In the middle of my slightly insane two sleepless days at OSCON, I got an email from the New York Times asking me to write an op ed. They wanted me to write about my thoughts about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the bombing. They said the deadline was Friday. "You mean next Friday?" "No, the day after tomorrow." "Oh."

My mind was full of open source and the future of the Internet. The atomic bomb and World War II were definitely not on my mind. It would be an interesting challenge and it's not every day that the New York Times asks you to do an op ed, so I accepted.

Let me just say I'm glad I'm not a professional writer. I sat down a few times during the conference and tried to write something while sitting in the hall and chatting with people. It didn't work. At midnight, I sat down in front of my computer and stared at my screen and tried to forget about open source and think about the atom bomb. I was supposed to write about impressions from my generation and from a Japanese perspective. I first went on IM and interviewed a bunch of my Japanese friends to confirm my suspicion. No one was really thinking about the bombing of Hiroshima and didn't really have much of an impression.

Then, I remembered a few papers I had read recently and Googled around for recent articles. After about 30 minutes, my head was "in the space" and I was able to start writing. It only took about 30 minutes to finish the draft. Afterwards, I went to #joiito and had the channel help me edit it. (Thanks everyone.)

Initially, I had thought that I would only be able get this done if I disconnected my computer from the Internet. In fact, the Internet turned out to be a valuable resource in getting my head around my thoughts and then getting feedback from a bunch of eyeballs on the text.

The story will run in the New York Times on Sunday in the Op Ed section. If I'm lucky, the International Herald Tribune will pick it up. If you have a chance, let me know what you think. I'll post a link here as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: The article is now online.

UPDATE 2: The International Herald Tribune picked it up too...

59 Comments

To me, the interesting part of your post is "Initially, I had thought that I would only be able get this done if I disconnected my computer from the Internet. In fact, the Internet turned out to be a valuable resource in getting my head around my thoughts and then getting feedback from a bunch of eyeballs on the text."

I did a guest lecture in November of 2003, How to Use Computers and the Internet in Daily Transactions, in which I discussed "Thinking with a laptop in hand. The pencil-paper-brain loop versus the brain-laptop-net loop."

I think we are evolving in ways suggested by Ray Kurzweil and Brian Herbert's discussion of Omnius. The Internet has led to a massive collective brain.

My complete presentation, if you are interested, can be found at http://jmsdrgn.squarespace.com/storage/How%20to%20Use%20Computers%20and%20the%20Internet%20in%20Daily%20Transactions.pdf

This morning's news interviewed random strangers about the bombing. Almost half couldn't remember facts like the name of the plane carrying the bomb (Enola Gay), what time the bombing was (8.15), and some more. (It's also curious you thought the deadline was next Friday, since that would be a week after the memorial.) I wonder if the atomic bomb event is slipping out of the Japanese minds. Either way, looking forward to what you wrote about it.

Fascinating discussion on many levels, and I appreciate the personal disclosure that, given continued media interest in the retrospective view, "No one was really thinking about the bombing of Hiroshima and didn't really have much of an impression."

I'm more interested, however, in the democratic way in which you produced the piece, completely enabled by technology's ease of use. Your commentary here demonstrates that "man on the street," once a staple of daily newspapers, is no more and is replaced by the "man on IM." You intereviewed people you know, allowed the marketplace to review your work and have developed a piece that millions will read and be impressed -- favorably or otherwise -- in tomorrow's online and print publications.

Very cool, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Awesome Joi--

I don't usually read the NYT but I'll pick it up this Sunday.

A

You may have seen this Hiromi Tsuchida project in your researches, but here's a link from Chile: http://www.fernandoflores.cl/node/535

I look forward to your op-ed piece. I saw an early report on the anniversary in the Seattle Times on-line this week and I began to grieve. Nothing about winners, losers, justification, outrage, none of that. Just grieving. I'm not far away from that mood right now.

What's the remuneration for doing the work? A couple of grand, or some chaffy notoriety? If it's the later, I'd old the 'Everything that's fit to print' Jew York Times, 'Money talks, BS walks.'

I don't expect to see any bombshell opinions expressed in the Jew York Times op-ed page. JYT is familiar with JOI's work (they don't just call anyone asking for contributions), and are reasonably confidant the material submitted will be within their editorial guidelines (read censorship policy).

