The Hiroshima Fetish

Disclosure: My wife is Japanese. My children are half-Japanese. I’m a white dude.

Early August is one of my least favorite times to be a conservative. I can always look forward to Christian conservatives coming out of the wood-work to get a virtual hard-on for dropping a nuclear bomb on a civilian population. Yes, the Japanese military was evil during WWII. Yes, it probably saved the lives of many American soldiers who would have been involved in a land invasion. Does this make it ok for the US government to instantly kill some 140,000 civilians? No, I don’t believe it does.

I didn’t always feel this way. I used to defend the bomb as the only way to save both American and Japanese lives that would have been lost in a land invasion. The end of any war is always a tricky situation (just take a look at the fiasco in Iraq), so better to kill a few thousand (give or take a hundred) so that others may live, right? Especially American lives. Those are more important than those kids wearing kimono who had their skin melted off.


So what changed my mind? I went to Hiroshima. I talked with a 被爆者 (Hibakusha). She spoke of how the blast melted her eyelids. Her life was forever altered by the bomb. She was unable to have children and was ostracized by her community out of shame. She never expressed anger at me or America only sadness, sadness that such horrible things could be done to innocents.

I’m not trying to get into an argument about whether or not dropping the bomb was a good thing. Just maybe tone down the chest thumping about the children melting. Planned Parenthood does enough of that.



– Kaiju


One thought on “The Hiroshima Fetish

  1. Same for me, Kaiju. I used to defend the bomb; there are some attractive arguments for it. But I’ve also read about how politics came into it – not wanting to allow time for the Russians to enter the Pacific theater and potentially impose Communism on Japan like they did in Germany.

    I think I attended a talk by that same woman in Hiroshima – really a heart wrenching story. It’s also easier to defend when all the victims are just nameless enemies, albeit civilians. When you actually see and meet people whose lives were snuffed out or ruined, it puts a different spin on things.

    This is also one instance where our Catholic identity clashes with popular American conservative dogma.


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