The “Barbenheimer” montages are no laughing matter in Japan, where the memory of the atomic bombings remains vivid

Ironizing about the atomic bomb does not amuse the Japanese, especially a few days before the commemorations of 78e anniversary of the bombings of August 6 and 9, 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The humorous montages created by mixing images from the two summer blockbusters, Barbie And Oppenheimer, accompanied by the hashtag “Barbenheimer”, annoy the Archipelago. The morning television programs of Wednesday August 2 devoted wide coverage to it.

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The broadcasts returned to several montages broadcast on social networks and the reactions of the administrators of the official account of Barbie. One of these montages shows Barbie smiling, wearing a mushroom cloud. “This Ken is a stylist”, ironically the administrators. Another montage presents Cillian Murphy, who plays Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb”, carrying Margot Robbie, the interpreter of Barbie on his shoulder in a city in flames. “It will be an unforgettable summer”laughs the official account of Barbie.

However, these images are no laughing matter in an Archipelago where the memory of the atomic bombings remains vivid. Attacks by US forces left more than 140,000 dead in Hiroshima and 74,000 in Nagasaki in the final days of World War II. The radiation permanently affected tens of thousands of other people, known as hibashukas, the bomb survivors.

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The memory of the bombs is maintained with constancy. All the Japanese schoolchildren go to one of the two targeted cities, where they hear the testimonies of the hibashukas and visit the monuments and museums devoted to the atomic attacks. The Prime Minister attends commemorations each year, which provide an opportunity to send messages of peace to the world and to plead for such tragedies not to happen again. It is in this spirit that the last G7 summit was held in May in Hiroshima.

Lack of respect

More generally, the Japanese do not like the diversion for humorous ends of tragedies, seeing in it a lack of respect for the victims. Drawings published in France after the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 had already caused a reaction.

This time, some Japanese created the hashtag “NoBarbenheimer” and responded to the montages with other montages. “And there, what do you feel? »launched a certain Otsuka (@kakinamasu) on the sidelines of a photo of the attacks of September 11, 2001, reworked in Barbie pink, while a user recalled that his grandfather “was in Hiroshima a few days before the atomic bombing. Among those who died under this mushroom cloud, there were many children of age to play with Barbie dolls. »

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