Documents from A-bomb film shared with public

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

Papers related to the documentary “Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” filmed from September to October 1945--including notes made during the filming--were shown to the public at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for the first time on February 25. The museum is currently holding a special exhibition entitled “Filming in the Ruins--The Story of an A-bomb Documentary.” Hidetsugu Aihara, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 98, made the notes when he was a staff member of the Japan Film Corporation, the body that produced the film.

From among some 10,000 items donated to the museum in 2005 that are connected to the documentary, the museum is displaying about 20 of them, including such documents as notes, records, and reports. In the notes he wrote back then, Mr. Aihara captured his thoughts during filming: “We are determined to convey the consequences of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through this film.”

The feature-length documentary is about 3 hours long. Although the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces ordered the termination of the project, Mr. Aihara appealed for the production to continue. Under the supervision of U.S. forces, the film was completed in 1946. It had not been shown to the public until 1968, one year after the film was returned to Japan by the United States.

The special exhibition shares the history of the film, using roughly 130 items related to the project, including the 20 items obtained in 2005. The museum is also screening the film as well as some unedited footage. The exhibition runs until July 15.

(Originally published on February 26, 2009)