70 Year Hiroshima Anniversary

70 Year Hiroshima Anniversary

Today is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. And to commemorate the anniversary, I thought I’d post a few odds and ends. The first is a fantastic Radiolab about an individual that was first bombed in Hiroshima, and then traveled to Nagasaki, only to be bombed there as well.

“On the morning of August 6th, 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a work trip. He was walking to the office when the first atomic bomb was dropped about a mile away. He survived, and eventually managed to get himself onto a train back to his hometown … Nagasaki. The very next morning, as he tried to convince his boss that a single bomb could destroy a whole city, the second bomb dropped. Sam Kean, whose latest book The Violinist’s Thumb scrutinizes the mysteries of our genetic code, tells Jad and Robert the incredible story of what happened to Tsutomu, explains how gamma rays shred DNA, and helps us understand how Tsutomu sidestepped a thousand year curse.”

The second thing is a data visualization that will allow you to overlay an atomic bomb blast, of the size that hit Hiroshima, on top of your town which will show you the devastating impact involved with this kind of technology. You can get to the data visualization here.


Here is a shortened account of the very first Americans to reach Hiroshima about five days after the bomb went off…

We flew over the burned out and ruined cities of Osake and Kobe, arriving over Hiroshima in midmorning. It was apparent that landing on Hiroshima’s airport was impracticable because of the limited runway length and the wreckage which littered the place. We proceeded, therefore, to the military airdrome of Iwakuni, about 20 miles to the south. Here we managed a successful landing despite bomb craters and the wreckage of many aircraft — one of which lay squarely on the runway.

After this they were able to take a bus the 20 miles to Hiroshima, and despite the short distance, it took them over 5 hours to make the trip.

Nevertheless, when our ferry docked, not a townsman was to be seen on the main street leading from dock to temple. At each street crossing along the main route, however, a gendarme was stationed. In absolute silence, except for the noise we ourselves created, we struggled up the street with our luggage. With the Major leading, we passed the closed shops and houses; as we passed, each gendarme in turn fell silently behind us. I have forgotten how far we walked, but we had quite a platoon behind us when we arrive at the shrine!