Nobody really wants to celebrate death

Hey, Og, I just wanted to comment on your blog entry but since you turned off comments, I’ll do it by posting to mine.

I was simply amazed that none of the news media I had a chance to check
yesterday seemed to have mentioned the tragic date. Worse, none of the people,
except for a Russian friend, I talked to remembered it either.

Last year, Joi Ito wrote an Op-Ed piece for the NYT on this subject titled An Anniversary to Forget. He presents a very intelligent and authentic observation about the rememberance of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings from a Japanese point of view. Perhaps I can also provide one from an American-born-Japanese perspective, as well.

In August, 2002, I had the opportunity to be in Japan. On the date and time
of the bombings, a whole bunch of air sirens went off. I looked at my wife all
puzzled: everyone on the streets were just going about their business as usual.
There was no panicking. This wasn’t an emergency. So, we resumed our walk. Only later, when we returned to my Uncle’s home where we were staying in Nagano, did I find out what that was all about–the anniversary of the bombings. I was embarassed that I even had to ask.

Now, it might be misconstrued from what I wrote above that the Japanese are blasé about the whole event, but that’s incorrect. The bombings have changed the Japanese forever in many ways, from loved ones who were killed to childhoods ruined or destroyed, etc. However, tell me if you know anyone who truly enjoys celebrating death? You can only grieve for so long and then you have to focus yourself on the present and the future. The Japanese will certainly never forget that date in history–even if it’s as subtle as sounding the alarms–but people have moved on with their lives.



  1. Hey Dossy,

    Sorry for the inconvenience (turning off the comments), but it has been a pretty busy day and I was afraid I’d spend too much time approving comments. Anyhow, I do have trackbacks enabled so it should be ok.

    I don’t think that it is a question of mourning the thousands of deaths, but really reminding people of what we, humans, are capable of with the advancements we’ve achieved. It does sound macabre to “celebrate” the date and that is far from what my intentions were.

    Thank you for your feedback and point of view. Hope to see you soon.



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