Black Rain (1989 Japanese film)

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Black Rain
Black Rain 1989.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Shohei Imamura
Produced by Hisa Iino
Written by Ibuse Masuji (story)
Toshiro Ishido
Starring Yoshiko Tanaka
Kazuo Kitamura
Music by Toru Takemitsu
Cinematography Takashi Kawamata
Edited by Hajime Okayasu
Distributed by Hayashibara Group
Imamura Productions
Tohokushinsha Film Co
Release date
  • May 13, 1989 (1989-05-13)
Running time
123 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Black Rain (黒い雨, Kuroi ame) is a 1989 Japanese film by director Shohei Imamura and based on the novel of the same name by Ibuse Masuji. The events are centered on the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


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."



The film has strong themes of suffering, transience and the uncertainty of the time of one's death.[1]

Aside from its compassionate treatment of the hibakusha, who were often shunned by their fellow Japanese, this film is remarkable for its terrifying re-creation of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and its immediate aftermath. Its scenes of horribly burned survivors of the explosion, their flesh seared or flayed by the heat, struggling to escape from under collapsed buildings or find cooling water in which to immerse themselves, often dying in the streams once they find them, are unforgettable.





  1. ^ Tachibana, Reiko (November 8, 1998). "Seeing Between the Lines: Imamura Shohei's Kuroi Ame (Black Rain)". Literature Film Quarterly. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  2. ^ a b "Festival de Cannes: Black Rain". Retrieved 2009-08-01. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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).

External links[edit]