BJ. William Plomer

13. ‘Thy Neighbour’s Creed’. Listener 35 (April 1946): 469-70.

    Reprinted in Four Countries.  

A short story that recounts a young foreigner’s visit to Hiroshima in the summer of 1927, and the omens that return to haunt him after the atomic bombing of the city eighteen summers later. The climactic scene takes place on a hot evening at a festival beside the river, where the narrator glimpses momentarily in the crossbeams of two searchlights the smoke from a distant bonfire, which ‘in the windless air . . . had risen like a tall column and had flattened out at the top’, motionless above the city. Plomer and Sumida (see 10b) visited Sumida’s family home at Hiroshima in the summer of 1927, and Plomer in fact had seen such a ‘curious domed cloud . . . floating over the city’, an ‘ominous sight’ that he recalled ‘vividly’ after reading an eyewitness report of the mushroom cloud that rose above the city on the day the world came to know of Hiroshima (40, p. 250). Alexander suggests that more than Plomer’s other writing of Japan the work shows the degree to which ‘even at this time of general vengefulness towards the Japanese, he felt little but compassion for them’. Makes use of repeated allusions to the sacred island of Miyajima in Hiroshima Bay, which become interwoven with the larger themes of the story. Reprinted in 14 and 26. See 41.





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