Southern Japan during American Occupation
Southern Japan during American Occupation gives a very wide description of the urban planning of Hiroshima before, during and immediately after the bombing. It describes the historical urban development of Hiroshima to help understand deep traditional roots of the city’s economy and military culture that were eradicated in the bombing. It then explores of the damage induced by the bombing. All this as a means to lead up to the examination of the myriad of difficult choices made in the process of the city’s rebuilding after the war.
Hiroshima is discussed in the context of American involvement in Japan’s urban planning, a city planning that had “long been since centralised under the national government” (Blackford, 2007, p128) and continued to remain after the bombing.
As a more contemporary text, much of the information and facts in this text are drawn other historical texts and therefore could be interpreted and presented by the author to emphasise various points in his text and might not be strictly factual. For example, he describes Hiroshima’s mayor at the time as a ‘young man in his thirties, he was a bundle of energy and an inspiration to those around him’. Blackford also writes in such a way to make the Japanese concepts more relatable to his main audience: Americans. For example, he compares the Japanese zoning (City Planning and Urban Building laws in 1919) to those of the United States at the time. This could warp our understanding of the real Japanese concepts or miss out points completely. Our narratives need to be wary of these particular points about the text when referring to it.
BLACKFORD, M. G. (ed.) (2007) Southern Japan during American Occupation. In Pathways to the Present: U.S. Development and Its Consequences in the Pacific. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.