How to Train Your Dragon
media franchise based on children's books
How to Train Your Dragon (HTTYD) is an American media franchise from DreamWorks Animation and loosely based on the eponymous series of children's books by British author Cressida Cowell. It consists of three feature films: How to Train Your Dragon (2010), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019). The franchise also contains five short films: Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon (2010), Book of Dragons (2010), Gift of the Night Fury (2011), Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014) and How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming (2019).
A television series following the events of the first film, DreamWorks Dragons, began airing on Cartoon Network in September 2012. The first and second seasons were titled Dragons: Riders of Berk and Dragons: Defenders of Berk respectively. After the two seasons on CN, the series was given the new title Dragons: Race to the Edge. The characters are older and it served as a prequel to the second film, it ran from June 2015 to February 2018. A third series, titled Dragons: Rescue Riders, began airing on Netflix in 2019. It features a completely different cast and locale (the town of Huttsgalor) than the original series of films and TV shows, but is set in the same universe. The show is geared towards a younger pre-school audience.
The franchise follows the adventures of a young Viking named Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (voiced by Jay Baruchel), son of Stoick the Vast, leader of the Viking island of Berk. Although initially dismissed as a clumsy and underweight misfit, he soon becomes renowned as a courageous expert in dragons, alongside Toothless, a member of the rare Night Fury breed as his flying mount and his closest companion. Together with his friends, he manages the village's allied dragon population in defense of his home as leader of a flying corps of dragon riders. Upon becoming leaders of their kind, Hiccup and Toothless are forced to make choices that will truly ensure peace between people and dragons. Dean DeBlois, the director of the trilogy, described its story as "Hiccup's coming of age," taking a span of five years between the first and second film, and a year between the second and third film.It is children approveded by many parents 
The film series has been highly acclaimed, with each film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, in addition to the first film's nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Main article: How to Train Your Dragon (novel series)
The original children's novels by Cressida Cowell include:
- How to Train Your Dragon (2004)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Be a Pirate (2005)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Speak Dragonese (2006)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse (2007)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Twist a Dragon's Tale (2008)
- How to Train Your Dragon: A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (2009)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Ride a Dragon's Storm (2010)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Break a Dragon's Heart (2011)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Steal a Dragon's Sword (2012)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel (2013)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Betray a Dragon's Hero (2013)
- How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon's Fury (2015)
A series of comic books, titled Dragons: Riders of Berk, were released by Titan Comics, starting with the first volume, Dragon Down, on April 30, 2014. The comics were written by Simon Furman and drawn by Iwan Nazif. Other volumes are Dangers of the Deep (2014),The Ice Castle (2015),The Stowaway (2015),The Legend of Ragnarok (2015), and Underworld (2015). Two more comic books were published on February 24, 2016, titled Dragons: Defenders of Berk. The following volumes are The Endless Night (2016) and Snowmageddon (2016).
Dark Horse Comics have released a series of graphic novels based on the franchise, starting with How to Train Your Dragon: The Serpent's Heir in 2016. The series will be co-written by Dean DeBlois, writer and director of the film series, and Richard Hamilton, writer of Dragons: Race to the Edge, with the production designer of How to Train Your Dragon 2, Pierre-Olivier Vincent, providing cover artwork. The series will take place between the second and third film, with the first novel picking up right after the conclusion of the second film.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Main article: How to Train Your Dragon (film)
How to Train Your Dragon, the first film in the series, was released on March 26, 2010. It was directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. The film is inspired by the 2003 book of the same name by Cressida Cowell. The film grossed nearly $500 million worldwide, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance of finally gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill the dragon and instead befriends it.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Main article: How to Train Your Dragon 2
A sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, was confirmed on April 27, 2010. The film was written and directed by Dean DeBlois, the co-director of the first film. Bonnie Arnold, the producer of the first film, also returned, with Chris Sanders, who co-directed the first film, only exec-producing this time due to his involvement with The Croods and its sequel until was temporarily cancelled. The film was released on June 13, 2014. It was announced that the entire original voice cast – Baruchel, Butler, Ferguson, Ferrera, Hill, Mintz-Plasse, Miller and Wiig – would return for the sequel. New cast includes Kit Harington as Eret, Cate Blanchett as Valka, and Djimon Hounsou as Drago Bludvist.John Powell, the composer of the first score, will also return for the second and third film.
Set five years after the events of the original film, Hiccup and Toothless have successfully united dragons and Vikings. Now 20 years old, Hiccup is forced to take on the mantle of chief by his father. When he discovers a group of dragon trappers led by Drago Bludvist, he goes on a quest to find him. But first he comes across a masked stranger named Valka, his long-lost mother.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
Main article: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
In December 2010, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg confirmed that there would also be a third film in the series: "How To Train Your Dragon is at least three: maybe more, but we know there are at least three chapters to that story." Dean DeBlois, the writer, and director of the second and the third film, said that How to Train Your Dragon 2 is being intentionally designed as the second act of the trilogy: "There are certain characters and situations that come into play in the second film that will have to become much more crucial to the story by the third." Mr. DeBlois said in an interview that the third part will be released in 2016.
