Oppenheimer premieres in Japan to mixed reactions

Oppenheimer finally premiered Friday in the country where two cities were wiped out 79 years ago by nuclear weapons invented by the American scientist who was the subject of the Oscar-winning film. Reactions from Japanese moviegoers were understandably mixed and very emotional.

Toshiyuki Mimaki, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima when he was 3, said he was fascinated by the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, often called “the father of the atomic bomb” for leading the Manhattan Project.

“What were the Japanese thinking when they launched the attack on Pearl Harbor, starting a war they could never hope to win,” he said, with sadness in his voice, in a telephone interview with the ‘Associated Press.

He is now president of a group of bomb victims called the Japanese Confederation of the A and H Bomb Victims Organization and he has seen Oppenheimer during a preview event. “During the entire movie, I waited and waited for the Hiroshima bombing scene, but it never happened,” Mimaki said.

Oppenheimer does not directly describe what happened on the ground when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly reducing some 100,000 people to ashes and killing thousands more in the days that followed, most of them civilians.

The film instead focuses on Oppenheimer as a person and his internal conflicts.

The film’s release in Japan, more than eight months after its release in the United States, was viewed with apprehension due to the sensitivity of the subject matter.

Former Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka, speaking at a preview of the film in the southwestern city, was more critical of what was omitted.

“From Hiroshima’s point of view, the horror of nuclear weapons was not enough…

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