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Joi Ito's Op-Ed

The New York Times asked Joi Ito to write an op-ed for them commemorating the anniversary of Hiroshima, which he did. It's called "An Anniversary to Forget" and is in today's issue.

I've spent enough time in Japan and studying its culture that, to be honest, I thought that whatever Joi had to say wouldn't be a surprise. In fact, much of what he wrote was new to me, especially the underlying theme of the piece:

For my generation, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the war in general now represent the equivalent of a cultural "game over" or "reset" button. Through a combination of conscious policy and unconscious culture, the painful memories and images of the war have lost their context, surfacing only as twisted echoes in our subculture. The result, for better and worse, is that, 60 years after Hiroshima, we dwell more on the future than the past.
I've always assumed that the bombings have never come up in my numerous visits to Japan because they're uncomfortable subjects for the Japanese. What I didn't consider was that they've never come up because the Japanese I know simply don't give them all that much thought.

Well done, Joi.


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