Black Rain

Black rain is a metaphor for the nuclear fallout after the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is also the title of a film based on a book by Masuji Ibuse. Shohei Imamura turned it into a famous film that tells the story of a young girl contaminated by radioactive rain after the atom bomb on Hiroshima.

Black rain hits a group of people who are trying to flee in a boat after the atom bomb explosion. The drops of black rain on the face of the young girl Yasuko are like Kafka’s inscription of a verdict onto a body, calligraphed in black dots and lines on Yasuko’s white face. She is doomed to die, but is unaware of the verdict that the skies have pronounced onto her.

There is another scene in the film where rain occurs: during a conversation of two victims dying from radiation sickness who cannot bear to face death without knowing the whole truth of what happened to them. Yasuko dies in the end, and as she is being driven away to hospital in an ambulance, her uncle makes an irrational wish: if only a rainbow occurred just then, she could be saved.

There is no rainbow. Only the rainbow as a symbol of hope remains.


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