Oliver Stone urges younger generation to learn about Hiroshima

August 07, 2013


HIROSHIMA--U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, known for his strong anti-war stance, stressed the need for the younger generation to develop a "moral imagination" with regard to the atrocities of the atomic bombings, during his first visit to Hiroshima.

"The best message that I could give was to educate yourself about the truth, to develop your consciousness as a young person," Stone said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Aug. 5.

"The best thing the young people can do is learn--like I did--much more about Hiroshima. Up until five or six years ago, I didn't follow it. I'm an older man, so look, you can change your mind."

The 66-year-old director recounted how he imagined himself being in the city at the very instant the atomic bomb detonated overhead at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945.

"To me, I'm here in 1945. I feel like I'm 68 years old and I'm here, and I am at the center of the blast," he said. "I feel the blast, I feel the moments, I feel the horror of walking around after seeing the living dead, the zombies. I see my mother, my father, all the families torn apart. I see the river, I see the drowning bodies and the burned bodies, I see all the flesh hanging out."

Stone said he was impressed by the exhibits at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which he visited on Aug. 4.

"The museum is very helpful," he said. "The panorama of the destruction is very powerful."

The filmmaker said one of the most compelling exhibits at the museum was the "human shadow etched in stone."

"You see people who are, in that moment, imprinted on the wall to shadow," he said. "All of it might be blown away, but they were there for one second."

Stone referred to the U.S. responsibility for dropping the atomic bomb.

"If the Nazis had dropped the bomb, they'd lost the war, the bomb would be seen as a monstrosity, and the Nazis would be condemned forever," he said. "In fact, the United States was a winner, allows it to be sanctioned and continues to be sanctioned, which leads to this argument of American exceptionalism: America has the right to do something because it got away with it."

But Stone said he often feels helpless because his skepticism about America's history has fallen on deaf ears among the mainstream U.S. media.

"People like me have tried to write something, put something out there--the questions, the sovereignty and the tyranny of the United States," he said. "But we feel sometimes very weak and helpless, with no chance."

Stone visited the Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome on Aug. 5. He was scheduled to travel to Nagasaki and Okinawa before leaving Japan on Aug. 15.

(This article is based on an interview by Sonoko Miyazaki and Ryuichi Kanari.)

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Oliver Stone (Photo by Yoshiko Sato)

Oliver Stone (Photo by Yoshiko Sato)

  • Oliver Stone (Photo by Yoshiko Sato)
  • Oliver Stone, left, tours the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on Aug. 4. (Kenta Sujino)

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