‘Oppenheimer’ Finally Opens In Japan; Met With Mixed Reactions

British director Christopher Nolan speaks on stage about his movie "Oppenheimer" during Universal Pictures and Focus Features presentation at CinemaCon 2023, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 26, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

“Oppenheimer” finally opened in Japan on Friday and was met with mixed reactions, eight months after it hit theaters in the U.S.

The Christopher Nolan-directed film centers on the inner conflict American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer went through in creating the atomic bomb that was used in the destruction of the country’s cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Toshiyuki Mimaki, who survived the bombings when he was just a child, said he has been fascinated by the story of the man called “the father of the atomic bomb.”

“What were the Japanese thinking, carrying out the attack on Pearl Harbor, starting a war they could never hope to win,” Mimaki said in a phone interview with the AP.

“During the whole movie, I was waiting and waiting for the Hiroshima bombing scene to come on, but it never did,” he added, after seeing the film.

Others spoke to Reuters about the film that took home numerous awards at the 2024 Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild awards.

“Of course this is an amazing film which deserves to win the Academy Awards,” Hiroshima resident Kawai said, who gave only his family name.


“But the film also depicts the atomic bomb in a way that seems to praise it, and, as a person with roots in Hiroshima, I found it difficult to watch,” the person added, warning that he’s not “sure this is a movie that Japanese people should make a special effort to watch.”

Another Hiroshima resident, Agemi Kanegae, told the outlet, “The film was very worth watching. But I felt very uncomfortable with a few scenes, such as the trial of Oppenheimer in the United States at the end.”

While a younger movie goer, 19-year-old student Rishu Kanemoto, said after seeing the movie, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the atomic bombs were dropped, are certainly the victims.”

“But I think even though the inventor is one of the perpetrators, he’s also the victim caught up in the war,” he added.

Former Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka said, “From Hiroshima’s standpoint, the horror of nuclear weapons was not sufficiently depicted,” per a Japanese media outlet. “The film was made in a way to validate the conclusion that the atomic bomb was used to save the lives of Americans.”

During an online discussion between director Takashi Yamazaki and Nolan, the “Godzilla Minus One” filmmaker said, “I feel there needs to [be] an answer from Japan to Oppenheimer. Someday, I would like to make that movie,” and Nolan agreed, THR noted.

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