2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Japan, the Atomic Bomb, and Popular Culture:

Tracing Changing Attitudes


Samantha D. Pohlman
Dr. Maralyn Yaquinto, Dr. Heidi Cook, and Dr. Hara Masahiro , Faculty Mentors

This presentation explores the sudden pessimistic shift in representation of the atomic bomb in popular culture pieces from Japan. Engaging with early pieces such as Astro Boy (1951) and Godzilla (1956) show an optimistic outlook toward the role of nuclear power and nuclear science as a benefit to humanity. Later objects like Akira (1988) have a gruesomely pessimistic view, exploring the destructive and horrific side of nuclear power. Using art history formal analysis and knowledge of Asian studies, this presentation will pinpoint the cause of this drastic change and will give insight into the changing views held by the Japanese of the atomic bomb.

Keywords: Japan, Atomic Bomb, Astro Boy, Godzilla, Akira

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary Studies Major
Art - Art History
Asian Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 406-1
Location: MG 2090
Time: 2:30

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