Fuyomi Kuono - Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
Set ten years after the US dropped the ‘Little Boy’ atomic bomb on Hiroshima, decimating the city, these two stories follow the lives of the Hibakusha (‘explosion-affected people’). ‘The first story, ‘Town of Evening Calm’, details the descent into illness of a young woman ten years after the bomb and sets the bleak tone of decay, loss and entrapment. ‘Country of Cherry Blossoms’ moves the action forward in time to show the physical and psychic fallout of the war still prevalent in second generation Hibakusha and the present day.
For those unfamiliar with both the manga format and Japanese history this is a good place to start. Written by Kouno, a Hiroshima native, the comic was a bestseller in Japan, where even in Hiroshima itself enough time has passed that the younger generations feel sufficiently distanced from the event that still defines the outsider’s view of the city. (Suzanne Black)