Popular Protest in Post War Japan: The Antiwar Art of Shikoku Gorō

Atom Bomb Poetry: A Book

For a book with the alarming words “atom bomb” in its title, Shikoku Gorō designed a striking cover that evokes the human cost of war, but employs an abstract visual vocabulary & palette resonant with mid-20th century viewers. He describes a line of human silhouettes in orange, in postures of contortion, struggle or disorientation. The faceless figures are unable to find footing on the undulating background design.

From the start, the Allied Occupation (1945-1952) severely curtailed publication about the atomic bombings out of concern that frank depictions or images of the nuclear aftermath might undermine the legitimacy of the Occupation and the victory itself. As the U.S. sharpened its anticommunist stance at home and with allies like Japan, authorities increasingly cracked down on antiwar and antinuclear protest movements associated with the left. Even this late in the Occupation, Tōge and Shikoku therefore sought out a like-minded underground local printer to publish this first edition.

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