Hibakusha film plays at Japanes-American National Museum in LA, Feb. 6, 2011

REVIEW/Movie:  Hibakusha, Our Life to Live

David Rothauser, presented at JANM’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy on Sunday February 6,  Hibakusha: Our Life to Live, his film about Japanese, Korean and American survivors of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks 65 years ago. Rothauser, founder of the independent film company, MEMORY PRODUCTIONS, completed the feature documentary in 2010 and premiered it at the United Nations in NY on May 19, 2010 to an audience including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Following the screening at the Japanese American National Museum , 369 East First Street , Los Angeles , on Sunday, February 6, 2011 , Mr. Rothauser spoke about the film’s production and conducted a Q and A discussion with the audience.  The L.A. screening was presented in partnership with the Hiroshima/Nagasaski Memorial Project, an exhibit by artist Sandy Bleifer at the USC Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery from November 6, 2010 through January 6, 2011 . For more information about the exhibition, Link to website or, see the exhibit at the DownTown L.A. Gallery, A Project of DownTown LA Realty, 617 South Grand Avenue , Los Angeles , CA 90017 .  310-403-6615   info@downtownlagallery.comwww.DownTownLAGallery.com , www.SandyBleifer.com

Mr. Rothauser explained that the Hibakushas’ reason for speaking out is to raise the awareness in younger generations to ensure they never suffer this terror again.  “Scientists working on the Manhattan Project,” he said, “felt it was the greatest achievement of  the 20th Century.” His film depicted celebration parties at Los Alamos in the aftermath of the bombings.  “The Japanese don’t want to blame anyone or any country for this. They want to find a meaning in life that goes beyond nuclear weapons. Americans are still in denial, nothing but denial, whereas schools in Japan present annual programs on August 6 and 9; one school even produces an opera!”

Rothauser told the audience that the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were carefully planned and billions of dollars were consciously spent to develop the atomic bombs sent to Japan .  He said, “Scientists had to make the bombs, because nobody else could!”  Rothauser cited Philip Morrison a Los Alamos scientist who made the long trip to Tinian Island to prepare the Fat Man unit that was dropped in combat on Nagasaki on August 9th. The evening before the Nagasaki mission, Morrison and fellow Los Alamos physicists Luis Alvarez and Robert Serber wrote a letter to a former Berkeley colleague, Professor Ryokichi Sagane, a professor of physics at the University of Tokyo . The letter stated, “It was obvious that we could build as many more [bombs] as might need (sic) to end the war by force.”  When asked if he knew the long term radiation effects the bomb would have, Morrison answered, “Yes, we knew, but it wasn’t a consideration.”  Rothauser quoted David Swanson’s new book, War Is A Lie, in which Swanson notes that all wars from the U.S. Civil War to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are based on lies designed to gain the support of the public and the military. He relayed to the audience MIT Professor and Pulitzer Prize winning author, (Embracing Defeat; Japan after World War II). John Dower’s quote that “Many scientists went into a deep depression after the results of their nuclear invention were reported.  Then, they went on to generate the hydrogen bomb”.

Rothauser stated that war is fomented upon lies that proclaim the necessity for more and bigger weapons.  “70,000,000 people lost in WWII,” he stated and that came about as a result of lies told to the public. He went on to tell the story (from the BBC documentary, Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor), reported to Hustler Magazine in 2008 by Joseph Leib, that revealed that more than 40 years after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, factual evidence proves that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew almost to the hour when the Japanese assault would begin – and deliberately did nothing to prevent it.  In fact, he had been working on his celebrated “Date Which Will Live in Infamy” speech several days before swarms of Japanese bombers and fighter planes demolished the U.S. Fleet and killed in excess of 2,400 American military citizens. (taken from original Hustler editorial lead-in)

“Today Nuclear Weapons are the most overriding threat to (the survival of life on the planet) global health,” Rothauser stated.  Japan has done the right thing in drafting (with American occupation forces) and sustaining Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.  This clause in the National Constitution of Japan prohibits an act of war by the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 19 47 , immediately following WWII.  In its text, the state formally renounces war as a sovereign right and bans settlement of international disputes through the use of force. Article 9 also states that, to accomplish these aims, armed forces with war potential will not be maintained, although Japan maintains de facto armed forces, referred to as the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

Rothauser suggested that Americans work to adopt a similar article in the U.S. Constitution. “ Japan has set the stage, we need to have the U.S. unite with Japan to form a coalition  to abolish war,” he said in his closing remarks.

Currently David Rothauser teaches American Theatre and Communication courses at Showa-Boston, a branch of Showa Women’s University in Tokyo . He is a long-standing member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors’ Equity and is registered with the Writers Guild of America.

As a social activist David helped organize a curriculum course at Hunter College in NY with sociology professor Alfonso Pinckney called Violence In American Society. Subsequently he taught his own course at Newbury College in Massachusetts called War & Peace: America in Vietnam , spoke publicly on war and peace issues and organized Model UN sessions with students. His articles about war and peace have been published in the Hiroshima Media Peace Center , the PanOrient News, the Christian Science Monitor and Z magazine.

With Satoko Norimatsu of the Vancouver Peace Philosophy Center , David founded a blog, ANNINA, Article Nine Network in North America . Article Nine is part of the Japanese Constitution (written by American occupation officials in 1946) that forbids Japan to ever make war again.

Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment