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

Representing Sites of War

Mobilization for War

With the technologies of airplanes and bombs, World War II brought the violence of war to towns and cities previously separated from the battlefront. The U.S. use of the first atomic bomb in combat on Hiroshima continued this wide-spread practice of air war, but with an utterly new and shockingly powerful weapon. Separate from the theme of nuclear destruction, Shikoku includes images in the Hiroshima Sketches that portray the multiple ways the city of Hiroshima contributed to the Japanese Empire’s building of a strong military for half a century before the bombing, as well as ways that the state and citizens mobilized for Total War from the late 1930s until 1945. During the Pacific war (1941-1945) when money and things were extremely scarce, Shikoku himself sadly came into his first set of oil paints and brushes when a family passed on those of their son, who had died on the battlefield (p. 114).

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