Re-imagining Hiroshima

Numerous people claim to have contributed something new to our understanding of Hiroshima, as well as its aftermath. In 1965 historian Gar Alperovitz wrote about how the attack on Japan were, in part, an attack on the Soviet Union, spawning the revisionist interpretation of the attacks. In 1986 journalist and historian Richard Rhodes won a Pulitzer Prize for propounding the traditional American narrative that the real story behind the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is primarily one about American scientists. In 1995 Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell brought the image of Hiroshima home to the United States, arguing that Americans have never really confronted what occurred at Hiroshima. These previous efforts are American, reflecting the imbricated relationship of American thinkers with the legacy of the nuclear attacks. However, major volumes dedicated to thinking freely and imaginatively about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are rare. Certainly, there have been very few, if any, concerted attempts to interpret Hiroshima anew and from a range of different perspectives as contributors do in this special issue of Critical Military Studies. These re-imaginings not only contribute to our understanding of nuclear culture in particular and military studies in general, but taken together, they pave the way for scholars of tomorrow to explore novel ways of thinking about the nuclear events of August 6 and 9, 1945.

N.A.J. Taylor and Robert Jacobs’ (eds.) Re-imagining Hiroshima was published as a special issue of Routledge’s Critical Military Studies in August 2015. [LINK]

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Table of Contents 

Editorial: Re-imagining Hiroshima [PDF]
N.A.J. Taylor and Robert Jacobs

The most modern city in the world: Isamu Noguchi’s cenotaph controversy and Hiroshima’s city of peace
Ran Zwigenberg

Unbearable light/ness of the bombing: normalizing violence and banalizing the horror of the atomic bomb experiences
Yuki Miyamoto

Remembering nukes: collective memories and countering state history
Stefanie Fishel

Contested spaces of ethnicity: zainichi Korean accounts of the atomic bombings
Erik Ropers

Hiroshima and two paradoxes of Japanese nuclear perplexity
Thomas E. Doyle II

Re-imagining Hiroshima in America
Robert Del Tredici

Re-imagining Hiroshima in Japan
elin o–Hara slavick

Memory and survival in everyday textures–Ishiuchi Miyako’s Here and Now: Atomic Bomb Artifacts, ひろしま/ Hiroshima 1945/2007
Makeda Best

Nagasaki Re-Imagined: the last shall be first
Kathleen Sullivan


This special issue was a sub-project of the Nuclear Reimaginings project. Current projects include Antipodean Antinuclearism and Nuclear Storytelling