Black Rain
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Black Rain

by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,551 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Based on actual diaries and interviews with the survivors of Hiroshima, this novel is about friends, neighbours and a city that suddenly ceased to be.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 15th 1988 by Kodansha (first published 1965)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Black Rain, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Black Rain

Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
65th out of 387 books — 1,758 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiThe Tale of Genji by Murasaki ShikibuThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiShōgun by James Clavell
Japanese Fiction
24th out of 236 books — 131 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
William
A sensitive handling of numerous eyewitness accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima served up in novel format. The story starts one year after the bombing with the main character, Shigematsu, pondering the future of his niece Yasuko's marriage prospects. There is a persistent rumor that Yasuko was in Hiroshima City on the day of the bombing and now suffers from radiation sickness. Shigematsu, frustrated, as a means of correcting the inaccuracy, suggests a perusal of Yasuko's diary for Aug. 6...more
Mariel
Apr 19, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: peninsulas
Recommended to Mariel by: islands (oookay, it was amazon!)
Sick birds hide their illnesses from other birds as well as from predators. The people in Black Rain with radiation sickness in Hiroshima might have taken their cue from birds... I couldn't help but think of birds as I read about how the mutual horror turned into a bring out your dead collective mistrust and disgust. It occured to me that the suspicion and paranoia were acting to shove them out as if they were already dead. The mushroom cloud Alice ate turned everything bigger and littler and no...more
Nicole~
Thundery black clouds had borne down on us from the direction of the city, and the rain from them had fallen in streaks the thickness of a fountain pen.


Ibuse's documentary novel Black Rain is his widely acclaimed masterpiece about the aftermath of Hiroshima, expressed through the diaries of two survivors, Shigematsu and his niece, Yasuko. Shigematsu uses the diaries to try to prove that Yasuko is marriage-worthy, untainted by any poisonous fallout. Ibuse's tale recounts the lives of innocent, or...more
umberto
In brief, this book by Masuji Ibuse based "his tale on real-life diaries and interviews with victims of the holocaust" (back cover) caused by the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945 at Hiroshima around 8.15 a.m. is worth reading since we could fathom their plight amidst those unlucky fallen Japanese citizens of all ages there; while reading it I could not help praying and hoping that unthinkable man-made catastrophe would never happen again anywhere, it is simply bitterly touching due to the writer's...more
Rose
Black Rain is Masuji Ibuse's classic novel about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the ensuing nuclear fallout. Regarded as one of the best novels ever written about the bombing, Black Rain deals with the tragedy with a delicate frankness.

The story's main characters are Shigematsu Shizuma (a manager at a clothing manufacturing plant), his niece Yasuko, and wife Shigeko. Ibuse employs the method of a "story within a story" to describe the events of the day of and immediately following the bomb...more
Patricia
This is a beautiful and harrowing account of the bombing of Hiroshima. Ibuse's overt condemnations of violence are sparing; he lets his relentless catlog of horrors speak for itself. Ibuse's focus on Shigemura and his family focuses and shapes this account of massive suffering as he juxtaposes it with simple daily concerns and hopes. The account of Yasuko's failed marriage plans brings home the tragedy of lives deprived of fundamental hopes and expectations. The book also includes an understated...more
Antigone
An assigned book in highschool English, I went out and re-purchased this one for my library in the last few years. I really appreciated the book when I read it. As a child of the nuclear age, I wondered and cared about the effects of a nuclear holocaust.... mostly because I think I was pretty sure I was going to experience one in my lifetime. This book portrays the life lived by civilian Japanese after the bomb and amazingly does so without interjecting blame. By avoiding deliberations or recrim...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
We are fortunate that the early half of the Twentieth Century gave us small glimpses of Hell... We have no excuses... We know the horror.
Black Rain is supposed to be a work of fiction but I find that hard to believe - there are too many things that scream out that this is a first-hand experience, that the things we read about were actually seen: blobs of melted lead on sticky tarmac; corpses lying charred on the road; victims walking through dense smoke, ruined shadowy shapes, stumbling over cha...more
Faizah Roslaini
1 - Ibuse menulis tanpa sentimen, beliau tidak menyuruh pembaca merasa. Sebaliknya, kita akan merasa sendiri dari deskripsi dan gambaran pada hari 6 Ogos tersebut.

2 - Satu demi satu gambaran tentang mayat-mayat boleh menjadikan pembaca akhirnya lali dengan mayat. Mungkin itu perasaan rakyat Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Mayat-mayat bergelimpangan di sana sini dan melihatnya setiap hari, barangkali mereka sudah tidak ada perasaan.

