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The Hiroshima lovers, or shadow lovers, is a graffiti tag depicting a man and a woman in silhouette, embracing like lovers. The tag is common throughout New York in 1985. It is sprayed onto walls with black paint by Knot Tops, and can be easily mistaken for the shadows of two actual people. A possible reference to the acclaimed 1959 French film, Hiroshima Mon Amour.

Several characters express uneasiness around the tag. Rorschach described the tag in his journal as follows: "Silhouette picture in doorway, man and woman, possibly indulging in sexual foreplay. Didn't like it. Makes doorway look haunted."[1] Malcolm Long commented that "It reminded me of the people disintegrated at Hiroshima, leaving only their indelible shadows."[2]

This graffiti symbolizes the incoming atomic war. The couple seem to embrace each other as a last act of affection before they get obliterated by an atomic bomb, as is enacted in the dream that Dan has involving Laurie and himself during Chapter VII.

  • The rationalization for sending the giant squid is similar to that of dropping the bomb: killing x number of people is worth it if it means preventing the potential killing of x+y number of people.

Appearances of the graffiti

      • V:11:5 - Rorschach inspects the completed tag, which is revealed to be the Hiroshima lovers.
      • V:11:7-9 - A group of Knot Tops (possibly the same one) defaces the wall opposite the Gunga Diner while Rorschach waits inside for a mail drop from Moloch.
      • V:18:1 - The Hiroshima lovers outside the Gunga Diner can be seen when Rorschach collects the message from Moloch.
      • V:23:4 and V:25:1 - Outside the Rumrunner.
    • Chapter VI: The Abyss Gazes Also:
      • VI:16:6
      • VI:27:3

Shadows of embracing lovers