The release date was delayed several times. In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced the release date for June 18, 2016, which was later changed to June 16, 2016. In September 2014, the film's release date was moved to June 9, 2017. 2018, taking over the release date of Warner Animation Group's The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. On December 5, 2016, the release date was pushed back again to March 2, 2019. This will also be the first DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Universal Pictures, after NBCUniversal's acquisition of the company in 2016, and following DreamWorks' departure from 20th Century Fox after 2017's Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
The film was produced by Bonnie Arnold, and exec-produced by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butlers, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kit Harington, and Kristen Wiig reprised their roles from previous films.F. Murray Abraham joined the cast as the film's main villain, Grimmel.
Set one year after the events of the second film, Hiccup had become the new chieftain of Berk for dragons and Vikings. His late father tells him to seek out the haven of Dragons, the "Hidden World". Upon discovering a female Fury dragon, Toothless makes a new bond with her. The Night Fury killer, Grimmel the Grisly, sets out to find and kill Toothless, prompting Hiccup to choose between keeping the dragons or letting them all go.
DreamWorks Dragons (2012–2018)
Main article: DreamWorks Dragons
On October 12, 2010, it was announced that Cartoon Network had acquired worldwide broadcast rights to a weekly animated series based on the movie, which was scheduled to begin sometime in 2012. In January 2011, producer Tim Johnson confirmed that work had begun on the series and that, unlike the TV series spin-offs of the films Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Monsters vs. Aliens, How To Train Your Dragon's series is much darker and deeper, like the movie. The show is the first DreamWorks Animation series that airs on Cartoon Network instead of Nickelodeon, unlike previous series such as The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Monsters vs. Aliens.
Although it was announced that the series would be called Dragons: The Series, TV promos shown in June 2012 revealed a new title – Dragons: Riders of Berk. The series began airing in the third quarter of 2012. John Sanford, the director of seven episodes in the first season, confirmed that there would also be a second season. Jay Baruchel, who voiced Hiccup, also stars in the series, as well as America Ferrera (Astrid), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), and T. J. Miller (Tuffnut). The second season is accompanied with the new subtitle, Defenders of Berk, replacing the previous Riders of Berk subtitle.
DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders (2019–present)
Main article: DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders
A preschool-oriented spin-off, DreamWorks Dragons: Rescue Riders was released on Netflix on September 27, 2019.
Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon
Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon is a 16 minute sequel short film to the feature film, How to Train Your Dragon. The short was originally broadcast on television on October 14, 2010, on Cartoon Network, and released next day as a special feature on Blu-ray and double DVD edition of the original feature film.
The film follows Hiccup and his young fellows accompanying their mentor, Gobber, on a quest to kill the legendary Boneknapper Dragon. About half the film is done in traditional animation, showing Gobber's history and his encounters with the Boneknapper, and how he comes to look like he does now.
Book of Dragons
Book of Dragons is an 18-minute short film, based on How to Train Your Dragon, and was released on November 15, 2011, on DVD and Blu-ray, along with Gift of the Night Fury. The short shows Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs, Toothless and Gobber telling the legend behind the Book of Dragons and revealing insider training secrets about new, never before seen dragons. The short shows a total of 14 different dragons, each separated into 7 classes: Stoker (Terrible Terror, Monstrous Nightmare), Boulder (Gronckle, Whispering Death), Fear (Hideous Zippleback, Snaptrapper), Sharp (Deadly Nadder, Timberjack), Tidal (Scauldron, Thunderdrum), Mystery (Changewing, Boneknapper) and Strike (Skrill, Night Fury).
Gift of the Night Fury
Main article: Gift of the Night Fury
Gift of the Night Fury is a 22-minute How to Train Your Dragon Christmas special, directed by Tom Owens. It was released on November 15, 2011, on DVD and Blu-ray, along with Book of Dragons. Based on How to Train Your Dragon, the short takes place in the middle of preparing for the Viking winter holiday, 'Snoggletog', when suddenly all the dragons inexplicably go on a mass migration, except for Toothless, so Hiccup gives him something to help.
Dawn of the Dragon Racers
Main article: Dawn of the Dragon Racers
A 25-minute short film, titled Dawn of the Dragon Racers, was released on November 11, 2014, on the DVD/Blu-ray/digital release of How to Train Your Dragon 2. It was released on DVD separately on March 3, 2015, and it also includes Book of Dragons and Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon. It was directed by John Sanford and Elaine Bogan, and it features the voices of Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera along with the cast from the television series. In the short, a hunt for a lost sheep turns into a competition between Hiccup and his friends for the first title of Dragon Racing Champion of Berk.