Congrats, Joi!

This is why I dropped by nytimes subscription and only read the economist and wallstreet journal for hard news. Of all the people who could have written about this important event on its anniversary why not get one of the more authoritative voices, better writers, and people more in touch with Japanese pop culture such as novellists, movie directors, artists, etc.

Congrats on the NYT opportunity! I look forward to reading the piece.
I know that moment of staring at the screen late at night — it can be intimidating.

Mr Ito, what if you had submitted this blog post? There seem to be very honest and compelling points:

"They wanted me to write about my thoughts about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the bombing...My mind was full of open source and the future of the Internet."

...

"I first went on IM and interviewed a bunch of my Japanese friends to confirm my suspicion. No one was really thinking about the bombing of Hiroshima and didn't really have much of an impression."

I hope those made it into the piece.

Well, I've not been asked by anyone to submit an op-ed (tho I've thought about it), but I DO have a whole set of blog posts on the subject....over a month's worth. Starting at the beginning of July, I've turned my weblog, 2020 Hindsight, into the 1945 Commemorative Edition (really! I've been blogging for 5.5 years about all kindsa stuff before my kinda catchy blog name all of a sudden became a very apt description for this 6-week-long series on the first test and use of the atomic bomb.)

I've been blogging as tho it's 1945, or "live blogging" the bomb, timeshifted by 60 years. I'm taking what's best about blogs (time-stamped posts) to tell a story today that couldn't be told *then* --because it was classified. And stripping off the look-back-from-60 years inevitability to enter into the "will it work?" "What will happen?" uncertainties experienced by those who lived then.

You can find the whole series in my blog's 1945 category page. It'll take a bit for the page to load, but once it does, go to the bottom, and scroll up.

To 10- Susan Kitchens

Interesting concept. I shall have to read the 1945 Commemorative Edition in greater debth when the mood strikes me.

Shameless plug though. (kidding) ;-)

Joi,
Two point, which avarage Ameriacan do not get, are:
1. It was a mass murder of civilian population. There were no military targets.
2. And It had eperimental nature
Two bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were totally different designes, which the American scientists wanted to do the experiments, according to "Atomic Cafe", which is a documentally film about Dr. Oppennhaimer.
M

Joi,
Addional points:
Those cities had been preserved from conventional bombings so that scientists/ military could observe the damages and impacts, according to "Atomic Cafe".
A US General was quoted in a interview, " It would never have happened in Europe."; I am not sure after I learned what happened in Dresden.
M

I enjoyed the op-ed very much. While it was certainly cast as the view of one japanese man, it clarified a few things for me. (I'm in Tsukuba for the summer, first visit to japan).

Particularly:

Through a combination of conscious policy and unconscious culture, the painful memories and images of the war have lost their context, surfacing only as twisted echoes in our subculture.

The lack of any obvious "rebellious" spirit in combination with the post-punk style that dominates teenage style is explained pretty well by this. Thanks.

MI: Was Nanking a military target when the Japanese bombed it in the '30s? Were those civilians they used for bayonet practice during the Rape? Or do you believe that Japanese aggression never happened?

And Hiroshima was a military target. The headquarters of the 2nd Army Headquarters was there, an assembly area for troops and a communications center.

To condemn what happened there and at Nagasaki while forgetting that the events of the previous 15 years led to it is to distort history, and ruin your credibility.

I liked your piece, Joi. The Tokyo I see around me today is so far removed from the Tokyo of the 1930s and 40s that I have difficulty believing it's the same place at all. Debating the rights and wrongs of atomic bombings which happened 30 years before I was born feels like a futile exercise. I can only study such stories from the past with a neutral attitude, and hope it never happens again in the future.

huh... vacuous essay. Strange they gave it to you to write, on such short notice, considering all the many japanese who have considered this serious issue in depth across the years, and might have something serious to say.

Like I tried to say in the lead of my story... I can agree with and argue about why the bombing was wrong and could debate for hours about whether the US would have done it in a non-Asian country, what Japan did to deserved to have the bombs dropped, whether the intelligence was correct, whether there was an effort for the Japanese to forge peace, whether it was necessary... I've been having these discussions all my life. The point of my opinion in the op ed is that deep down inside, I'm not emotional about it in a first-person sort of way, and I was trying to express that feeling. Frankly, if I have the time, I like to talk about Africa and the Middle East.

