Suggested Answers to Discussion Questions for
Learning Guide to Hiroshima Maiden
1. [Standard Questions Suitable for Any Film]. [No suggested Answers.]
2. What was World War II and why did the U.S. fight Japan in that war? Suggested Response: World War II was fought from 1939 to 1945. Major battles were fought in extensive areas of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Naval engagements occurred in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. There were two major contenders. The Axis powers, consisting primarily of Germany, Japan and Italy, started the war. The Allied powers (later the United Nations), primarily the U.S., Great Britain, the U.S.S.R. (Russia), France, and China, resisted German, Japanese and Italian aggression. The Allies counter-attacked, eventually conquering the Axis countries. In Europe, the war was in many ways a continuation of the disputes left unsettled by World War I. 40,000,000 - 50,000,000 deaths incurred in World War II. It was the costliest and bloodiest war in history.
Its aftermath left the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. as the two superpowers contending for dominance. WW II greatly reduced the role of Europe and Japan on the world stage.
3. [This question is for students who have read the Helpful Background Section of this Learning Guide or Rodney Barker's book The Hiroshima Maidens: A Story of Courage, Compassion, and Survival] Rodney Barker, like the character of Johnny in the movie, was a young boy whose parents hosted a Hiroshima Maiden. He grew up to be a journalist and wrote a book about the Hiroshima Maidens. He researched what their lives were like in Japan before they came to the U.S., what happened to them while they were in the U.S., and how their stay in the U.S. affected them once they had returned home to Japan. What did Mr. Barker find was the most important benefit that the Hiroshima Maidens received from their stay in the U.S.? Suggested Response: Based upon his research and his interviews with the Hiroshima Maidens years after they had returned to Japan, Mr. Barker found that the love that the Hiroshima Maidens received from their host families in the U.S. had re-established their own capacity for loving. See The Lasting Effects of the Maidens' Stay in the U.S.
1. Why was it a courageous thing for Miyeko to come to the U.S. for surgery?Suggested Response: Only ten years before, the U.S. was the hated enemy of her country. It was the U.S. that exploded the bomb that injured her. The culture in the U.S. was different than anything she had ever known. She had to trust strange doctors. She had to travel halfway across the world at a time when that was seldom done.
2. What is the most courageous thing you have ever done or you have ever seen anyone do? Why did it take courage?Suggested Response: There is no one correct response to this question.
3. How did Miyeko and Johnny become friends? Suggested Response: There were a couple of incidents in the movie in which Miyeko helped Johnny out of problem situations. Then they began to talk and he found out that she was a person, just like his family and his friends.
4. Have you ever had a friend who had terrible scars on their body? What was it like or, if you haven't had a friend like that, what do you think it would be like? Suggested Response: It would be like having any other friend.
5. What are human rights and how does the concept of human rights affect your analysis of what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August, 1945? Suggested Response: Human rights are the rights possessed by every human being, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." They are spelled out in more detail in documents such as the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, The Declaration of the Rights of Man, adopted during the French Revolution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. The human rights of the children, women and other non-combatants killed or injured by the bombing were violated. The question is whether there was an adequate justification for the bombing that would excuse those violations. To explore these issues, see Lesson Plan on Mass Casualties and Making Decisions About War.
6. Were Miyeko's human rights violated by the bombing of Hiroshima? Suggested Response: Yes. The next question is whether there was a justification for the bombing that would excuse the violation of her rights. To explore these issues, see Lesson Plan on Mass Casualties and Making Decisions About War.
