Japanese / Japan

Hikari no utsushie.
Hiroshima HIROSHIMA Hiroshima
(Soul-Lanterns. Hiroshima HIROSHIMA Hiroshima)

Kutsuki, Shō (text)
Tōkyō: Kōdansha, 2013. – 189 p.
ISBN 978-4-06-218373-4

Hiroshima | Atomic bomb | Survival | Compassion | School

Ever since her 2005 debut, Shō Kutsuki is a soughtafter author of young adult books. Her creative work ranges from fantasy stories to realistic novels about self-discovery and humanity. This carefully structured novel is her third contribution to Japanese atomic bomb literature, and it was awarded the 9th Fukuda Kiyoto Prize in 2014.

The book is about the ongoing problems faced by survivors of the 1945 atomic bomb drop. Working on a creative project, three members of a middle school art club try to artistically capture the suff ering of various people, including their club teacher and a mother. To do so, they draw on research and several short Tanka poems about the city of Hiroshima in the time before, during and after the explosion. The story suggests that grief, self-blame, and self-pity can be overcome when people actively engage with troubling matters. The author ends the book with a broad question concerning perpetrators, victims, and human ignorance. (Age: 13+)