How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming
Main article: How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming
How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming is a 22-minute holiday special set 10 years after the dragons left the Vikings in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, but within the film's epilogue. Hiccup and Astrid's children believe dragons are dangerous monsters after finding Stoick's journals about dragons, leading to Hiccup and Astrid planning to bring back the Snoggletog Pageant to convince them otherwise. Meanwhile, Toothless and the Light Fury's three Night Light children come to the village looking for Hiccup.
The special aired on NBC on December 3, 2019.
Snoggletog Log is a 28-minute slow television short film inspired by The Yule Log; it is a single continuous 28-minute shot of a Christmas fireplace, with various events involving of the film's main characters happening every so often. It shows dragons and the humans celebrating Christmas together showing that they'll never be apart and will celebrate holidays together. It has been available on Hulu since the 2019 holiday season.
- An action adventurevideo game released by Activision called How to Train Your Dragon was released for the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo DS gaming consoles. It is loosely based on the film and was released on March 23, 2010.
- Super Star Kartzvideo game was released by Activision on November 15, 2011, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS. The game features 14 different characters from DreamWorks' films – How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, Shrek, and Monsters vs. Aliens.
- Dragons: TapDragonDrop, a mobile video game, developed by PikPok, was released on May 3, 2012, on App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- Dragons: Wild Skies, a 3D virtual world game based on the television series DreamWorks Dragons has been launched on August 27, 2012, on CartoonNetwork.com. The game allows players to find, train and ride wild dragons, including new ones as they are introduced in the series.
- School of Dragons, a 3D educational massively multiplayer online role-playing game produced by JumpStart, was released online in July 2013, after a month-long beta testing. A Facebook version was released in October 2013, followed by an iPad app in December 2013, a version for Android-powered tablets in March 2014, and a version for the PC in 2014. In the game, each player is able to adopt, raise and train a dragon, while learning how they function.
- Dragons Adventure, an augmented reality game, was released in November 2013, exclusively for Nokia Lumia 2520.
- Dragons: Rise of Berk is a free game which allows players to build their own Berk village, send Hiccup and Toothless out on exploration, hatch and collect up to 30 dragons and train their own dragon at the academy. Developed by Ludia, it was released in May 2014 for iOS, and on June 20, 2014, for Android and Facebook.
- How to Train Your Dragon 2, an action adventure game, was released in June 2014 for Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U and PlayStation 3. The game was published by Little Orbit.
- Canadian developer Ludia announced Dragons: Titan Uprising in November 2018, for release in early 2019.
- Dragons: Dawn of New Riders, an action adventure game, developed by Climax Studios and released in 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. The game involves the playable characters Scribbler and Patch on their quest to defeat Eir, by exploring the world and its puzzle and battle elements.
A Broadway-style production named How To Train Your Dragon ON ICE is currently on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.
How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular or How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular is an arena show adaptation of the feature film How to Train Your Dragon. The show is being produced in partnership with Global Creatures, the company behind another arena show Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular, and directed by Nigel Jamieson. The score was composed by John Powell and Jónsi from Sigur Rós. Arena Spectacular features 24 animatronic dragons – 10 different species in various sizes: Nadder, Gronckle, Monstrous Nightmare, Night Fury (Toothless), Red Death, Skrill, Stinger, Kite Dragon, Zippleback and Egg Biter. It also features villagers and Vikings, including Hiccup (Rarmian Newton/Riley Miner), Astrid (Sarah McCreanor/Gemma Nguyen), Stoick (Robert Morgan), and Gobber (Will Watkins).
The show premiered as How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular on March 3, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia, and was followed by a New Zealand tour in April 2012. Renamed to How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, it toured United States and Canada between June 2012 and January 2013, when it was cancelled in favour of taking the show to China where it premiered in July 2014. It was also planned to come to England but was later scrapped due to an increase in market demand in China.
In 2016, the German theme park Heide Park created a whole section of the park offering various rides based on the franchise called "How to Train Your Dragon: The Island". It offers three different flying attractions and a boat ride where guests venture into the dark Dragon Caves to meet and help Hiccup, Toothless and their friends.
The Dubai Hollywood-inspired theme park Motiongate Dubai also features a section of the park based on the films and television series. The most prominent attraction is the hanging roller coaster named "Dragon Gliders". Riders join Hiccup, Toothless, Astrid, and Stormfly in flying through the caves of the Forbidden Island, where they come across an unexpected threat. Guests can also meet and greet with Hiccup, Toothless, and Astrid.
