Oscar-Winner ‘Oppenheimer’ Finally Released in Japan

Oscar-Winner 'Oppenheimer' Finally Released in Japan
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And while Oppenheimer might not be Christopher Nolan’s best movie, as many fans of the director’s work agree, it is certainly his most acclaimed one. Oppenheimer has definitely been the hit movie of 2023 and has won numerous awards, among which are seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Murphy, and Best Supporting Actor for Downey. And while most of the world saw Oppenheimer back in 2023, there is one major market that did not show the movie at the time – Japan – but the movie has finally been released in Japanese theaters as well, an incredible eight months after its original premiere.

The reasons for Oppenheimer not being released in Japan last year are quite clear. Japan was the first country to suffer an atomic attack in history. American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are one of the worst war crimes ever committed in history, and while it’s been many decades since then, the symbolism remains. Due to political and societal reasons, the premiere of Oppenheimer in Japan was canceled, as the movie spoke of the invention of the atomic bombs that were ultimately dropped on Japan.

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While Nolan’s movie isn’t apologetic towards the crimes committed by the Americans in Japan – in fact, the movie is highly critical of the atomic bomb as a whole – we can understand why Japan was careful about releasing the movie in its theaters, as watching it could, indeed, be a painful experience for many, especially those who have survived the bombings as children.

The reaction of the Japanese public and moviegoers has been mixed, with the latter praising the movie, while public figures were more careful in their statements. Most negative comments were related to the film not depicting the horror of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with former Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka saying the following:

“From Hiroshima’s standpoint, the horror of nuclear weapons was not sufficiently depicted. The film was made in a way to validate the conclusion that the atomic bomb was used to save the lives of Americans.”

While not everyone agrees with Hiraoka’s opinion, it is true that the movie did not portray the wartime usage of the bomb, but Nolan’s approach definitely has to be commended, as he managed to recreate history in the best way possible while also showing the horrors of Oppenheimer’s invention, both the direct ones and the ones that were more subtle.

Be that as it may, the movie definitely sparked interest in Japan, and ‘Godzilla Minus One’ director Takashi Yamazaki even stated that he would like to make a Japanese “response” to Oppenheimer to show what it all looked like from their perspective; Yamazaki praised Nolan’s film as well.

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