Editorial Reviews. Review. “This painful and very beautiful book gives two powerful : Black Rain (Japan’s Modern Writers) eBook: Masuji Ibuse. : Black Rain (Japan’s Modern Writers) (): Masuji Ibuse, John Bester: Books. (Black Rain ) The importance of the name of the bomb may seem ineffectual, but he seems to dwell on finding out what caused this type of destruction.

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Black Rain is a novel by Japanese author Masuji Ibuse. Ibuse began serializing Black Rain in the magazine Shincho in January The novel is based on historical records of the devastation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Paperbackpages. HiroshimaJapan. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Black Rainplease sign up. See 2 questions about Black Rain…. Lists with This Book. Oct 09, BlackOxford rated it it was amazing Shelves: What Are We Now? Only in Japan could the dropping of the atomic bomb be written about in the same even tone as the stocking of fish in the local lake. The details of death, injury, radiation sickness and physical destruction are given equal billing with the care and feeding of farmed carp, their preferred ambient temperature, and the use of abalone shells as weasel deterrents.

Is there a way to describe Black Rain as anything other than Zen? War happens; pain happens; disap What Are We Now? War happens; pain happens; disappointment happens. But the comforting routines of daily life, and the familiarity of friends and family, and the joy of food also happen.

Tragedy is embedded in success and vice versa. All is there to be lived. How could it be otherwise? Was she corrupted by her exposure to it?

Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse | : Books

The question is not so much medical as spiritual. This obviously makes it more difficult to answer. It also makes the bomb something central to Japanese life in a way which challenges its phlegmatic equilibrium. This more than anything else, it seems to me, is his Japan: It was less than one hundred years since the American-provoked demise of the shogunate and the economic and social disruption which ensued. But Japan had recovered itself then; so why not now in the wake of the latest American invasion?

This, even as he must deal with the untraditional problem of his niece. Something profoundly more important than the vulnerability of the human body has been revealed by the bomb. But stoicism may be functionally indistinguishable from fatalism. At what point does a cultural virtue become an impecimemy?


As he transcribes his diary, the individuals he encountered during his escape from Hiroshima come to mind. Why had they been absent from the diary? Only the reader as detached observer can make a judgment about how the tragedy has affected both Japanese culture as well as the marriage prospects for his niece.

Shizuma rebukes his wife for thinking he might harbor a theory that implies such a judgment; he wants only to describe circumstances as realistically as he can, however inadequate that may be. Besides, the condition of his carp is a more pressing matter. And tomorrow is the annual ceremony to commemorate the insects that might have been killed during the harvest. But is it the balm of tradition itself which created the war?

The dropping of the bomb? The misery and confusion that has resulted? The tension between Mr. As an outsider to Japanese culture, I cannot know whether Ibuse resolves that tension or makes it more pronounced. What is clear is that he has turned a profound tragedy, one not just for Japan but also for the world, into a profoundly moving work of art that has relevance for us all. Japan was uniquely affected by the destruction of the atomic bombs.

But no culture can be free of their insidious effects, nor of the question of the adequacy of any culture to deal sanely with the power it has at its disposal. View all 12 comments. A sensitive handling of numerous eyewitness accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima served up in novel format. The story starts one year after the bombing with the main character, Shigematsu, pondering the future of his niece Yasuko’s marriage prospects. There is a persistent rumor that Yasuko was in Hiroshima City on the day of the bombing and now suffers from radiation sickness.

Shigematsu, frustrated, as a means of correcting the inaccuracy, suggests a perusal of Yasuko’s diary for Aug. It is through this device that the story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is told.

The suffering of the people is simply unfathomable. The bean counter’s trade is opprobrious here, but what other measure shall we use? The number killed varies but a mid-range estimate is well overwithin 24 hours of the air raid.

That does not include those who suffered with radiation sickness for years afterward.

One simply cannot gets one’s mind around such suffering. Naked blackened figures face down in the street, literally melted into the asphalt. The walking wounded with great sheaths of black skin hanging on them; the suppurating lice-ridden bedsores; the dead piled up like cord wood.

At one point author Ibuse writes “In olden times, people used to say that in an area badly ravaged by war it took a masuuji to repair the moral damage done to the inhabitants There is no plot since there was no plot to the bombing as it affected those on the ground.

There is a shifting bladk the relatively orderly present of a year after the bombing, to the recollected past which is all confusion, mass death, cremation pyres all up and down the river shore, and the poor citizens of Hiroshima not understanding what has hit them.


Repeatedly the survivors return to the blast zone jasuji true Ground Zero, as opposed to the metaphorical one in Lower Manhattan without understanding how such exposure is harming them.

One can see why the Americans said nothing in the aftermath, negotiating the end of hostilities as they were, but the cold discipline of doing that! View all 9 comments. Apr 08, Mariel rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Recommended to Mariel by: Sick birds hide their illnesses from other birds as rian as from predators.

The people in Black Rain with radiation sickness in Hiroshima might have taken their cue from birds I couldn’t help but think of birds as I read about how the mutual horror turned into a bring out your dead collective mistrust and disgust.

It occured to me masujji the suspicion and paranoia were acting to shove them out as if they were already dead. The mushroom cloud Alice ate turned everything bigger and littler and no Sick birds hide their illnesses from other birds as well as from predators.

The mushroom cloud Alice ate turned everything bigger and littler and nothing made any sense. John Bester wrote in his introduction to his translation of Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain that he had “considerable doubts”. Could such a theme yeild, in the widest sense, beauty? Could it, in short, be fashioned into a work of art?

Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain: Summary & Analysis

So were other people’s accounts that are in here. I really like that Ibuse took all of these diaries and interviews as personal for want of a better word. It’s more than that insights into the overhead, raih, underbelly, kangaroos pouch of death, misery, upheavel, endings, beginnings. It’s even weirdly twisted smile funny, wistful, kinda nostalgic for these kinda interludes during the war.

Long ago in childhood. Futures they aren’t going to have I don’t read enough. Black Rain is pretty huge. First, though, the birds. Victims of radiation sickness who tried to work would die very soon after their hair and teeth would fall out, soon accompanied by other grossness. The only prescribed medication was plenty masui rest. You’d think that after this massive thing dain an fain bomb people would remember how bad it was and feel bad for the people who had it?

The tears of mourning turned into bitter tears that turned into crocodile tears and passive aggressive mutterings. Shizuma and his friend are ridiculed as “lazy” for taking it easy and going fishing. A simple walk would be too unseemly.