Grave of Fireflies

200610200251I just finished watching Grave of Fireflies. Amazing movie. Highly recommended. It’s the first Anime I’ve ever seen that’s both equally beautiful and disturbing at the same time.

I’ve always been interested in the Japanese Firebombing of WWII. It’s arguably a war crime and certainly unethical. But I guess the victors write the history books.

The firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities is considered a war crime by some. Unlike the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were at least partially intended to force Japan to capitulate immediately, fire-bombing, which killed more civilians in total, was carried out as a long-term strategy to destroy Japan’s ability to produce war materials as well as to undermine the Japanese government’s will to continue the war. In the context of total war, the large number of Japanese civilians killed by strategic bombing was seen as acceptable by the American administration. When reflecting on the campaign after the war, some expressed doubts about the morality of the firebombing. Curtis LeMay later said: “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal.” He felt, however, that his bombings were saving lives by encouraging Japan to surrender earlier. Former Japanese prime minister Fumimaro Konoe’s statement that, fundamentally, the thing that brought about the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29s, lends support to this view.

  1. This is a classic movie. When I asked my Japanese teacher (in Japan) if she had seen it, she started tearing up just at the mention.

  2. I agree, excellent film, highly recommended.

  3. Uh, when I saw this film about a year or two ago I couldn’t stop crying at the end of the movie. This was in MoMA NYC, not some friend’s basement.

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