'Collectivism In John Hersey's Hiroshima'

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When Hiroshima was bombed in August of 1945, over 150,000 were killed. In John Hersey’s book Hiroshima he writes of 6 survivors: Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, Dr. Masakuzu Fujii, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, and Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto, all of whom exhibited courage and perseverance. Of the six survivors three made sure to keep Japanese culture and collectivism (the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it) alive by using emotions, personal decisions, and social interactions. Dr. Fujii was 1550 yards away from the center of the blast, and displays traditional Japanese collectivism by using emotions. He does so by using the Japanese outlook on consensus: “… at the same time,…show more content…
Sasaki, was 1600yds away from the center of the blast at 8:15 on August 6, 1945. Two days later; while she was in her makeshift shelter, “Some friends who supposed she was dead came to look for her body and found her.” (Hersey 54) That quote shows traditional Japanese social interactions; which can be proven with another quote, “…Clear distinctions between people who belong to the community and people who are outsiders…” (Bestor 2) So, only people that know Miss Sasaki were going to help Miss Sasaki; those people include anyone living within the same general proximity of Miss Sasaki. Another incident that occurs just before the one mentioned before, is a prime example of traditional Japanese collectivism, “…that’s impossible.’ She said. ‘…my leg…’ The man went away.”(Hersey 32) Proof that the above quote is in fact an example of traditional Japanese collectivism can be found by using Japanese outlooks on community, social groups, and communication. First, from “Contemporary Japan: Culture and Society” comes the Japanese outlook on community,” People tend to watch out for one another…”(Bestor 1), which tells us to infer that this man had been trying to help Miss Sasaki but wanted to help other people. Second, from, ”US? Japan Culture Comparison” comes an example of how Japanese people generally communicate;” Words are not to be trusted as much as mutual feelings and non-verbal cues.”(Western Washington University 1), which tells us

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