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PRINT February 1983

EIKOH HOSOE AND YUKIO MISHIMA: THE SHADOW IN THE TIME MACHINE

AT THE EPICENTER OF THE Hiroshima explosion a man was painting a wall. Perched on a ladder with arm outstretched he disintegrated. Like a comic strip figure who has been hurled through bricks, his outline was imprinted on the wall. The silhouette remains. The man was severed from his shadow as the atom was split. The shadow continues to paint the wall which, inconceivably, still stands. There are myths of shadowless men, like ghosts, who permanently accuse their murderers.

The inadequacy of language is evident in the face of such events. After the first atomic test at Los Alamos, New Mexico, J. Robert Oppenheimer referred to “the sun brighter than a thousand suns,” reflecting a phrase from the Bhagavad-Gita. A vocabulary of archetypal myth is required to accommodate such a concept, which eludes language. Words trail reality as an approximate shadow of truth. Certain events defy language

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