Aug 9, 2005

Nagasaki, 60 years on

I turned on the NHK channel this morning, and they were broadcasting live the memorial ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Nagasaki nuclear bombing. It also took me a while to dawn to the fact that Singapore gained its independence on the exact same day, twenty years after the Bockscar dropped the fateful bomb to end the Pacific World War.

Nothing like the mushroom cloud had ever been seen, not by the general public. It was a suitably awesome image for the power unleashed below. On August 6 the first atomic bomb killed an estimated 80,000 people in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. There was no quick surrender, and three days later a second bomb exploded 500 meters above the ground in Nagasaki. The blast wind, heat rays reaching several thousand degrees and radiation destroyed anything even remotely nearby, killing or injuring as many as 150,000 at the time, and more later. As opposed to the very personal images of war that had brought the pain home, the ones from Japan that were most shocking were those from a longer perspective, showing the enormity of what had occurred.

Joi Ito was invited to write an op-ed for the New York Times, an interesting perspective of what the anniversary means to young Japanese in today's context.


Anonymous said...

Wrong there.

The plane that nuked Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 was called "Bockscar."

The Enola Gay is the one that dropped the first bomb on August 6, 1945 on Hiroshima..

ahmad said...

I stand corrected.