3 - Sayang sekali translasi DBP ini sangat hambar. Amat sedikit sekali yang...more
Amene
خیلی خوب بود،یک کمی اول و آغاز خواندنش سخت بود ولی کم کم که به نثرو روایت نویسنده عادت کردم و برایم خوش خوان شد.
من همواره با ادبیات و کل متعلقات فرهنگ آسیای شرق مشکل ارتباطی دارم ولی با این اثر،علی رغم این که جزو آثار تقریبا کلاسیک محسوب می شود ،ارتباط خوبی برقرار کردم.رئالیسم تلخ و گزنده و زبان توصیف گر نویسنده شاید بعضی موارد خسته کننده به نظر برسد ولی لازمه ی این چنین موضوعی استفاده از زبان دقیق و روایت موشکافانه است.هرچند به نظر رمان می آید ولی به نظرمن درحقیقت زندگینامه ی خودنوشتی است که با...more
David
It's about Hiroshima. It's really intense.

"That" moment features heavily at the beginning and end:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSD9sOMkfOo
The ambiguity, the confusion, the baby eels, the rainbows and ... something a bit like hope. It's pretty powerful.

C.P Snow is on the cover of my edition saying that it's "A major work of art," which is nice to see. He probably liked it for the science / literature face /off aspect.
G.G.
A beautifully crafted novel by a novelist who was born in Hiroshima and deploys his intimate knowledge of the layout of the city and the topography of the local area--right down to the train lines--to create this moving portrait of a people in shock, stolidly coping with the cataclysm that has been unleashed on them.

There are touches of dark humor, like this paragraph at the end of chapter 5. The narrator has survived the blast and with enormous difficulty struggled back to his home, which at t...more
Rise
An antiwar novel, Black Rain probes the effects on humans of the atomic bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima on August 1945. It is presented as diary entries of a family (husband, wife, niece) describing their escape from the destroyed city and their encounters with the victims of the bomb. The frame of the story is the niece Yasuko being involved in matchmaking for a promising marriage. Having learned that she was possibly exposed to radiation while fleeing Hiroshima, single men who were consi...more
Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin
Black Rain is set several years after WWII and is told through the main narrator Shigematsu Shizuma as he and a small group of local survivors, including his family, struggle with the stigma and mysterious symptoms of radiation sickness. Which the only cure seems to be that of the common cold and a lot rest; it's that last part that seems to be so upsetting to Japanese sensibility. The narrative revolves around Shigematsu Shizuma’s niece, Yasuko, who is not yet married, and rumors that she was h...more
Evan
Reading this novel was, in part, like watching a sports team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. For about half the way Masuji Ibuse notched a five-star work on his belt, but, at some point, the author let it all get away from him somewhat--because he seemed less compelled to stick to his powerful, poetic story than to set down for posterity the "novel of record" about the bombing of Hiroshima. Granted, I am somewhat glad he did this, because as a documentary "sights and sounds" kaleidoscopi...more
Lis
Masuji Ibuse's novel of the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima is structured around accounts written or reported by survivors of the attack. I was struck by its' very ordinariness, just people getting on with their lives in the best way they could and dealing, however they could, with the chaos surrounding them. It is not sensational, gruesome or graphic in a way intended to startle or scare. The writing is not very political or emotional, it just is. I wondered how I would behave in the situ...more
John
An amazing novel. Extremely powerful, very consistent. There were parts that were about "facts", things that i might not normally care, about certain businesses and issues of Hiroshima- the /place/. Or details of lives of many different people. Somehow it made you care about these things.

There was something wonderful about the descriptions of food in this book. I loved how it made things seem as if good eating was very important. "eating lots of nourishing foods" was a quote that appeared a cou...more
Katie Wilkie
Ibuse was born and raised in Japan, and lived in Hiroshima, however was not present in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing. His novel is based off of journals from victims and survivors of the bomb and he is very straight forward about presenting the gruesome facts of the entire event. It is interesting that with all the graphic wartime descriptions, Ibuse actually doesn't take a side in the "who was at fault" debate. He doesn't say the Americans were in the wrong or the Chinese military leader...more
Shelly - The Illustrated Librarian -
Extremely moving, realistic, non-propagandized story of the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath.

The story is told after the bombing and the war. The main storyteller is trying to help his niece get married, and the prospective groom is concerned with her whereabouts during the bombing, as she is survivor.

Black Rain not only gives graphic descriptions of the results of the bombing, but also deals with the aftermath following the war. Survivors were treated as pariahs in Japanese society, as...more
Jeff
This book is sad. If you are easily upset or have a weak stomach, it's probably best that you don't read it. Seriously.

That being said, this book is valuable in that it describes the days after the Hiroshima bombing in painful detail. The first fifty pages or so deal with the bomb actually dropping, but after that, it is just what happens to the people. I thought that was interesting.

