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“That’s not how I remember it!”Marge: “You loved Rashomon!” Homer: “That’s not how I remember it!” 5
The Plot Film based in part on two early 20th century short stories by R. Akutagawa—“In A Grove” and “Rashomon.” Set about one thousand years ago in medieval Japan, outside the decaying capital of Kyoto, under the partially ruined city gate called Rashomon The five versions are mutually exclusive and contradictory. They physically can not all be true. So are humans capable of perceiving or telling the truth? 6
“The Rashomon Effect” The four narrators in Rashomon—striking poses to match their characters—tell five radically different versions of the same story. The fact that witnesses often give contradictory accounts comes to be called “The Rashomon Effect” 7
Rashomon Effect in Action Humans See the World the Way They Prefer to See it1. December 7 vs. August 6 (Pearl Harbor vs. Hiroshima)2. Crusade vs. Jihad3. The Civil War vs. The War Between the StatesThe Battle Cry of Freedom-Northernvs. Southern versions 8
Rashomon was made only five years after the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 9
Rashomon Effectin action My Japan is a 1945 U.S. propaganda film designed to scare Americans into buying war bonds Clearly an alleged American view of a Japanese perspective! 10
Eyewitnesses usually don’t see what they think they see! 13
The pursuit of truth…“Just as the purpose of medicine is not perfect health, but the struggle against illness —Just as the purpose of law is not perfect justice but the pursuit of it through the vigilance against injustice —The purpose of the historian is not…perfect truth but the pursuit of truth through a reduction of ignorance….” By Historian John Lukacs 14