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Misinformation About Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

This heartbreaking photo was taken in 1945 after the nuclear bomb explosion in Nagasaki, Japan. In the picture, the boy is standing on his back with the body of his younger brother, who died during the explosion. Where the boy was standing was a makeshift cemetery outside the city where crematory arrangements were being made for all those who died during the blast. The boy stood there so that his brother could be cremated.

This historic photograph is known as The boy standing by the crematory; alternatively “The standing boy of Nagasaki”. The photograph was taken by Joe O’Donnell in Nagasaki, Japan, in September of 1945, shortly after the atomic bombing of that city on August 9, 1945.

I saw a boy about ten years old walking by. He was carrying a baby on his back… I saw that the baby was already dead. The men held the body by the hands and feet and placed it on the fire. The boy stood there straight without moving, watching the flames. He was biting his lower lip so hard that it shone with blood. The flame burned low like the sun going down. The boy turned around and walked silently away.

Joe O’Donnell

O’Donnell made personal copies of his Nagasaki photographs and kept them hidden in a trunk until 1989, when he put together a traveling exhibit and a book.

Interesting fact

There is a misinformation floating around the internet: the movie Grave Of The Fireflies is based on this incident. Not really. This incident bears some resemblance to another true story on which the movie Grave of the Fireflies was based.

Grave Of The Fireflies movie
Grave of the Fireflies movie poster

The 1988 Japanese film “Grave of the Fireflies” is a tragic film based on the struggle of a young boy and his younger sister to survive in Japan during World War II.

The movie is based on the short story Grave of the Fireflies, written by Akiyuki Nosaka. One of his sisters died as the result of sickness, and his adoptive father died during the bombing of Kobe in World War II. His younger adopted sister, Keiko, died of malnutrition in Fukui. He wrote the short story as a personal apology to Keiko for her death.

This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Those who haven’t seen it yet, must watch it.

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Written by:

Morshed Alam
A teacher by profession, a traveler by passion and a netizen by choice.

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