Akira Watakabe

[ 編集者:先端社会研究所   2018年6月19日 更新 ]

Recalling “catastrophe”: An analysis of the events relating to the Atomic Bomb of Hiroshima

Akira Watakabe (Master’s Student, Graduate School of Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University)


After catastrophe, people are faced with the problem of “How do we recall it?” This has been a serious problem in contemporary Japanese society. Particularly, the memories of World War II seem to be on the verge of disappearing because of the aging of the people who experienced it. This study focuses on the memories of the atomic bomb of Hiroshima as a case study of the memories of WWII. Preceding studies have revealed a transition in the way “Hiroshima” was being recalled. However, there are few studies that focus specifically on related events. Shusaku Ejima (1977) presented a theoretical framework to explain the integration of Hiroshima based on the experiences of the atomic bomb. However, this framework is now invalid because it does not include perspectives such as “Hiroshima as a tourist destination”. Thus, this research presents a new modified version of Ejima’s theoretical framework and analyzes events relating to “Hiroshima” that were held in 1955, 1975, 1995, and 2017. The data were collected from local newspapers, the official websites of Hiroshima City, and the organizers of the events. These events were then categorized into ceremony, culture, assembly, and others. Next, they were analyzed with the new theoretical framework. This study found that the methods of recalling “Hiroshima” have changed. First, the orientation of the events is now varied. Second, in the past only people who had experienced the atomic bomb of Hiroshima attended the events, but now, people who did not experience the bomb, also attend. The analysis indicates that people who do not experience catastrophic events gradually acquire the rights to recall them and that the mechanisms of succeeding memory have changed.


catastrophe, memory of war, Hiroshima, atomic bomb, succeeding memory