The Horror of Details: Obsolescence and Annihilation in Miyako Ishiuchi’s Photography of Atomic Bomb Artifacts

  • Jani Scandura


Even now, in Japan, there are “rules of decorum” associated with representing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.1 Even now it is understood that the “art about the bombing should contain an explicit anti-war or pro-peace ‘message,’ or else respond to the tragedy with a sufficient air of gravity.”2 Even now, Hiroshima art that is too cheeky, too stylized, or too playful is subject to reproach. In Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialectics of Memory, Lisa Yoneyama acknowledges that “the nationalized remembering of Hiroshima has … never been monolithic or without contradictions” in Japan.3 Nonetheless, she argues,

Whether within the mainstream national historiography, which remembers Hiroshima’s atomic bombing as victimization experienced by the Japanese collectivity, or in the equally pervasive, more universalistic narrative on the bombing that records it as having been an unprecedented event in the history of humanity, Hiroshima memories have been predicated on the grave obfuscation of the prewar Japanese Empire, its colonial practices, and their consequences.4


Atomic Bomb Camera Lucida Oxford English Dictionary Pearl Harbor Sewing Machine 
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© Babette B. Tischleder and Sarah Wasserman 2015

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  • Jani Scandura

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