Liberal Arts for Advanced Students II (a)
Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Nuclear Crisis
The course will explore the atomic bomb experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and its significance, which is nothing short of an unprecedented change in human history. We will begin by examining the road to the Asian Pacific War with a focus on the racial aspect of the war. We will not neglect to study Japan’s brutality on the Asian continent. We will analyze the forces which culminated in the atomic bombings and discuss why America dropped them. Then, we will explore the power of the atomic bombs by evaluating their physical, medical, and social effects on these two cities and their residents. Our investigations of these issues will include reading survivors’ accounts of the agony and destruction of the atomic bombings, and the roles and purposes of the ABCC (The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission). At the same time, we will explore the Lucky Dragon No.5 incident of 1954, where a group of tuna fishermen were exposed to fallout from a U.S. hydrogen bomb experiment. This course, furthermore, discusses the situation of Korean atomic bomb victims, whose voices have long been suppressed. We will also briefly discuss the American POWs who were recently discovered to be among the A-bomb victims. We will then touch upon the significance of the former President Obama’s speech in Hiroshima. By absorbing historical studies, eyewitness accounts, documentary films, photographs, poems and animation, we will attempt to comprehend the realities of what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Through this course, by recognizing the long-lasting impacts of the atomic bombs on human beings and society, we hope to understand anew their implications for the whole world at present; additionally, by addressing the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, we will examine the impact of environmental degradation and the crisis of human existence. Furthermore, though this class, I hope that students will understand the implications of the present nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
The primary objectives of this course are to strengthen students’ knowledge of the atomic bombings and to gain a greater understanding of them by critically examining diverse narratives. This class will provide students with an opportunity to consider not only how Hiroshima’s message can speak to the people who suffered under the brutal Japanese occupation in Asia, but also to contemplate the meaning and impact of the events in the contemporary world.