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Children of Hiroshima (1952)
"Genbaku no ko" (original title)

 -  Drama | War  -  6 August 1952 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 598 users   Metascore: 86/100
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Post war Hiroshima: It's been four years since the last time she visited her hometown. Takako faces the after effects of the A-bomb when she travels around the city to call on old friends.



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Credited cast:
Nobuko Otowa ...
Osamu Takizawa ...
Miwa Saitô ...
Natsue Morikawa
Tsuneko Yamanaka
Shinya Ofuji
Takashi Itô ...
(as Takashi Ito)
Chikako Hosokawa ...
Setsu, Takako's mother
Masao Shimizu ...
Toshiaki, Takako's father
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yuriko Hanabusa ...
Tanie Kitabayashi ...
Tsutomu Shimomoto ...
Natsue's husband
Jun Tatara
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Owner of a ship
Eijirô Tôno
Jûkichi Uno ...
Koji (scenes deleted)


Six years after the atomic bombing of 06 August 1945, the school teacher Takako Ishikawa returns to Hiroshima on her vacation to visit friends and to honor her parents that died in the bombing. Takako was raised by her uncle and aunt. While in her hometown she stays with her friend, Natsue Morikawa, who has become infertile due to the side effect of the A-bomb. While walking along the destroyed city, she sees a former family friend, Iwakichi, who worked with her father, and is almost blind and has become a beggar. She pays a visit to his shanty in the slums and discovers that his grandson, Taro, is living in an orphanage since Iwakichi's shanty is no place to raise the child. When Morikawa tells her that three former pupils from the kindergarten have survived to the bombing, Takako pays a visit to each one of them and finds how the A-bomb and the radiation have affected their lives. Before returning home, Takako asks Iwakachi to let her bring Taro with her; but their bond is very ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Drama | War


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Release Date:

6 August 1952 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Children of Hiroshima  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Fallen Angels
2 May 2014 | by (NY) – See all my reviews

For obvious reasons, making a film on Hiroshima and its aftermath is a much trickier ordeal than, say, doing a project on the Holocaust. All the more so if you were among the first few Japanese filmmakers to tackle the once forbidden subject, you embark on your task just weeks after the country responsible for the bombing ended its occupation, at least officially, and your work happens to be supported by a formidable leftist organization. And if Shindô Kaneto, only in his third outing, did not already have enough challenges to navigate during Children of Hiroshima (Genbaku no ko), the fact that he was born in Hiroshima most likely only compounded the situation.

Not coincidentally, the film's protagonist, a young schoolteacher named Takako (Otowa Nobuko, Shindô's longtime muse and eventual wife), also happens to be a native of Hiroshima, who revisits the city a few years after the tragedy that claimed the lives of her parents and sister. The story largely unfolds in an episodic fashion, as Takako sets about meeting her surviving kindergarten pupils, not to mention the orphanage-bound grandson of her father's former assistant, now a beggar whom she accidentally runs into on the streets.

Many of those she comes across are as maimed and scarred as the city around them. Though the use of the A-bomb, which caused long-term physical and psychological effects, is criticized, Shindô's approach during these encounters is sympathetic and nonpolemical. He makes good use of the documentary settings available to him, contrasting them with his more dramatic formal touches, including a strikingly surreal yet oddly placed montage of the victims. Given the time it was made, the film also offers statistics regarding some of the more pertinent issues, covertly asking the authorities to do more.

Even if Children of Hiroshima ultimately pales in comparison to Imamura's thematically similar, and surprisingly subdued, Black Rain (1989), it remains a poignant and relevant piece of work—not to mention a rare Shindô film that lives up to its potential.

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