Award-winning director Oliver Stone is known for his war-themed works, either as a screenwriter or a director. In his stay in Japan, the creator of Platoon (1986) encourages the younger generation to be educated with regard to the truth about history, especially Hiroshima. Born a year and a month after Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces, Stone will remain in Japan until the 15th. He will also travel to Nagasaki and Okinawa during his stay.
During his visit to Hiroshima, Stone saw himself present at the time when Hiroshima was bombed. “To me, I’m here in 1945. I feel like I’m 68 years old and I’m here, and I am at the center of the blast.” As a veteran actor, director, and screenwriter, Stone saw more than what remained in Hiroshima. “I feel the blast, I feel the moments, I feel the horror of walking around after seeing the living dead, the zombies. I see my mother, my father, all the families torn apart. I see the river, I see the drowning bodies and the burned bodies, I see all the flesh hanging out.”
The 66-year old American director admitted having late knowledge about the atomic bombings. “Up until five or six years ago, I didn’t follow it,” he said. But he urged the youth, saying, “The best thing the young people can do is learn–like I did–much more about Hiroshima.” Stone also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on August 4. He was impressed with what he saw and considered the museum very helpful. “The panorama of the destruction is very powerful,” he added. Among those he saw, what he remembered the most was the human shadow etched in stone. “You see people who are, in that moment, imprinted on the wall to shadow,” Stone imagined. “All of it might be blown away, but they were there for one second.”
Despite growing up in the United States, Stone was cynical of his own country’s historical practices. “If the Nazis had dropped the bomb, they’d lost the war, the bomb would be seen as a monstrosity, and the Nazis would be condemned forever,” stating the obvious. However, Stone thought of what is unspoken but accepted. “In fact, the United States was a winner, allows it to be sanctioned and continues to be sanctioned, which leads to this argument of American exceptionalism: America has the right to do something because it got away with it.”
A Purple Heart recipient, Stone based the Academy multi-awarded film Platoon from his experiences while serving the U.S. Army in Vietnam. His works have been his expression of how he sees history. “People like me have tried to write something, put something out there–the questions, the sovereignty and the tyranny of the United States,” he said. Feeling “sometimes very weak and helpless, with no chance,” Stone believes that the best message he could give to the youth was to educate themselves “about the truth, to develop your consciousness as a young person.”
[via Asahi Shimbun]