Joi, I thought your editorial was a frank, matter of fact discussion about your thinking on the topic, and many of your peers. It gives a great deal of insight into the younger generation of Japanese, the modern forward thinking, more affluent Japanese.

It doesn't provide the whole picture -- you weren't asked to give an opinion as historian or cultural anthropologist. But it does provide insight into your facet of the Japanese view of the atomic bombings. And it does so matter of factly, and without any forced or fake 'emotional' embellishments. As such, it is excellent.

I also think you've helped capture an important aspect of the major disconnect between Japan and China, and Japan and Korea. You once wanted to better understand why it existed. I think you've partially answered your question.

That was positively dreadful. You could have written a powerful essay about the most significant event of the 20th century for the most powerful editorial platform in the world. But instead you rambled on about your family. The NYTimes OpEd page is not your personal blog.

Joi, if you wanted to talk about Africa or the Middle East, you could have done so. Take a look at today's Japan Times article with Herbert Bix (the writer who wrote about Hirohito). He compares Japan's aggression with the wars the US have started this era. It was a very good comparison and he made some good points.

good article!

Interesting variety of responses. As Shelley points out, the NYT chose me to write something, not because I'm a historian, but because I'm a random sample of a particular generation or class of people. My op ed was a two piece set balanced with another more emotional piece involving memories of survivors. The editor asked me to write about my impressions and be "impressionistic". If I had been asked to do something loftier, I would probably have turned it down. More accurately, if they were looking for something loftier, they probably wouldn't have asked me. I'm quite sure I delivered what the editors were looking for. Otherwise, they wouldn't have run the piece. This isn't a response to any criticism about the content of the article. I just want to point out that I had nothing to do with the editorial decision to run the article, I just provided my own honest view based on guidelines from the editors.

As Shelley points out, this erased memory of our generation in Japan contrasts starkly with China and Korea. I believe that the difference between having a hostile occupation vs. a post-war friendly occupation has a lot to do with the memory of a war. I also remember the story of my great grandmother and try to imagine the interaction between soldiers in Iraq with civilians there. I think the US occupation of Japan was very unique in many ways.

Adriaan: I was talking generally. I spend more time thinking about Africa than the bombing of Hiroshima, but if the New York Times wanted an op ed about Africa, I shouldn't be the one writing it.

Great Joi! Your second to last paragraph made me think about the west's attitude in moral statements that were influenced from WW2. It should be the "greatest generation" who have the right to moral statements, not their sons who've done nothing to earn it.

To dwell on death doesn't let you get past it.

It reminds me of a speech by Shimon Peres that I once heard where he said that he wanted to teach children about the future instead of the past, because the past was written in blood. I understand the importance of recognizing history and I'm not trying get out of the necessity of Japan coming to terms with its wartime past, but the past is a bloody place. It should be balanced with thoughts about the future. However, having written that the Japanese have "forgotten," I'm still not sure if this is a "good thing." It's just the truth and pretending otherwise is not effective.

Joi stealth blogs the NYT!! ;)

Seriously though, it is an interesting piece precisely because it is personal and honest.

Really appreciated your piece Joi. Was especially struck by the part about the unexpected respect the American officer showed your great grandmother and grandmother. I think that American Officer did something incredible - in that act he . We often think of soldiers as warriors and indeed many times they are. But, we need more peacemakers in this world. And that is the paradox in military folk. Some officers certainly did rape and pillage - we need to celebrate when that happens.

Indeed, it's not about forgetting the past, but building on the future while making sure you don't repeat the same mistakes previous generations made in the past.

wow. Just great. I love how you included the story about the army officer and the boots; such a little thing that showed how (relatively) human and humane the occupation was, and that particular story often leaped to mind when hearing stories about soldiers in Iraq doing their late-night "break-in" raids, and also this picture; many americans cannot see the critical mistake of cultural disrespect these marines are making, but I expect all Japanese do. (not that smashing through a city wasn't also "bad optics", but without respect of culture building trust and friendship is difficult if not impossible).

