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Grave of the Fireflies...

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Eric Hoh
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Grave of the Fireflies...

This is a Studio Ghibli animated film that portrays the destitution and harsh effects of World War II on Japanese people. I imagine that the film’s medium of animation might be a palatable approach to conveying some of the harsh realities and effects of war on everyday people. Growing up, Japan was largely illustrated either as a colonizing East Asian power that was responsible for kamikaze plane attacks at Pearl Harbor, or sensationalized and romanticized samurai warriors. This film does an excellent job of showing a less popular narrative in the scope of Japanese involvement in World War II. It humanizes the Japanese people and really challenges the viewer to consider the implications of war and government decision on common people. Although the Japanese were responsible for a number of atrocious acts of violence and abuse during their imperialistic pursuit, there were also still many Japanese people who were harshly affected by these historic events.