Mass Peace Action seems to have collected a lot of the 70th anniversary events in the Boston area on their website. Unfortunately, some events already happened but there's a Concert in Observance of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings tomorrow night at The Church of the Advent in Boston and a free film screening on Sunday of Article 9 Comes to America by local filmmaker David Rothauser as part of an evening of activities organized by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment.
Apparently, there's a private museum in Natick called the Museum of World War II that houses original bombing orders for Hiroshima and Nagasaki along with other WWII artifacts. You can only visit by appointment.
I would like to note that the United States has never apologized to Japan for dropping the bombs and killing somewhere between 129,000 - 246,000+ civilians (mostly Japanese, but including others) and maiming hundreds of thousands more including Japanese Americans, Koreans, and other foreign nationals. For scale, compare that to the nearly 16,000 who died in the 3.11 tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster. Many Americans persist in the belief that the bombing was "an act of mercy" that ended the war rather than the result of rabid racism that fueled things like the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese for committing the "crime" of being Japanese or of Japanese descent. Look up pictures of hibakusha (people who survived the bombings - the literal translation is "explosion-affected people") and tell me the bombings were merciful.
Although opinion on the use of atomic bombs has shifted in the US, there is very little support for an apology. A US president has never attended ceremonies to mark the anniversaries; the highest ranking official we have ever sent have been US ambassadors to Japan and that only started five years ago (see The New York Times article below for more details).
I was very surprised to read that the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is currently displaying an exhibit of artifacts from the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots (Wikipedia) which has never been displayed outside of Japan before. Elsewhere in the US WGN America has been making a fictionalized TV show called Manhattan about life in Los Alamos and the building of the bombs. They style the show's title as "MANH(A)TTAN" with the "(A)" on top of an unexploded bomb stuck into Los Alamos. The show premiered last year just a few days before the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. I thought about writing about it, but I was so disgusted after watching the trailer and reading reviews that praised the show that I couldn't bring myself to watch the first season. There's nothing entertaining about how the US maimed and killed up to half a million people and Americans still think it's funny to joke about it. Incredibly the show got renewed for a second season.
It has always amazed me that Japan and most of its citizens don't hate the US. It is widely believed that this is due to the US's heavy involvement in rebuilding post-war Japan during the US-led Allied occupation that lasted until 1952. Earlier this year the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey titled, Americans, Japanese: Mutual Respect 70 Years After the End of WWII. While US-Japan relations are generally seen as good, Japanese see Americans as inventive and tolerant but not honest or hardworking. Interestingly, 75% say they trust the US even though 79% don't think that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified.
- AP: AP WAS THERE: US drops atomic bombs on Japan in 1945
- BBC News: Hiroshima marks 70 years since atomic bomb
- The Japan Times: 86-year-old recalls her WWII job: waving goodbye to suicide pilots
- The Japan Times: Hiroshima 70th A-bomb anniversary will draw officials from record 100 countries
- The Japan Times: How The Japan Times reported the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- The Nation: 70 Years Later, We Still Haven’t Apologized for Bombing Japan
- The New York Times: At Hiroshima’s 70th Anniversary, Japan Again Mourns Dawn of Atomic Age
- The Washington Post: This 390-year-old bonsai tree survived an atomic bomb, and no one knew until 2001
- The Washington Post: How the Hiroshima bombing is taught around the world
For some stories from Hiroshima, please see Koji Kanemoto's blog, Masako and Spam Musubi and A-Bomb and Us, a website containing translated stories from surviviors.
- An Atomic Spark from a 1937 Yearbook
- Dad was in the Newspaper Yesterday
- A 1937 Yearbook, the Atomic Bomb and Hiroshima
- 8/8/15: Added Further Reading section with Masako and Spam Musubi and A-Bomb and Us.