

The following morning we see Yoko sitting alone on the river bank struggling to play Eiji's guitar.

The bombing of Nagasaki is shown through the sharp focus of a Shinto wedding ceremony. Back in America, Davey throws down his tin pot and wooden spoon of his Hiroshima-Nagasaki celebrations. A chorale group in Nagasaki's Peace Park are perform Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, as a backdrop to statements made by survivor children in counterpoint to scientists statements downplaying the serious effects of the atomic bomb. The combination of choral singing and children-scientist VOICE-OVERS take on the intensity of a life-death dance. The NARRATOR draws attention to family photos of nations still proliferating nuclear weapons. BLACK RAIN falling on the photo faces leaves an indelible impression on viewers.

 

 

hibakusha film clips

Nagasaki Hypocentre

 

Memory Productions • 39 Fuller Street • Brookline, MA 02446 • 617 232-4150
drothauser@gmail.com

Site design by June Santosa