The 6th August, 2018 marked the 73rd anniversary of the day an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. To mark these events, and ensure that the horrors of atomic warfare are not forgotten, a group of Japanese students have painstakingly recreated the sights and sounds of Hiroshima before, during and after the bombing.
Though to many, the dropping of the bomb ensured the end of World War II, the Japanese surrender came at a terrible cost, with over 140,000 people dying in Hiroshima, and 70,000 being killed at Nagasaki. The students and their teacher hope that the VR experience will help ensure that such an incident never happens again.
By putting on a VR headset, users can be transported back in time to beside the Motoyasu River before the blast, and see the buildings and businesses that once stood there. They can go further, to the post office and the Shima Hospital Courtyard, where the remains of a building which is today called the Atomic Bomb Dome stands, a silent monument to the day the bomb fell.
“Even without language, once you see the images, you understand,” said Mei Okada, one of the students working on the project at a technical high school in Fukuyama, a city about 60 miles east of Hiroshima. “That is definitely one of the merits of this VR experience.”
To recreate Hiroshima, the students carefully studied old photographs and postcards, and interviewed survivors to hear first-hand accounts of their experiences and get feedback on the VR recreation.
“When I was creating the buildings before the atomic bomb fell and after, I saw many photos of buildings that were gone. I really felt how scary atomic bombs can be,” said Yuhi Nakagawa, one of the students on the project, “So while creating this scenery, I felt it was really important to share this with others.”
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