Bert the Turtle teaches to duck and cover, in Japanese

Readers in the English-speaking world are used to seeing American and British scholars publish books on history of culture of other countries. But this, of course, is not a one-way process: scholars in the rest of the world are also publish results of their studies of all things American.

Recently, while browsing in a university library I've run across a volume that can be fascinating reading for someone who reads Japanese (I don't). Hiroko TAKAHASHI's compact, but densely packed volume, 封印されたヒロシマ・ナガサキ―米核実験と民間防衛計画 (Classified Hiroshima and Nagasaki: U.S. Nuclear Test and Civil Defense Program), published by Gaifusha Publishing, offers what appears to be a Japanese view of the civil defense programs started in the US in the late 1940s - once it became apparent that the USA would not be the world's nuclear power for long. The book's appendix contains lots of documents the authors obtained from US government archives using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - or, in some cases, the government's responses indicating that a requested document can't or won't be released.

I can't refuse myself the pleasure of reproducing one of the book's illustrations: the early 1950s Duck and Cover comic strip, teaching American kids to be prepared in case of a nuclear explosion nearby. Somehow, it seems strangely appropriate to see it with Dr. Takahashi Japanses translations of the captions, where Bert the Turtle becomes 亀のバート (Kame-no bāto)...

In the 1960s, people used to make lots of fun about the "duck and cover" drills, but in reality they weren't utterly useless. Apparently, during the recent meteor (bolid?) event in Russia's Chelyabinsk a quick-thinking teacher who must have remembered her own duck-and-cover drills was able to save her own 40 pupils from being hurt by breaking glass.

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