This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (April 2013)
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The film moves between Shizuma Shigematsu's journal entries about Hiroshima in 1945, following the dropping of the atomic bomb, and the present, 1950, when Shigematsu and his wife Shigeko are the guardians for their niece Yasuko and charged with finding her a husband (she has been declined three times due to concerns over her having been in the "black rain" fallout). As the story progresses, Shigematsu sees more and more fellow hibakusha, his friends and family, succumbing to radiation sickness and Yasuko's prospects for marriage become more and more unlikely, as she forms a bond with a poor man named Yuichi, who carves jizo and suffers a form of post-traumatic stress disorder where he attacks passing motor vehicles as "tanks."
An academic comparative study of Black Rain (American film) and Black Rain (Japanese film), entitled "Nuclear Bomb Films in Japan and America: Two Black Rain Films" by Yoko Ima-Izumi included in Essays on British and American Literature and Culture: From Perspectives of Transpacific American Studies edited by Tatsushi Narita (Nagoya: Kougaku Shuppan, 2007).