To promote How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Universal Studios Florida briefly had a limited-time virtual reality experience where guests could experience riding on Toothless, while Universal Studios Hollywood allowed visitors to meet and greet with Toothless. In addition, it is rumored that a HTTYD land is in the works for Universal Orlando Resort's newest theme park, Epic Universe, including a Gerstlauer Sky Fly, an attraction similar to a MACK Rides "Splash Battle", and a over-water roller coaster.
A Proslide KrakenRACER mat racing slide called Dragon Racers opened at Dreamworks Waterpark at American Dream in East Rutherford NJ on October 1 2020, along with a Proslide and the world's tallest and longest hydromagnetic water coaster called Toothless Trickling Torpedo.
Having earned over $1.6 billion worldwide, How to Train Your Dragon is the 11th highest-grossing animated franchise.
Each film is linked to the "Box office" section of its article.
|Film||U.S. release date||Box office gross||All-time ranking||Budget (millions)||Ref(s)|
|U.S. and Canada||Other territories||Worldwide||U.S. and Canada||Worldwide|
|How to Train Your Dragon||March 26, 2010 (2010-03-26)||$217,581,231||$277,297,528||$494,878,759||167||207||$165|||
|How to Train Your Dragon 2||June 13, 2014 (2014-06-13)||$177,002,924||$444,534,595||$621,537,519||262||142||$145|||
|How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World||February 22, 2019 (2019-02-22)||$160,799,505||$359,097,143||$519,896,648||323||198||$129|||
Critical and public response
Each film is linked to the "Critical response" section of its article.
Recurring cast and characters
Additional crew and production details
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the 2021 china international service trade fair (service trade fair) will be held in beijing from september 2nd to 7th. meanwhile, the global service trade summit will be held on september 2. president xi jinping will deliver a speech at the global service trade summit via video.
as one of the three major exhibition platforms for china's opening to the outside world, the service trade fair has become a leading event in the field of global service trade, and is a close link between china and the world. people from many countries and the media expressed that they look forward to the 2021 service trade fair that will continue to provide opportunities for all parties to deepen cooperation, build consensus, and promote global economic recovery in the post-epidemic era.
"service trade fair has become an important global platform"
this year, the service trade fair will host 5 summit forums, 193 forum meetings and promotion and negotiation activities, as well as 8 side events. more than 10,000 companies from 153 countries and regions have registered to participate in the exhibition, and the world's top 500 and industry-leading companies accounted for 18%, an increase of 9 percentage points from the previous time. the heads of exhibitors and enterprises said that the increase in the attractiveness of the service trade fair stems from china's open cooperation environment and broad development prospects.
tang zhimin, director of the china-asean studies center of the chia university school of management in thailand, said that this year's service trade fair will cover all major areas of service trade, build a platform and provide opportunities for international service trade cooperation, and will inject impetus into the development of global service trade.
"during the service trade fair in 2020, we participated in the winter sports special exhibition, and the response was very good." thomas tajuman, general manager of the czech ski brand alpine china market, said that many european brands have gained more cooperation opportunities through the service trade fair. . "as the beijing winter olympics approach, china's ice and snow sports market will usher in rapid growth. this is a good development opportunity for us."
zvi schiller, chairman of the israel robotics association, said that many professionals and investors are expected to participate in this service trade fair. china has a huge market and strong manufacturing capabilities, and the association is considering establishing a joint r&d center with china.
the panamanian "star" published an article that panama regards the service trade fair as an important boost to the global economic recovery in the post-epidemic era. mark garcia, senior regional consultant of lixin certified public accountants in panama business consulting company, believes that the trade in service is an excellent opportunity to promote cooperation between panama and china in the field of digital economy services. "the service trade fair can allow foreign investors to better understand china, as well as the service trade support and facilitation measures china provides, which will further enhance investors' confidence in long-term investment in china."
"china has become a major trading partner of many countries. the holding of the service trade fair not only conveys to the world china's confidence in opening up to the outside world, but also promotes trade exchanges between china and other economies and builds an important platform for exchanges and cooperation. "brazil business leaders organization china chairman everton monezi said.
wesley douglas, director of the african carbon exchange, is very pleased to see that this year's service trade will include carbon peaking and carbon neutrality as a key issue. “the service trade fair has become an important global platform, and this platform is helpful for solving global problems.” he said that china has provided an important reference for developing countries to practice green development, and african countries have a strong desire for green economic development. , there is an urgent need for related investment and technology introduction. africa and china have great potential for cooperation in these areas.
