Doing homework inside, the sounds and sights of the rain
This week we talked about the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Japan that ended World War II, and both what led to and followed these events. I was really interested in the fact that we learned that few Japanese people spoke of the bombs for a long time after they were dropped—that there weren’t any words for what happened, and that when there were those who spoke, there weren’t always the right words to explain. In your book, you quote Takenishi Hiroko’s The Words that Hiroshima Makes Us Say in regards to this phenomenon:
I felt and learned these words that substituted for the name of limitless things, that they had a greater expansiveness. At times I am angry that the words that speak of Hiroshima are so very insufficient. Don’t even I use such words when speaking about things other than Hiroshima? When I do, I must anger others. Does that mean that I, so rebuked, can tolerate those works that speak of Hiroshima? No, it does not. This contradiction, this problem, this anger, this helplessness—I believe there can be no possibility of my deepening the knowledge of Hiroshima, no possibility of sharing it with others, without enduring my use of such things (Hiroko, 101/Inouye, 149).
Rather than switching between transcendental and here and now as had happened in Japan’s history before, the Japanese seemed to lose believe in anything. After a long time, however, people began to talk about what had happened and Japan began to return to the lyrical, here and now Japan of the past. They were forced into the postmodern faster than the western world due to the bombs, and evanescence returned. As the hibakusha you talked about who visited Tufts said, “All you can do is stay happy. You eat something good. And keep trying” (Inouye, 151). While no words can describe what happened accurately, just a few words can describe what the Japanese did to move on.