The movie Black Rain (Kuroi Ame) (1989) directed by Shohei Imamura depicts the story of the Hiroshima bombing, the ways the Japanese tried to survive the consequences, and how the lifestyle of ordinary people changed over the years (from August 6, 1945, to the 1950s). It is based on the story of the Shigematsu family: Shizuma Shigematsu (uncle), his wife Shiheko (aunt), and their niece Yasuko, and their strive to find a husband for Yasuko as she was rejected several times due to assumed health concern after she had got under the ‘black rain’. As time passes, the family understands that the probability of getting a successful marriage within the community that is suffering from and is terrified of the severe adverse consequences of the radiation sickness is tending to be minimal. At last Yasuko marries Yuichi, who suffers from the PTSD and comprehends all vehicles passing by as tanks and thus, attacks them.
The movie leaves its viewers in deep sorrow for all of the endured sufferings and deaths. It is soaked with the uncertainty because people who survived Hiroshima were not sure about their future and whether they would be able to live. The movie is made in black and white, and this only adds the dramatism. Besides, it starts with the re-creation of the atomic bomb blast and the first days after it, including the ‘black rain’ that fell while Hiroshima was burning in the fire. Throughout the movie the recollection scenes are put in order to demonstrate the grief and terror such as burned black bodies, a mother with a burned face who was lulling a dead burned child, an older brother who could not recognize the little brother as his skin was hanging off his face and hands and the boy could be identified only by his belt etc.
The movie can leave anyone indifferent, and I had tears coming to my eyes as I saw those bombing victims both dead and alive, crippled, blinded, seeking for water and trying to survive. The nuclear bombing caused severe consequences for ordinary people and resulted in hundreds and thousands of dead. Though Black Rain shows the horrors of the blast, it is not an anti-bombing movie. Its primary objective, I suggest, is to depict the personal comprehension of all events and reaction of the society to hibakusha (the victims surviving the atomic bombing). The community rejected sick people and thought them to be the reason for overall sicknesses and illnesses.
The situation over Yasuko is one of the leading topics of the movie, and it demonstrates how public thought could not be changed or affected by any document or certificate. If the community and the people are sure of something, they will hardly ever changed their opinion, for example, they thought of Yasuko as of a hibakusha though she was not in Hiroshima during the nuclear bombing. She came to the factory near Hiroshima (the place of her uncle’s employment) with her aunt and uncle to seek for shelter and water, which did not equal to staying in Hiroshima or being ill from the radiation diseases. Yet, no one wanted to marry her, and she was rejected three times, having to marry the local carver with a mental disorder. What appealed to me, was the persistence of the community that continued to push the marriage issue, spreading the rumors about Yasuko’s presumed radiation disease. Even a medical certificate of her perfect health could not assure people in it and was taken as a fraud and an attempt to cheat someone into a marriage with her. I felt sorry for the poor girl as the whole situation was a massive burden of the psychological pressure for her.
Overall, Black Rain (1989) is a splendid demonstration of the horrific event of the nuclear bombing. Though the topic of the dreadful consequences of the atomic attack is quite severe, the director managed to keep the focus on a particular family. The movie is a brilliant piece depicting the national and societal tragedy of the whole country concerning a single family.