31. Juli 2023 Johannes Wolters

Täglich einen Kurzen: „Obon“ by Andre Hörmann & Anna Samo


In collected illustrations by survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, there are two striking pieces by Akiko Takakura, who was about 300 yards from the hypocenter. One shows a woman who is so thirsty, she is trying to drink black rain. Another shows a hand emitting blue flames. When we met Ms. Takakura in 2012, we were surprised to find that her story offered a glimmer of hope amid all the horror. At just 19 years old, surrounded by catastrophe, she experienced a kind of affection from her father that she never received before. It was a small moment of happiness during unspeakable tragedy. We asked ourselves how she had found peace with a world that had been so cruel to her. Did the secret lie in the moment when her father washed her hands after the bombing? What does an act of love in a moment of despair mean? We lived with the voice of Ms. Takakura for the years it took to complete the animated film above. There were many moments when we wanted to walk away from this project, to close our eyes to the horror we were illustrating. Her voice urged us forward, asking us not to forget. The illustrations by Ms. Takakura and other survivors inspired the visual style of the film. They were predominantly created by individuals who weren’t professional artists, who presented their stories in a raw and unfiltered way. They were saying: This is what happened to us. There are few people alive today who saw the impact of the atomic bombing with their own eyes. When they’re gone, their memories and raw emotions go with them. We were lucky to be able to capture Ms. Takakura’s story, in her own voice. Though there are thousands of stories of Hiroshima, the experience of a single survivor reminds us that there is only one possible human response: This should never happen again. –

Text and Film by André Hörmann and Anna Samo

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