Australian POW and Occupation force experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Few understand that at the time of the atom bombings of Japan, Australian Prisoners of War (POW) were present in, or adjacent to, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. POW eyewitness accounts at the time, as hibakusha, and their subsequent testimony over the decades has largely been forgotten. Equally marginalized has been the experience of the post-war Australian occupation forces overseeing the Hiroshima Prefecture throughout 1946–1952 exposing thousands of servicemen to the lingering effects of residual radiation. However, new digital technologies enable innovative methods to capture, preserve and distribute to the public these extant materials and also to enable an immersive/interactive experience for audiences and visitors globally. This chapter examines our digital exhibition Fading Light: Australian POW and Occupation Force Experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By extracting and repurposing the textual and audio-visual records of POWs and occupation personnel (soldiers, nurses, spouses and their children) we detail how our experimental exhibition will employ a range of large-screen, two-panel and 3D stereoscopic immersive displays (hyper-visualisation) to re-present the contemporary, in situ sense of place that these sites evoke as ‘traumascapes’, while juxtaposing archival imagery and recounted historical and expert testimony. 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan and the centenary of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps ‘legend’ at Gallipoli, Turkey. As such, this creative project afforded an opportunity to critically engage with the ongoing cultural construction of Anzac while emphasising forgotten experiences of the Australians in Japan 1945–1952.