When I visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial tomorrow, I honestly don't know how I will feel. One thing I might experience, however, is guilt for something that didn't even happen while I was alive. As an American, I feel like it is extremely important to experience this memorial in real life, instead of just thinking about it through the lens of history. What would my grandfather, who served in WWII, see the memorial? Would he feel remorse or guilt as well, or would he just say that the bomb was an unfortunate yet necessary evil? In today's geopolitical climate, missiles are flying over Japan, and nuclear tests are being performed under a dictatorship just a couple hundred miles away. How can a prime minister who advocates the repeal of Article 9 also pay his respects at a memorial dedicated to indefinite peace in Japan? There are all questions I will probably never be able to answer, but experiencing this memorial firsthand will allow me to process what happened, and interpret it in my own way.
-How does the United States separate its victimhood from its accountability? Who decides who is the victim and who is the oppressor?
-Does the responsibility of what happens in a war completely fall on its military/state, or do citizens have the potential to be held somewhat accountable for attitudes that promote nationalism/superiority?
-Is Japan seen as more exempt from accountability for its actions in the war because of the severity of the weapon used against it? If Japan surrendered after a massive battle instead, would the same memorials exist?
-Is Japan's movement towards nuclear weapons a self-defense response, or could it also be a way to position itself as a major world military power again?
-How can a country vow to be peaceful and abstain from war if neighboring nations become unstable or offensive?
-Is the idea that the US is a less reliable ally than before widespread in Japan, or is that sentiment mostly just between members of the right?