While it deals mainly with what happened between the Hiroshima bombing and the end of the war (August 6-August 15...more
Amy
Jun 05, 2009 Amy added it
Oh my. Vivid descriptions of the bombing of Hiroshima. A lot of information about the scarcity of food in wartime, about the resourcefulness of women in managing the household affairs under these conditions. There are some very Japanese concepts of usefulness and the importance placed on work in the attitudes of the town towards those with radiation sickness; thinking to other wartime films, such a concept is seen also in 'Grave of the Fireflies', where the children are unable to be practical an...more
Heather
This is a very poignantly written book told from the point of view from a man living outside of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. It tells the story of how the people coped who did not understand what was happening to them, the people around them, and their environment. The book tells the story from a first person narrative. What I really liked about it is that it was not an omniscient point of view, and did not delve into what was happening in the world or the politics around why the...more
Jon Forisha
Extremely literary in the way it was written, even though this book was translated, it's clear that Ibuse is a gifted writer. His descriptions are so painfully realistic that I know he knew his subject well - perhaps better than he wished. There's a plethora of information throughout this novel about the bombing of Hiroshima and life in Japan at this time, and while sometimes the descriptions can take the forefront to the plot and the characters, the novel succeeds very well at what it sets out...more
Tomi
Incredibly good book; the effects of the atomic bomb from the point of view of the ordinary Japanese. Not only does the book describe the incredible suffering many people living near Hiroshima went through, it also gives insight into the Japanese character. The people are very stoic; even with the skin literally falling from their bodies, they continue with daily activities and rarely complain. The reader also sees something of the Japanese preparation for war in their homeland and gets a sense...more
Maureen
Historically, this is a very valuable book. As a story, it's only ok. It's mostly first-person accounts of the Hiroshima bombing, tied together with a storyline about a couple who are looking for a husband for their niece. They can't find anyone to marry her because suitors are concerned about radiation sickness. To fight the rumors and prove that his niece is healthy, the uncle writes a diary of the bombing. The descriptions are pretty graphic and the book is uncomfortable to read, but since th...more
Andrew
A lot of authors have written in harrowing, post-apocalypic tones about harrowing, post-apocalyptic scenarios. What sets Ibuse apart is that he writes about something that really happened.

The bomb is described matter-of-factly, almost nonchalantly. There is no symbolism-- the bomb victims are allowed to stand as human beings. They were there, they lived it, and there's no need for histrionics when a real event possesses that much horror.
Charise
An amazing book! If memory serves me, the author of this book actually did many interviews with people who had been through the Hiroshima bombing and taking that information, put a ficitonal family through the events. So it is both a work of fiction and of history. It is an amazing book. It makes you realize that these are people like you and me going through something terrible. Very human. Very touching.
Koichi Amasaki
Patriotism is a very complicated thing for many Japanese like myself. The past is filled with things that I am not proud of - Nanking and WW2 are on the top of my list. As a nation, Japan has grappled with the lessons of the past, but sadly many young Japanese who have not experienced such events grow further away from their heritage. The past is old and uninteresting to them, and what is new is everything.

To my knowledge, I have no relatives who died from the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki....more
Leslie
A stunning novel about the aftereffects--physical, social, emotional-- of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the lives of those who lived there. Unsentimental and profoundly moving.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Can These Be Combined? 3 34 Dec 31, 2011 09:54PM  
  • The Wild Geese
  • The Waiting Years
  • The Three-Cornered World
  • Hiroshima Notes
  • The Lake
  • The Setting Sun
  • Shipwrecks
  • The Hunting Gun
  • Some Prefer Nettles
  • Fires on the Plain
  • Tales of Moonlight and Rain
  • The Paper Door and Other Stories by Shiga Naoya
  • Rivalry: A Geisha's Tale
  • The Face of Another
110156
Masuji Ibuse (井伏 鱒二) was a Japanese novelist.

At Waseda University, Ibuse was greatly influenced by the works of Shakespeare and Basho; he was also an avid reader of French fiction and poetry. Ibuse went as far as to pawn a watch to try to understand the necessities of writers.

In 1918 Ibuse met naturalist writer Iwano Homei. Homei's literature was appealing to Ibuse and would later influence some o...more
More about Masuji Ibuse...
Salamander and Other Stories Waves: Two Short Novels John Manjiro, the Castaway 厄除け詩集 [Yakuyoke Shishū] さざなみ軍記・ジョン万次郎漂流記 [Sazanami Gunki / Jon Manjirō Hyōryūki]

Share This Book

“Could this be my own face, I wondered. My heart pounded at the idea, and the face in the mirror grew more and more unfamiliar.” 4 likes
More quotes…