"digital technology brings hope to the future"
in his speech at the 2020 service trade conference global service trade summit, president xi jinping emphasized that it is necessary to comply with the development trend of digitalization, networking, and intelligence, and work together to eliminate the "digital divide" and promote the digitalization of service trade. the theme of this year's service trade fair is "digital opens up the future, service promotes development". visitors will experience various innovative service products and the latest technologies provided by domestic and foreign enterprises through the service trade fair. in particular, new services centered on the digital economy have received widespread attention from the international community.
yukio kajida, a professor at chuo university in japan, said that in the post-epidemic era, the importance of the digital economy has become more and more prominent. governments and enterprises of various countries are actively promoting the development of the digital economy, and china is at the forefront of this field. this year's service trade fair uses "digitalization" as a key word, which will help promote cooperation and exchanges between global companies in the new situation, and further contribute to global technological innovation, economic development and improvement of people's lives. trade in services will become an important force to promote the recovery of the world economy.
everton monezi said that china’s experience in promoting the application of electronic payment technology is worth learning from latin america. latin american countries are starting to revitalize their economies in order to achieve long-term sustainable development. the service trade fair provides a high-level platform for cooperation between latin america and china, allowing more high-quality latin american companies to enter the chinese market and contribute to the recovery of the world economy.
"digital technology brings hope to the future." susanna gutkovska, acting chief representative of the beijing office of the polish national tourism administration, said that this year's "cloud showroom" at the service trade fair provided them with the opportunity to contact and communicate with their chinese partners. an opportunity for chinese tourists to issue invitations. poland's primorsky province and warsaw tourism organization set up booths in the yunshang exhibition hall to attract visitors. the holding of the service trade fair will help the recovery of the global tourism industry.
karl fei, a professor at the business school of aalto university in finland, believes that china has accumulated a lot of experience in the development of the digital economy. for example, the government provides policy support for enterprises, revitalizes the domestic market for digital services, and supports and encourages innovative companies in this field. share and discuss these experiences with all parties at the service trade conference.
"it is of great significance to the recovery of the world economy"
according to data from the ministry of commerce of china, despite the impact of the epidemic, china's total service imports and exports in 2020 will still exceed rmb 4.5 trillion. in the first half of this year, the added value of china's service industry reached 29.6 trillion yuan, accounting for 55.7% of gdp, providing strong support for the high-quality development of service trade. international sources said that under the background of economic globalization, china's economy is open and inclusive, opening its doors to embrace companies from all over the world, and will contribute wisdom and strength to the deepening of global service trade and investment cooperation.
outlet with great discounts Annual Report on the Commercial Relations between United States Foreign Nat 1870 buy discount onlineshopas the guest country of this year's service and trade fair, ireland has not only set up exhibition areas for investment, food, health, education, etc., it will also show the unique charm of ireland through ethnic dance performances and movies. four institutions including the irish food board, the trade and technology board, the investment development board, and the tourism board will appear together on the stage of the service trade fair for the first time. fenbar cleary, vice president of the irish-china science and technology exchange association, said that china's total service trade imports may reach us$10 trillion in the next 15 years, which contains huge market opportunities.
mohamed farahart, director of the egyptian pyramid politics and strategic research center, said that the service and trade will build a sound framework for international cooperation, create a healthier business and investment environment, help establish a new operating structure and trade network, and promote service trade. , investment and capital flow.
lu yaoqun, director of the institute of governance and sustainable development of the national university of singapore business school, said that the service trade association is an excellent platform to promote the development of free trade and common prosperity between china, asia and the rest of the world. the service trade association once again confirmed china's long-term commitment to the idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
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tang zhimin said that open and inclusive service trade is also an important part of the regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement. china has used practical actions to create an open and inclusive environment for cooperation through the holding of service trade fairs and china international import expo. "under the current economic situation, china insists on expanding its opening up to the outside world and leading global cooperation. these measures are of great significance to the recovery of the world economy."
hanat besek, president of the china association for the promotion of trade in kazakhstan, said that china’s opening to the outside world has evolved from the initial policy preferences to the current institutional opening, which not only benefits the chinese people, but also contributes to the economic development of neighboring countries. significant driving effect.
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Journals dragon dragon city
Exactly 75 years ago today the Enola Gay released the first atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. I was five years old at the time, but over the years I’ve read a shelf full of books on the subject that can be mind-muddling. Somewhere between Pearl Harbor, and a little Japanese schoolboy spending years in pain in the hospital as his skin flakes off like over fried chicken, there might be an answer to the lingering questions. They were no more resolved by my visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki recounted below. In the time of COVID-19 the A-bombs, together responsible for perhaps a quarter of a million casualties, seems almost quaint against our expanding list of Malthusian population regulators. But our thermal nuclear capabilities must be a reminder of our capacity to do the job with greater alacrity.
Hello Kitty Hiroshima
We straggle off the bus in a heavy downpour and, across the narrow river looms the domed building that has become iconic of the occasion of the first nuclear explosion in anger in the history of human aggression. I had seen it many times before in grainy photos of the devastated landscape of Hiroshima—August 6, 1945—now retained as the centerpiece of the “peace park” despite having been nearly at ground zero.
