This week, HBO’s premiere of “White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” will go into detail about the history behind America’s dropping of the atomic bomb. The film, which aired Monday, was shown exactly 62 years to the day after the first nuclear bomb was dropped over Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb would be dropped over Nagasaki, ending World War II. Filmmaker Steve Okazaki is behind the project, along with Sheila Nevins, head of HBO’s documentary unit. She hopes it will become a documentary that will be shown in schools.

The film depicts a ruthless account of the bombings and the aftermath with true yet gruesome footage. Rarely seen footage will be shown that has not been well circulated among Americans before, because it was something heinous that Americans had done. Those who fought in World War II are dying off so the documentary is another way to get their stories recorded before they are lost forever. The documentary is framed by stories told by 14 survivors accompanied by pictures of the aftermath that was banned from public viewing for 25 years.

Okazaki has been wanting to make this documentary since the early 1980’s. Back then, he and his sister had traveled to San Francisco to a meeting of bomb survivors for a school project his sister was doing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the end of the meeting, everyone there believed that Okazaki should make a film about their stories. He completed a short film and others relating to the era of the bomb droppings. One of these included “Days of Waiting” about one of the few white Americans who were held in custody with Japanese-Americans during World War II. The film won an Oscar.

While attending more festivals for films about the bombings, he Okazaki noticed that the survivors themselves did not have a voice in the matter. There was also controversy over whether or not the bombings were the right decision made by Americans. Some believe that dropping the bombs and killing 200,000 people was the only way to end the war. Others believe the decision was made simply to scare Russia. Despite this, Okazaki refuses to give his opinion on the matter and wants only to present the facts.

For related articles visit http://www.hiroshima-remembered.com/history/index.html andhttp://thestar.com.my/news/story.aspfile=/2007/8/6/apworld/20070806101952&sec=apworld.

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