Joi, I'm comparing the "cultural reset button" that you describe as Japan's experience with the "never forget" slogan that I grew up with, as the child of a holocaust refugee, and the "south will rise again" nostalgia in the postwar US south.

The Jewish community made a major cultural effort to remember the holocaust itself, and many young people get holocaust curriculum in schools, films, museum trips. The strong memory of the holocaust itself is contrasted with less strong and often sentimentalized cultural memories of life in Europe.

Among white people in the US South, a culture which I know less well, there has been over time a strong strain of cultural nostalgia, sometimes tending toward racism and desire for a hierarchical society. Even today there is a subculture of civil war re-enactors.

Not sure what to make of this, other than reflection on the different ways that cultures respond to severe trauma and cultural discontinuity.

It is what it is, a personal, honest op-ed piece: a departure from the compelling issues such as the use of atomic weapons; MacCarthur's controversial exoneration of Hirohito; the millions of casulties that would have resulted from an invasion of the Japanese mainland; and the continued government-sponsored refusal to fully address the brutal occupations,wartime atrocities, and total disregard of the Geveva Convention protocols committed by Japanese troops.

I thought that was an awesome piece especially given the time restraints. It was another era run/ruined by another group of people. Those born afterwords have no responsibility other than to remember the mistakes of the past and try to live in the present. Wailing and moaning about the past seems worthless to me. Good Job Joi.

Thank you for your touching account. Identification of the generational aspects is very helpful. I favor how you grounded it in the experience of real people known to you, and your own life. I don't find the abstractions to giant questions preferred by others to be very helpful in getting to how life and culture are impacted at an understandable, individual level across generations. I am also left with more perspective on the disappointment you express about Japanese political institutions. Thanks.

PS: Thanks for the picture of Lawrence Rosen at OSCON. I am turning the pages through his book and realizing that I need to be using his AFL 2.1 along with Creative Commons Attribution 2.5. Sigh.

Very good op-ed. They asked for *your* thoughts, and you gave them. Pity some here can't see that. Not everyone wants to be on a soapbox or barricade.

Well put, Joi!

Joi, im impressed for the op-ed; not for the facts but for the diferences in the culture i see.

On some countries we are so "tied" to the past that it wont let us look forward, and the way you describe the "conscious policy and unconscious culture" is a key distinction i see.. one i can easily admire.

btw, i;ve tried to ping you from clarin.com but it keeps sending me error :S

Joi,

What a delightful surprise to open my Times and read your insightul op/ed. Congrats on a refreshing piece.

Cheers,

Lu

Joi,

There is some question of whether "our" generation here has "forgotten" or if the "forgetting" was imposed upon them. Its not a question that can be answered in a few paragraphs, I wont try. I just wanted to raise the point. It seems to me that very few people I meet around our age have any knowledge of history after the Meiji Restoration. The events of the 20th century, both soto and uchi, seem to be missing from the education process. I'm a pretty strong believer in the adage of ignorance leads to repetition. Am I off base with this?

BTW there were some interesting threads on neomarxisme recently regarding the young Japanese punks/otaku use of third reich iconography.


I'm tempted to say something emotionally charged about the US' crazed motivations behind racking up an astronomical civilian body count, but I'll try to take a lesson from the remarkably matter-of-fact and forward looking tone of your article. Personal and insightful. Thanks.

Chris : I tried to allude to it a bit, but I think it was partially deliberate. I think that the reconsideration of the War that was trying to happen, for instance through the Teachers Union was stifled and crushed by the conservatives with the support of the US because they were leftist in nature. I do think that the education in addition to various other forces contributed to the "forgetting."

I agree about the Otaku culture. Although I wouldn't call it mainstream, there are various interesting weird counter-culture trends there. I think that many threads have ended up there because of the relative lack of interest by the main stream.

Thanks for the sharing. Honest, lucid, human. Simple words to convey such an Option for Life.
And for your grand-grand mother, hats off!

Nice article, Joi!

The story about the US soldiers at your home seems to be a favourite of yours :-). I remember you including it in a talk 2 years ago at the ISC in Switzerland, at the pre-conf with Varsavsky.

Interesting op-ed, and thanks. I forwarded it to my father-in-law, who
was a member of the occupation forces and tells many similar stories
of unexpected kindnesses on both sides. (As I recall, Gen. MacArthur
insisted on such courtesy as part of his occupation strategy.)