Curiously, our guide Fujiko (not quite her real name), smiles at me in the gale cold blowning rain, asking me if I got a good photo of the “dome,” as if I were getting a snapshot of her kid wearing a Hello Kitty mask, or some such innocent visual of Japan. It’s like the denial with a smile is in perfect working order.
I suppose that being a guide for Westerners, and particularly Americans, to a site that fairly screams of ugly defeat, can’t be easy for the attractive lady with the ready Japanese welcoming smile. She speaks about the event that brings us all there with a dispassionate detachment—the blast, the firewind, the 130,000 killed—as though it was some other country’s ancient history, not just something in the lifetimes of most everybody on that bus. Maybe that’s the only way to do it. But I wonder.
Does it come with the Japanese DNA, the insular isolation, or the operant conditioning of a bowdlerized history in its transmission of denial from generation to generation: that ability to hold together a society that maintains a superficial Hello Kitty cuteness—what they call kawaaii—or the almost obsequious bowing and courteousness, with that subliminal mean streak we still remember,* but which they endeavor to deny away. Is it an aftereffect of the radiation?
This was not my first encounter with the thermonuclear conclusion to what the Japanese call (despite the verbal contradiction)“The Pacific War.” Some years before I had a similar experience in Nagasaki where, after wandering over the hill that was it’s ground zero I made my way to its “holocaust” museum where the curators appear to have intended that American visitors not miss their interpretation of the bombing; all captions and commentaries for the exhibits were translated into English.
One caught my eye in particular. It was a linear timeline titled “Events Leading Up To the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing” in text and photos that ran for several yards along a curved wall and lit with spotlights. The timeline was divided into yearly panels. The discomfort I had been feeling for much of the day gave way to astonishment when I read the English below the Japanese characters describing the “first” event: “May 5, 1943, The Japanese fleet at Truk Bay is proposed as an atomic bomb target at a meeting the Military Policy Committee.”
Somehow this didn’t seem to align with the history of events in the Pacific Theater that I was familiar with. To my knowledge, there was no such decision-making organ as “The Military Policy Committee.” And why, except to add to the ambiguity of the statement, not specify “American,” or “Allied” policy committee. Owing to the curved wall I thought that perhaps the timeline started beyond the door, or around a corner. I looked there, and on the wall behind, but there was no sign there, or anywhere, of December 7, 1941. Excuse me, folks, did you not see Tora! Tora! Tora!?
I did not come to Japan unaware of the deep strain of denial about the causes and events of the war that yet pervades their culture. The national paranoia of a long-cloistered island, the monarchism and militarism and, the sense of racial superiority that got them into trouble in the first place, have been modified and challenged by the war’s end and their nation’s impressive reconstruction and economic success. But the bomb did not obliterate those characteristics.
Most Americans of my generation have probably formed at least part of their impression of the Japanese city on one or two popular images. Mine were formed (and somewhat misinformed) on both such images.
The first image is of some guy in a silly-looking dinosaur suit climbing out of a soundstage pool and tromping through the center of a modular Japanese metropolis. The fire-spitting dragon, and related megamonsters, wreak wreckage and havoc in Japanese cities (and most recently, New York City) in a long-running series of cult sci-fi ‘B’ films.
The second image is more realistic and more sinister: the vast panorama of flattened urban landscape and twisted towers and bridges, punctuated by the occasional shell of a building of sterner construction, of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or fire-bombed Tokyo.
In the first images Japanese and western movie actors overact in badly-synched dubbed dialogue, racing across the movie screen in search of the appropriate militaristic answer to vanquish the reptilian aggressor and save the city. In the second, newsreels and stills of shocked, scorched, and irradiated victims of nuclear holocaust are a grim testament that military might and technology can be a monster of more devastating proportions.
The two images are, of course, not unrelated. Godzilla and related monsters that are monstrosities of nuclear radiation seem an apt product of a form of cultural paranoia that may well have had its roots when Perry’s black ships pried open an unwelcoming Japan in the late 19th century. (True, a vanguard of Jesuits in their black robes had arrived three centuries earlier seeking souls and trade concessions, but that ‘God-zilla’ came ashore with less fanfare.) And not to be discounted are the gods of the seismic netherworld that have conspired to make this shaky archipelago perhaps the most perilous perch for human habitation on earth.
But how far does this go in explaining the exasperating inscrutability of the Japanese, perhaps humankind’s prime example of contradiction incarnate. Mind you, these are the folks that back in the 1930s arrogated to themselves the role as prime representatives of the Asian races against Western pollution and colonization while using borrowed Western technology to fist subjugate their “inferior” fellow Asians before taking their first disastrous step to getting their asses kicked by those “inferior” gaijin. Indeed, there are gut-churning examples of the most heinous racist behavior toward their fellow Asian Koreans and Chinese,** including the abduction of Korean girls as “comfort women” for their troops, the slaughter of some 300,000 Chinese in Nanking, and the merciless medical experiments on Chinese and POWs in Manchukuo.
