Hiroshima residents react to 'Oppenheimer' Oscars win

Oppenheimer movie
Oppenheimer movie. Photo: IMDb

Hiroshima: Half a world away from Hollywood, citizens in Hiroshima, Japan, reacted to the best picture win for 'Oppenheimer', the blockbuster that depicted the race to develop the atom bomb that devastated their city 78 years ago.

The biopic about physicist J Robert Oppenheimer took in seven Oscars at Sunday night's Academy Awards after grossing $954 million worldwide. But the film has yet to screen in Japan, the only country to have suffered nuclear bombing, with U.S. strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of World War Two.

"I myself would definitely like to watch this movie," said Yasuhiro Akiyama, a 43-year-old teacher. "I hope more people around the world who have seen the movie would want to visit Hiroshima and come to the Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome," he added.

'Oppenheimer' will finally open in Japan on March 29, about eight months after its debut. The opening last summer came just weeks before memorials of the blasts that claimed more than 200,000 lives.

Controversies over the film's content, which some criticized as glossing over the human toll of the bombings, and marketing cast doubt on whether the film would get shown in Japan.

Many Japanese were offended by a fan-created 'Barbenheimer' campaign online that linked the movie to 'Barbie', another blockbuster that opened around the same time. Teruko Yahata, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, last week told Reuters that she was eager see 'Oppenheimer' and hoped it would reinvigorate debate over nuclear weapons.

That sentiment was echoed by several Hiroshima residents interviewed after the film reaped Oscar gold. "I think it's important to have a peaceful world where people no longer fight each other, so I hope this movie will give everyone an opportunity to learn about peace," said Miyuki Hirano, a 44-year-old nurse.

Yoshito Ihara said he doubted nuclear-armed nations would ever let go of the weapons, but he hoped the movie could educate individuals and motivate them to press for change. "I have not seen the movie, but I think it's a chance for ordinary Japanese people to learn (about the bombing)," said Iwata, a 63-year-old real estate agent. "I think it is an issue every single person in the world must continue to fight against."

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