Two things strike me. One is the unspoken assumption that the Japanese
*should* view the atomic bombing the same way many Americans do.
While some Americans no doubt view the use of nuclear weapons as
immoral, almost all view the war itself as just. It seems the Japanese
don't have the same luxury to pick and choose which events to condemn,
a kind of rational compartmentalization that you can only do when
you're emotionally detached. Similarly, few Germans dwell on Dresden,
since they tend to be preoccupied with the larger and thornier issues
of Hitler and the Holocaust.

Which brings up the second point. Germans and Japanese appear to have
adoped opposite strategies for dealing with their collective traumas.
The Germans appear to agonize over it and drill it into their
students, while as your op-ed points out the Japanese tend to forget
about it, even willfully so. Has either approach been more successful
than the other? There's the old saying about how if your forget the
past you're condemned to repeat it, but your op-ed appears to
undermine that claim. It's annoying for those of us who are concerned
with fostering a sense of history, but perhaps serves a useful purpose
in the end.

Wow Joi,
I'm so glad you ultimately said yes to the NYT. What clarity, honesty, and perspective! Thanks also to your "collaborators" for their input. Best op-ed piece I've read in ages...just what you needed, right? Another thing you are great at, that folks will want you to do more of!

Interesting what you think about Hiroshima. I'm born 1971 and had the chance to travel to Hiroshima with my Japanese friends. Having seen the museum, to me Hiroshima is the ultimate war crime. There is only one nation that used a nuclear weapon against human kind. And they did it not only once they did it twice. War is always a time of crime, however I will never understand that one side always seems to get away as the good guys.
Looking at the history from 1900 till today the really bad part is that they didn't learn anything. Still empire building is very much en vogue in the place with the most nuclear weapons on this planet.

Too bad this article wasn't written by someone willing or able to probe more deeply into his own lack of interest in the atomic bombings. That would have been a lot more interesting than these trifling observations on pop culture.

@S.G.

I have an Uncle who literally lost millions of dollars on bad investments he made. Although the damage was done several years ago, he beats himself up over it to this day and we believe that's why his health is failing.

Through reading this editorial and through lessons of history, I've come to believe that Japan accomplished its postwar success by applying lessons from the past while refusing to obcess over it. What are you going to say about Atomic bombings themselves, anyway? They're really bad and deadly. Da bottom line, I guess.

I love how people are bagging on you without even knowing much about the situation. Many people like to forget that the alternative to the nuke was a land invasion by the Americans AND the Russians. They forget that the 'Amerika no inu ni naru yori shinda hou ga ii' (It's better to die than become the dog of America) mentality was forced on the populace by the militants. Perhaps millions of bamboo stave-wielding civilian Japanese shot dead would be a better answer? Soviet Invasion? It is not so easy to assign possible outcomes to war.

I am married to a Japanese lady after years of living and working as a translator in the Kansai area, and her parents can remember back to those days, though their memories remain nebulous. Kyoto seemed to have been untouched by the war, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law (who live right on Teramachi across from Gosho) seem to have slightly fond memories of the occupation after the long years of fascist rhetoric they claim to have heard. I am the new American occupier, I guess.

Perhaps that's why when I asked them about the bomb, they simply said 'Shoganai, senso ha senso da.' (There's no way it can be helped, war is war.'

People seem to want some idyllic response that confirms their prejudiced view that those killed by the atom bomb were somehow more wrongly dead then those killed in the Bataan death march, or in Manchuria, or in the fire bombings of Tokyo.

War is harder to explain than genshibakudan (atom bomb) = bad. The reset button DID exist and I agree. Japan many times surges forwards, only to surge back (the difference between Oda and Tokugawa, and the Meiji parliament and the reactionary Shinsengumi alone show the truth in this). Ancient Japan decided to fight a war with the modern world, and the modern world fought back.

Nagai posuto sumahen ne... Email ha itsudemo dozo. Sukunakutemo Kyoto no koto wo hanaserun da.

@ skype_fan

Joi wrote in another thread:

I answered two questions. The first question was about perception in Japan about the anniversary of the bombing. I pointed out that the Japanese news media were less obsessed about the anniversary ceremony than the Western media.

