Masuji Ibuse

The main character in the novel is in some ways like myself. Mr. Shizuma is a person that is intrigued by
many things and likes to see what reaction people have from any action. Throughout the novel he feels the
need to go to different parts of the city and surrounding communities in order to see the effects of the
unknown bomb. Mr. Shizuma was not only interested in what happened to the people of the community
but he was also interested in finding out what the weapon used was called and made out of. There were
different names given to the bomb throughout the book and he sums up the names in one paragraph,
The name of the bomb had already undergone a number of changes, from the initial
“new weapon” through “new-type bomb,” “secret weapon,” “special new-type bomb,” to
“special high-capacity bomb.” That day, I learned for the first time to call it an “atomic
bomb.” (Black Rain 282)
The importance of the name of the bomb may seem ineffectual, but he seems to dwell on finding out what
caused this type of destruction. Something else that Mr. Shizuma wants to do is remember every little
detail about what happens to everything from what angle the house was on after the bomb to what his wife
cooked for dinner with the food rationing. He even likes to write how people cured themselves of radiation
sickness and what the burns and other injuries look and act like. These things are like myself in the fact
that he does not like to forget what things are like, wants to see first hand what the effects are, and is very
interested in finding information about new things that he has never seen before. He also likes to help
people greatly such as his constant wanderings looking for coal for his community. If you were depended
on would you help your community? I think so.

The theme that is very meaningful to me is that war hurts two different parts of a country. The first is the
military, which was not really talked about, and then there is the civilians. The civilians must ration food
so that the military can eat, and then they must also suffer because the bomb that was dropped was not
meant for any military base but to destroy and kill a city. The theme is clear in meaning that it hurts the
civilians much more than it hurts the military and that war is very, very cruel. The people that were
rationing had very little to eat and that amount became smaller as the war continued. People were forced
to grow carp in small, and search for mussels in ponds in order to get any type of meat. By the end of the
war there were no mussels left in any of the many streams and there were also no fish in any of the ponds.
The only thing that survived were the eels who were seen swimming up the river a day before the
surrender was given. This was a sign of rebirth. It only took a year after the Hiroshima bombing for the
surrender and during that time the government did not help any of the people that really were hurt by the
war, the civilians. It was strange that the people felt any remorse at all for losing the war when the
government that they were supposed to believe in left them homeless and without any food. Innocent,
unarmed people killed and mangled by a weapon that could kill the entire planet. For what purpose was
the bomb dropped? Mr. Shizuma made many remarks about how if the opposition would have only waited
a while longer they would not have had to drop the bomb because the country was internally falling apart.
This seems to me that the dropping of the bomb was nothing but a science experiment to the ‘opposition’.
That is the hidden theme to this novel.

The only type of person that could possibly read this book is a person that is very open minded to other
ideas. To most people from the United States the bomb was necessary in order to stop the war. In the eyes