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Oscar winner ‘Oppenheimer’ finally screened in Japan, the only country to suffer an atomic bombing

“Of course this is an amazing film which deserves to win the Academy Awards,” said Hiroshima resident Kawai, 37, who gave only his family name.

“But the film also depicts the atomic bomb in a way that seems to praise it, and, as a person with roots in Hiroshima, I found it difficult to watch.”

A big fan of Nolan’s films, Kawai, a public servant, went to see Oppenheimer on opening day at a theatre that is just a kilometre from the city’s Atomic Bomb Dome.


Will Japan give Oppenheimer a chance?

“I’m not sure this is a movie that Japanese people should make a special effort to watch,” he added.

Images on social media showed signs posted at the entrances to some Tokyo theatres, warning that the film featured images of nuclear tests that could evoke the damage caused by the bombs.

Another Hiroshima resident, Agemi Kanegae, had mixed feelings upon finally watching the film.

The film quickly became a global hit after opening in the United States last July. But many Japanese were offended by fan-created “Barbenheimer” online memes that linked it to Barbie, a frothy blockbuster that opened around the same time.

Universal Pictures initially left Japan off its global release schedule for Oppenheimer. Eventually picked up by Bitters End, a Japanese distributor of independent films, it was given a release date for after the Oscar awards ceremony.

Speaking to Reuters before the film opened, atomic bomb survivor Teruko Yahata said she was eager to see it, in hopes that it would reinvigorate the debate over nuclear weapons.

Yahata, now 86, said she felt some empathy for the physicist behind the bomb. That sentiment was echoed by Rishu Kanemoto, a 19-year-old student, who saw the film on Friday.

“Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the atomic bombs