This is a very interesting observation, but perhaps the reason for it is obvious. Most Americans of sound mind and judgement feel guilt over this black mark in our history. We can never prove if there was a better way to end the War against an enemy that was essentially already defeated, but we can still easily lament the day our nation took an irreversible step towards a nightmarish future. And, needless to say, we greatly fear a nuclear attack ourselves these days.

When it comes to expressing anger over the first nuclear attack, the Japanese have first dibs, I think. If it's anyone's, it is certainly their beef. Instead, they have chosen to take a path that most benefits their wellness and culture. As a result, others of less sound judgement, perceive this anger as being "up for grabs" and have decided to adopt that angst for themselves. What then, is their true underlying motive?

Perhaps the lesson here is that even though the US "won" the War, the Japanese people emerged as the true heroes because they stopped the cycle of anger and emerged victorious as a culture and society.

Mr Ito, I thought the article was excellent. You should write some more about Japanese current affairs. I feel your critics on this blog do not understand that what you are writing about is infact key to understanding the Japanese society. The difference between generations in Japan is far more stark than in most countries. Almost every generation since the Meiji revolution has had a fundamentally different reality to try to cope with. I don't know how to use trackback but I linked to you from my blog.

A beautifully written piece Joi. You should be a regular columnist.

Mother: [sitting in Frankfurt´s Haus der Jugend, reading an English-language paper, something I haven´t done in a week] "Here´s a great piece about Hiroshima and the current Japanese mindset you would like..."

Me: [unfilially] "What would a western reporter know about that mindset? Who wrote it?"

Mother: I don´t know who it is, Joe-something

Me: [checking the byline] ...

Mother: What?

Me: I reckon he knows what he´s writing about.

---
Thanks for showing up on Sunday, against all odds.

The crticism of your piece is certainly misplaced. Those who criticize you only do so because you did not represent the views they hold about current political states. Too many people who reference Hirohsima and Nagasaki do so to further support their positions regarding current politics, but current politics is not the yardstick by which to measure the events of the past.

What occurred in the past was something grieved over by many of the participants although they truly believed it to be the lessor evil of several options for ending that war. Our generations were born after the war and we tend to measure those events with hindsight based on current knowledge then unappreciated or unknown. The same attitude is used by those moderns who condemn the slave holders who helped found the United States of America. If one must look at these actions using modern hindsight, then the question should be - would those parties have acted in the same manner if they knew what we know now?

You wrote your article from the perspective of one who is Japanese in the 21st century looking back in time at what happened to his ancestors, but no to himself. In doing so you give a clearer picture of how the rest of us should probably see those events than some seem to be comfortable with. Those who have taken possession of the anger and angst that by right belong only to the Japanese victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki have done so for their own selfish purposes and compound those tragedies in the process.

Thank you for a well thought out and carefully written article. As an early baby boomer I have had opportunity to watch the changing historical views of these events. I grew up in the "duck and cover" time period where children were taught to be terrified of the nuclear menace. The views of the succeeding genrations will continue to evolve. Unfortunately, there will always be those who use such tragedies to attack the views of those who disagree with them politically or those, like yourself, who simply want to live on instead of living down the past.

In my opinion, your article has more importance than most of the hollow tomes by those who only wish to be politically correct or use those events to shore up equally hollow arguments on current political events.

@Michael. Very nice post -- cogent and thoughtful. Thank you.

Those who have taken possession of the anger and angst that by right belong only to the Japanese victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki have done so for their own selfish purposes and compound those tragedies in the process.

I couldn't agree more. And maybe those of us who wail with guilt over the affair are only doing so for our own gratification. Sometimes, though, I fear that through their recovery, the Japanese have set an example which is *too good*; making it seem as if rising from the ashes like a phoenix is a natural part of the process.

The next time a nuclear weapon is exploded in anger, the world will probably change overnight and the trajectory of that dramatic change will probably go on for centuries. Maybe only then, will we truly appreciate the accomplishments of postwar Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As for how the New York Times actively SOLICITS oped pieces, rather
than waits fot them to come in from the public, here's an inside look
by Joi Ito, who was asked to write one recently:

"In the middle of my slightly insane two sleepless days at OSCON, an
Internet conference, I got an email from the New York Times asking me
to write an op ed piece for them. They wanted me to write about my
thoughts about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the occasion
of the 60th anniversary of the bombing. They said the deadline was
Friday. "You mean next Friday?" "No, the day after tomorrow." "Oh."