7. How does peer pressure work to lead kids to make decisions that are harmful to themselves or to others? You can see this operating in Johnny's group of friends. Suggested Response: When children are young, before age 11, the most important and powerful people in their lives are their parents. But in their early to mid-teens, the normal development of children requires that they start to break away from their complete reliance on their parents and establish their own personalities. The world that is not under the control of their parents is the world of their friends, their peers. Everyone at all ages wants to be liked by the other people that they come into contact with, but the desire to be liked is especially strong when it is combined with the important psychological need to establish one's own life separate and apart from the control of parents. In addition, many children in the early to middle teenage years have not yet learned to be kind or to avoid actions that might hurt themselves or others. They tease and ridicule. They take risks they shouldn't take. Much of this behavior comes from a misplaced need to establish their own identity by dominating or hurting others or by doing crazy things. What a child needs to do in these early to middle teenage years is to learn who he or she truly is, not just a clone of their parents and not just a member of the gang, but his own person who lives according to his own values. In this story, Johnny began that process by realizing that his family's value of love and caring was a value that was important to him.
8. Have you ever been torn between what your friends wanted you to do and what you knew was right? What did you do? Suggested Response: There is no one correct response to this question. Good responses will include a recognition of the process of how children mature described in the preceding paragraph. It's always good to quote a passage from Anne Frank's diary: "I understand more and more how true Daddy's words were when he said, 'All children must look after their own upbringing.' Parents can only give good advice or put them on right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." Entry for July 15, 1944, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl translated from the Dutch by B.M. Mooyarart-Doubleday Anne Frank, isolated in the "Secret Annex" didn't have an opportunity to deal with the demands of peer pressure.
9. Do you think that your friends will ever ask you to do something that your parents will not approve of? What do you intend to do if that ever occurs? Why? Suggested Response: See response to preceding question.
10. Have your friends ever asked you to do something that your parents would not approve of? What did you do? Why did you make the decision that you made? Would you make the same decision now? Why? Suggested Response: See suggested response to preceding questions.
Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.
(Do what you are supposed to do; Persevere: keep on trying!; Always do your best; Use self-control; Be self-disciplined; Think before you act -- consider the consequences; Be accountable for your choices)
1. In the context of the current war in Iraq, who should patriotic U.S. citizens go out of their way to help, by either giving money to charities or helping directly? Suggested Response: Injured Iraqis, injured U.S. soldiers, the families of U.S. soldiers deprived of their loved ones either temporarily or permanently. Basically, everyone injured or deprived by the war. Citizens of the coalition countries that participated in the invasion (primarily the U.S. and the U.K.) have an obligation to help injured Iraqis because their countries took it upon themselves to invade Iraq. Even citizens of those countries who didn't support the decision to go to war bear this obligation because the decision to go to war was made by their legal representatives (President and Congress, Parliament). In modern democratic countries, the decision to go to war is made by the elected representatives of the majority. All members of the society benefit from life in the society. (Some more than others.) Since those who are against the war are members of society, once the decision is lawfully made by the elected representatives of the majority, those opposed to the war cannot undermine the war effort. They can, and in fact should, still dissent from the decision, if that is what they believe. Because they live in a democracy, this dissent should be public. However, as citizens of the country who benefit from the life that the country provides, they carry the obligations of citizens. One of those obligations is to do something for injured Iraqis, injured soldiers, and the families of soldiers who must live without their parents, children, spouses. This obligation is based both on the pillar of caring and on the pillar of responsibility.
2. Did the family in the movie have a responsibility to take Miyeko in and help her? This obviously was a matter of caring. Why was it a matter of responsibility as well? Suggested Response: Everyone has a responsibility to help care for the wounded in a war if their country waged the war, even defensively, because they receive the benefits of membership in the society that waged the war. This is true even if they opposed the war or the action that caused the injury. See response to preceding question.
(Be kind; Be compassionate and show you care; Express gratitude; Forgive others; Help people in need)
3. See Question #3 in the Discussion Question section.
4. Have you ever seen anyone who had terrible scars on their body? How did it make you feel? What, if anything, did you do? Suggested Response: There is no one correct response to this question.
5. How would you feel if your family took in a child who was injured in Iraq and needed surgery in the U.S.? Suggested Response: There is no one correct response to this question.
Last updated December 25, 2007.
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