@41 days until Hiroshima Summit: Kaneto Shindo, film director

by Keiko Watanabe, Staff Writer

Hiroshima was used as a film location for the first time after the atomic bombing in 1952. The film “Children of the Atomic Bomb” was directed by Kaneto Shindo, originally from Hiroshima’s Saeki Ward. The director himself wrote the screenplay based on a collection of children’s memoirs compiled by Arata Osada, an expert of pedagogy and an A-bomb survivor. This film depicts a teacher, acted by Nobuko Otowa, visiting her former students seven years after the bombing. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and evoked a strong response as a film that stresses the damage caused by the atomic bombing.

Before his death in 2012 at the age of 100, Mr. Shindo had directed 49 films, including “Haha” (“Mother”), “Sakura-tai Chiru” (“The deaths of the Sakura Troupe”) and “Ishiuchi Jinjo Koto Shogakko, Hana wa Chiredomo” (“Ishiuchi Elementary School, Although the Flowers Fall”), which were shot in Hiroshima. He also cherished the idea of making into a film the brutal scene of the moment when the atomic bomb was dropped. If realized, it would have been a valuable film that conveys the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on April 8, 2023)