08/07/2014, 00.00
JAPAN
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The horror of the atomic bomb taught to Japanese children through animation

The country stops to remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For the first time since 1945, the number of survivors of the mass killing falls below 200,000: To prevent the loss of memory, some artists make animated movies to tell children that war only brings pain.

Hiroshima (AsiaNews) - Some Japanese artists have chosen animation to teach children that war brings only pain and to preserve the memory of the horrific atomic bombings against Japan. This way, "we can reach our children and explain to them what happened nearly 70 years ago," they said.

The collective memory of the nuclear disaster is at risk of being lost for the first time since 1945 as the number of survivors of the atomic bomb dropped below 200,000.

Yesterday, Hiroshima marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bomb, which was dropped on the city on 6 August 1945, killing about 140,000 people. Nagasaki was bombed on 9 August.

According to the Allies, the two bombs hastened the end of World War II at a time when Japan was the only Axis power still fighting. On 2 September 1945, Tokyo signed the unconditional surrender.

In Japanese society, the collective memory of these events has been maintained by the hibakusha, the survivors, who bear the scars and diseases caused by radiation.

Over the years, they have taught young people about the pain of war and the horrors of the atomic bomb not only in the family but also in schools and meeting places.

However, for the first time the number of survivors dropped below 200,000 this year. Their average age is now 79.44 years.

To keep the memory alive, various artists have made some anime, traditional Japanese animated productions to explain to children what happened at the end of World War II.

In late July and throughout the month of August, their work will be displayed in various locations in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for children aged 5 to 12 years.

One of the best known is titled "Iwatakunchi no Obachan: Bokuwa Senso Senkenne", which loosely translates as "My Friend Iwata's Grandma: I Won't Go to War,"

The story is based on a children's book that relates the story of those terrible days through the voice of the main character's grandmother.

"War is bad. Why? Because people get hurt!" seven-year-old Nanaka Ue told the Japan Times after seeing it with friends.

Saori Hiraoka brought her daughter Kurumi, six, to see the cartoon. For her, it is important for her child to understand what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As a child, Hiraoka would listen to her grandmother, a survivor of the bombing, speak of her experience.

"It's something children shouldn't forget," she said, especially now that there are fewer and fewer older people.

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