Did Japan Ban Oppenheimer?

Did Japan ban Oppenheimer? Here is everything we know so far!

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Image: Universal Pictures

Oppenheimer’s early reviews call it a horror movie because of its graphic nature and disturbing subject. However, the film is now making its rounds on social media, with some saying it was banned in Japan due to J. Robert Oppenheimer’s involvement in developing atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Understandably, a film based on his life may face controversy in Japan due to the immense horrors his creation caused. However, has Japan banned the film, or are these unsubstantiated claims? Here is everything you need to know about Japan banning Oppenheimer.

Is Oppenheimer Banned in Japan?

Image: Universal Pictures

No, Japan did not ban Oppenheimer despite the rumors floating around social media. However, no official theatrical release date has been given for Japan, meaning Oppenheimer will most likely not be shown in Japanese theaters. It is essential to differentiate between a film that did not have a theatrical release and one that was banned, as they have distinct meanings and consequences.

In addition, studios must consider Japan’s interest in Oppenheimer, as films set in a similar time period have not performed well with Japanese audiences due to the sensitive subject matter covered in these films. For example, Variety stated that The Wolverine only made $7.9 million, and Flags of Our Fathers made $13.1 million in Japan, meaning it may not have a theatrical release purely for financial reasons and not because it was banned.

Related: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Review

Why is Oppenheimer Controversial?

Image: Ullstein Bild / Getty

Oppenheimer’s involvement in creating the nuclear weapons used against Japan makes him a controversial figure, and this is why the ban on the Oppenheimer film in Japan is being speculated on. More specifically, the events started when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, between 70,000 and 140,000 people died at Hiroshima and between 40,000 and 70,000 at Nagasaki. This means that a total of 110,000 to 210,000 total people died when the atomic bombs were dropped on both cities. The sheer destruction and loss of life caused by the atomic bombs, which Oppenheimer helped create, is why a potential ban in Japan could happen but most likely won’t.

- This article was updated on September 7th, 2023

About The Author

Matthew Kevin Mitchell has been a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion since 2022. Matthew primarily covers Manga like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and survival horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6 for AotF. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play ice hockey, spoil his dog, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.