Back on the bus, somebody behind me asks Fujiko what Japanese school kids are taught about the “Pacific War”? I don’t look back to see if the questions come from one of the Chinese among our group; Japanese bowdlerized textbooks have long been an irritant in Sino-Japanese relations. My mind swings back to that museum in Nagasaki and I recall the school teacher leading her grade school class through the exhibits —where they will not learn what happened on December 7, 1941. Fujiko lamely replies that they have a long national history to study and that they sometimes don’t get to cover the war. I feel like letting out a heckling meow, Hello Kitty-like.
Three Hills in Nagasaki
There are places on the face of the earth that are etched by the nexus of time and circumstance. The Atom Bomb Museum in the hills of Nagasaki is not far from what was ground zero on August 9, 1945. I’d spent most of the day in the area beneath the bomb’s detonation. The nearby hill that was directly beneath the blast is now a shrine called The Peace Park, a focal point of anti-nuclear demonstrations and a variety of sculptural memorials from various nations. On the long staircase leading up from the main street below I had followed the ascent of a troop of drum-beating monks in white and black robes, chanting, I could only guess, some incantation to ward off any fissionable repetition.
At the summit of the hill most of the reminders of what effect “Fat Man,” the plutonium bomb that exploded three miles above this district called Urakami, have been erected since that fateful day. A fountain greets one at the top of the staircase. Its sign explains that water was precious to the parched throats of the victims. An array of monuments for different nations offers sculptural pity and regret, some serene depictions of mothers holding dead babies, others with mouths with silent screams, or hands grasping at the sky in torment. The last of these is nearly genre; similar holocaustal evocations can be seen at Dachau, the Holocaust section of Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, and elsewhere—blackened bronze figures in the throes of cruel death. On this hilltop in Nagasaki only the flattened footings and grotesquely-twisted reinforcing bars of a couple of buildings at ground zero are artifacts of the blast.
It was a pleasant, sunny day with a cool breeze coming up off the harbor. Instinctively I looked up. On that day the heat at this spot where I stood reached 4000 degrees Celsius. On that day those in whose place I stood were vaporized, which made them the “lucky” ones of the 70,000 who died in the gruesome afflictions of wind, heat and radiation.
In fact, it was the industrial city of Kokura, in northern Kyushu, not Nagasaki, that was the primary target for “Fat Man” on August 9. But that day Kokura was covered in smoke, and with the B-29 running low on fuel, Nagasaki was selected. Even that city might have been spared because of cloud cover, but a “decision” was made, literally in the last minutes, to drop the bomb by radar.
In a sense, Nagasaki has remained in “second place”. Having been “first,” and having had a more direct hit with greater losses, Hiroshima is the city associated more with the history of atomic warfare and has become the “Mecca” of the ant-nuclear movement.
At the terminus of Nagasaki’s Peace Park is another fountain, and atop it sits, literally, a two-story figure of a man of incongruous, steroid-pumped, body-builder, proportions. One arm skyward, the other pointing to the side like a traffic cop, and an almost Buddha-beatific smile on his face, he conveys all the warmth and meaning of bad Soviet-era political sculpture. Its message is vague, but then an atomic bomb can make a scramble of meanings and emotions for ages.
Of more interest was the group of Japanese pilgrims assembled along the edge of the fountain pool. They wore T-shirts with Japanese characters on them, some carried banners of characters, and they sat quietly listening to the guttural intonations of a speaker with a bull-horn amplification. Only a drawing of a mushroom cloud on one of the banners provided me any legibility.
A slight unease came over me as I had to walk around the group to get to the other side of the fountain. I’d wanted to take a photo but quickly dismissed the idea. The mood is somber, and perhaps intensely personal for some of the pilgrims who seem of an age to have had relatives who were victims. From the side of my eye even tried to see if there might be some people showing the effects of having been victims, crippled bodies, or radiation-disfigured skin. But I am leery of looking and, although some of them look up at me their faces are, to put it stereotypically, ‘inscrutable’. I feel that they know I’m an American, and I almost reflexively try to affect a contrite appearance.
Then I noticed another symbol among the Japanese characters on banners and T-shirts: a cross. They are Christians, and I wouldn’t be too much of a stretch, I hazard a mental guess, that they’re Roman Catholic.
Although I have long ceased “practicing” the faith that was drummed into me by Sisters of St. Joseph and then put at risk by black-robed Jesuits, my apostasy has been somewhat tempered by an abiding interest in the “history” of Catholicism. In the early morning I had made my way up another of Nagasaki’s hills, this one up to a hill upon which, in 1596, the Shogun Hideyoshi had twenty-six Catholic Japanese coverts and their European priests crucified on the site that now bears a bas-relief of each of them on a shrine.
