Essay War Is The Most Terrible Of Things For Us As Human Beings

Essay War Is The Most Terrible Of Things For Us As Human Beings

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In the final portions of her account, Watanabe explains the purpose behind publishing her experience, stating, “I don’t want to bare my life in public, but…I want it to be known that War is the most terrible of things for us as human beings. To keep a lasting, permanent peace, I want to convey the heart of ‘Hiroshima’…” (Mapping the Modern Mind: Readings for World Cultures III 140). While her retelling is laden with hauntingly grotesque depictions of both the atrocities seen within the first few hours of the explosion and those seen decades later, her goal was not merely to elicit pity from her audience. Watanabe firmly states that her purpose is not to victimize herself or to spread hate toward the United States. In fact, her account does not place the blame on any particular country, nor does it limit the consequences of her suffering to the Japanese. Rather, Watanabe and many of the hibakusha like her, were concerned with warning against the evils of nuclear war for all of the world’s future generations.
One of the challenges facing the hibakusha and the peace culture is the tendency for some Japanese to use the bombings to avoid responsibility for their aggressive behavior in World War II and the Greater East Asia War. While the hibakusha see their roles as extending beyond Japanese culture to promote general world peace, Japanese nationalism tends to “[gloss] over the suffering imposed on others during those years [of the war] while simultaneously emphasizing their own suffering” (Siegenthaler 1122). Many Japanese schools used to promote peace education by taking field trips to some of the bombing memorials, but within the last decade, the education ministry has pressured schools to switch the curriculum to one that promotes ...


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...of atomic bombs. However, the effort to preserve that legacy has at times gone astray, leading to nationalism that clashes with peace culture by self-victimizing and overlooking the aggressive actions of Japan during World War II. No other two cities have been destroyed by atomic bombs, and while it is important to try to convey the extent to which the bombings impacted the lives of the survivors, peace culture can only fulfill its intended purpose if it looks past self-pity. The intent of the hibakusha was to warn the world of the consequences of extreme violence against others, not to shove blame at any particular group. When proper context is given, and when the lives of the hibakusha are shared, peace culture challenges the world to view violence through a lens that clearly depict its atrocities and deters countries from subjecting humans to such agony again.

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