My mind was full of open source and the future of the Internet. The
atomic bomb and World War II were definitely not on my mind. It would
be an interesting challenge and it's not every day that the New York
Times asks you to do an op ed, so I accepted."

And that, folks, is how the Times does it. Everything is planned,
assigned, set up in advance. Joe Public is not invited to that page,
ever!

Ellie : Partially true. I will say that they made it very clear that they hadn't committed to printing it and that they were just telling me what they were looking for. They said that there was a good chance that they wouldn't run it and couldn't say until they saw it.

I have, in the passed, submitted an op ed to the New York Times and have had it turned down. ;-)

Aside from the views of your generation (or when it comes down to it, "you"), if you are saying that World War II, the atomic bombings, the fire bombings are no longer of much consequence, or interest, to most Japanese, then I beg to differ.

Living in Japan, watching Japanese television, reading Japanese newspapers, seeing what is being published in Japanese, I know that every year there is a great deal of activity around August in all the media dealing with various aspects of the war. There are also a good many official ceremonies. And all of this does not deal only with Japan, but also with Germany and other countries.

There are also the recent demonstrations in China and South Korea about Japan's invasion or colonization of these countries. There is also the movement in the Liberal Democratic Party to revise the constitution and perhaps redefine the Self Defense Force's role. There have been debates on TV between young Japanese and Koreans concerning these subjects. There is the matter of whether Prime Minister Koizumi should or should not visit Yasukuni Shrine.

Naturally, every generation is principally concerned with the events that surrounded it, but if each generation refused to consider anything that preceded it, then that would truly be a shame.

euh ça parle de quoi ton blog j'y capte ketchi moua

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Joi Ito's NY Times Op-ed piece: On the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima: " An Anniversary to Forget " (See my previous post regarding the process Joi used to write it.) Read More

It is the 60th Anniversay of the Hiroshima detonation. Joi Ito has a big bit in the times, who blogs. . . Read More

  OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR                         An Anniversary to ForgetBy JOICHI ITOSixty years after Hiroshima, Japan\'s postm... Read More

The New York Times asked Joi Ito to write an op-ed for them commemorating the anniversary of Hiroshima, which he did. It's called "An Anniversary to Forget" and is in today's issue. I've spent enough time in Japan and studying... Read More

Joi Ito writes an OpEd piece in the New York Times about the Japanese atomic bombs, sixty years ago.... Read More

Internet entrepreneur Joi Ito describes how he wrote an op-ed piece published in today's New York Times: "Initially, I had thought that I would only be able get this done if I disconnected my computer from the Internet. In fact,... Read More

Joi Ito writes an OpEd piece in the New York Times about the Japanese atomic bombs, sixty years ago. [GOOD NEWS:] Robert Scoble is back from his blogging vacation. Robert, you have the coolest non-billionaire job at Microsoft. A lot... Read More

You might reasonably expect that Japanese would hate Americans for bombing their country, but it just didn't work out that way. Read More

前几天广岛原子弹爆炸爆炸60周年的时候,纽约时报请Joi Ito为其写一篇纪念文章。答应下来以后,他在自己的Blog上这么描述自己的写作过程: 一开始的时候,我想我应该断开网络静静的思考 Read More

I though I’d comment on Joi Ito’s NY Times op-ed piece on the 60th anniversay of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and I wanted to do so by referring to Akira Kurosawa’s I Live in Fear (1955) (the image here is a poster for th... Read More

Last week saw Japan, and the world, commemorate the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which an estimated 220,000 people lost their lives. The bombings... Read More

Last week saw Japan, and the world, commemorate the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which an estimated 220,000 people lost their lives. The bombings... Read More

Bamboo is usually a very strong plant, and even though it shatters on this kid's back, it still Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Joi published on December 21, 2012 3:18 PM.

Time to get cranking on our book was the previous entry in this blog.

My foreword to "Writing My Wrongs" by Shaka Senghor is the next entry in this blog.

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