I went up that hill in search of some sign of the presence of Francis Xavier, the Spanish Jesuit who was the first missionary to Kyushu in 1549. In the museum behind the shrine are a collection of artifacts from the days of the Jesuit mission including some writings from Xavier himself, and stained-glass coats-of-arms of the families of Xavier and his co-founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius Loyola. But much had been lost, destroyed by the bomb, and the church built by a French Jesuit in 1814 to commemorate the twenty-six martyrs was partially destroyed as well.
One can well understand the basis for the shogun’s brutality. By the time of his little demonstration of the Roman execution method, there were already nearly a third of a million Roman Catholic converts in Japan. Like his successors, he was afraid that the converts would act as a “fifth column” for a Spanish invasion, a fear that the rival Protestant Dutch helped to encourage. So the persecution of Catholics began in earnest a few years later, and over the years tens of thousands were brutally tortured and killed.
The ban on Christianity wasn’t lifted in Japan until 1873, and the remainder of the Catholic community completed their Cathedral in 1925 on a hill a short walk to ground zero. Twenty years later the bomb blew most of it to bits. By that time the Roman Catholic community in Nagasaki had grown back to number 14,000. Half of them perished in the nuclear holocaust.
Were those survivors or relatives of the remaining Catholics in pilgrimage at the Peace Park fountain? I could only guess. In the vortex of emotions that has been churned up in the history of Western relations with Japan since it was pried open with guns and bibles, such questions were best left to speculation, at least at ground zero.
My country’s dropping of the bomb on Japan had never been an unresolved moral complexity for me; all things considered, I tended to side with the argument that more lives were saved than lost. I was less sure as I entered the Atomic Bomb Museum on the third hill late in the afternoon. Here the collected curiosities of melted glass, twisted steel, and clocks eternally stopped a couple of minutes after the B-29 passed over the city, gave their mute testimony of the power of a bomb that is little more than a firecracker when compared to today’s warheads. But it was the poignant photographs, many taken by American photographers immediately after the surrender, that conveyed the most power.
I shuffled along amongst the exhibits, and dioramas, overhearing, but not understanding, the muffled comments of the Japanese visitors. The museum is designed around a descending spiral ramp, miming the Guggenheim in New York, and its curators employ the continuity it affords to situate the event of the bomb within a longer history of Japanese relations with the West, and America in particular.
The curators appear to have intended that American visitors not miss their interpretation of the bombing; all captions and commentaries for the exhibits were translated into English. One caught my eye in particular. It was a linear timeline titled “Events Leading Up to the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing” in text and photos that ran for several yards along a curved wall and lit with spotlights. The timeline was divided into yearly panels. The discomfort I had been feeling for much of the day gave way to astonishment when I read the English below the Japanese characters describing the “first” event: “May 5, 1943, The Japanese fleet at Truk Bay is proposed as an atomic bomb target at a meeting the Military Policy Committee.” \
Somehow this didn’t seem to align with the history of events in the Pacific Theater that I was familiar with. To my knowledge, there was no such decision-making organ as “The Military Policy Committee.” And why, except to add to the ambiguity of the statement, not specify “American,” or “Allied” policy committee. Owing to the curved wall I thought that perhaps the timeline started beyond the door, or around a corner. I looked there, and on the wall behind, but there was no sign there, or anywhere, of December 7, 1941.
I did not come to Japan unaware of the deep strain of denial about the causes and events of the war that yet pervades their culture. The national paranoia of a long-cloistered island, the monarchism and militarism and, the sense of racial superiority that got them into trouble in the first place, have been modified and challenged by the war’s end and their nation’s impressive reconstruction and economic success. But the bomb did not obliterate those characteristics.
I descended from hill three with muddled feelings about the Japanese. Why this delusion and denial, this twisted self-absolving revisionist history? What can possibly be gained from such self-deception? At the base of the hill, I encountered a teacher with her class of perhaps first-graders, all holding hands as they prepared to cross the intersection. Compliant to my gesture that I take their photo, they smiled and giggled beneath their pastel-colored caps. I wondered if the cap colors might represent some rank order, perhaps of their academic performance, in this highly structured society. But would these kids someday be on their honeymoon to Hawaii and wonder what the Pearl Harbor memorial was all about because they had been fed the deceitful history of their museums and historical texts?
©2020, James A. Clapp
*That mean streak shows up in the popular humiliation TV programming and in the practice of bullying in schools. See DCJ Archives 52.15
**Theresa Park, A Gift of the Emperor (1997); Hal Gold, Unit 731 (1996). See also, 19. 7: The Death of Iris Chang and the Rape Of Nanking[BR] and 95.5: What Greatest Country?
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Riga City Journal, City Notebook For Riga, Latvia
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