Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Based on an originally banned book by the surgeon Takashi Nagai, who died of radiation sickness in 1951 after witnessing the bomb blast in Nagasaki, this film is told from the perspective of his son, memories recalled while he is on a plane coming home from a conference. He remembers how his father was himself fighting leukemia and the effects of radiation as he treated radiation victims and how his mother also died, leaving both her children in the care of their grandmother. Nagai's son becomes a journalist, and when filing reports from battlefields around the globe, expresses his relief that no atomic weapons were ever used again. Some western wags will criticize this film as dwelling too much on the suffering of the Japanese people, but the magnitude of the suffering involved is more than most people can comprehend. A more enlightened criticism might be the omission here of Japan's own treatment of the radiation victims, many of whom have been ostracized from the rest of society due to ignorance and prejudice, and since their exposure to radiation usually causes birth defects or other health problems in their children, the stigma and illnesses continue into the next few generations.
investigation, journalism, nuclear-holocaust, surgery, war-atrocities, witness