I went to Japan in 1995 to explore, in paint and pencil, my confusion about my country’s justification for dropping atomic bombs on two cities in Japan. I have heard for as long as I have been alive that this horrendous rain of destruction was necessary to end the war, to save American lives and to bring democracy to a “backward” wrong-thinking country. I have been told that the Japanese were fanatics; a maniacally war- mongering people who would stop at nothing to take over the world. Therefore, according to that mind-set, America was justified to use the most heinous means to subject the Japanese. Apparently it worked.
The confusion that I had/have and that I went to Japan to explore, came from being raised a Christian with the mandates “Thou shalt not kill” “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Turn the other cheek” “Forgive thine enemy 7 times 70” and then squaring that with what I know our country is capable of.
I came away from Japan with my body of work and no answers. Only questions.