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'Paper City': The untold story of the firebombing of Tokyo in World War II

74 Comments
By John Amari

It was the night of March 9th to 10th, 1945. Most of Tokyo was asleep. This was despite the present risk of bombs dropping from the sky —after all, Japan had by then been engaged for four years in the conflict that became known as World War II.

While in the midst of an uneasy slumber, the city’s residents were suddenly awoken. Flames engulfed their homes, shelters and streets. Panic set in. People sought cover where they could, many jumping into rivers in a bid to escape the savage heat.

Some 100,000 people died that night, including children. Many burnt alive where they slept. The cause? Incendiary devices were used in the raid, and Tokyo — a city largely made of wood and paper at the time — ignited like a massive bonfire.

Later, the world learned of Operation Meetinghouse, the code name of that night's firebombing attack by the United States Army Air Forces on Tokyo. Over the years, it has been argued the attack, which also targeted civilians, was a war crime.

Today, more than 75 years after the end of WW II, few remember the firebombing of Japan’s capital, the deadliest air raid of the war (more died that night than did in the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg or Nagasaki, by comparison).

But that is changing, thanks to a group of survivors who are lobbying the government to give the event the recognition they feel it deserves — and thereby ensure they are remembered. Their struggle is the focus of a new documentary titled "Paper City."

Made by Australian filmmaker Adrian Francis, "Paper City" features three main survivors from the attack: Michiko Kiyooka, Hiroshi Hoshino and Minoru Tsukiyama. Now seniors, they were 21, 14, and 16 years old, respectively, back in 1945.

“You know, if you visited New York, you might go to the 911 Memorial, right? Or the same with Hiroshima, or Berlin: there's something as part of the story of the city and what it endured in its darkest hour,” Francis says, referring to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin. Each memorializes particularly horrific events in their respective city.

And yet for Kiyooka, Hoshino, Tsukiyama and their fellow survivors and campaigners, there is nothing of the kind — or scale — to commemorate the firebombing of Tokyo.

Rather, “There is a place by Ryogoku Station. There was a memorial there built after the Great Kanto Quake of 1923 (over 100,000 people died at that event),” Francis explains. “They changed the name to Tokyo Memorial Hall, a kind of nondescript name that nobody knows. If I you ask anybody today, they wouldn't know what it is or what it's for.”

The Tokyo Memorial Hall commemorates victims of the 1923 earthquake as well as those of Operation Meetinghouse. While acknowledging its significance, campaigners are calling for a memorial dedicated solely to the firebombing of 1945.

What’s more, they are seeking compensation from the government of Japan for the many civilian casualties of the raid, something that families of Japanese soldiers who perished in the war have received, the campaigners note.

Adrian-on-set-2.jpg
Adrian Francis on the set of "Paper City" Image: Adrian Francis

Ultimately, they — and Francis himself — are driven by a desire to tell their story of survival and perseverance, and to pass their experience on to the next generations. Indeed, most survivors have died, and those remaining are in their 70s or older.

"Paper City" opens a new window into the lives of people who, ordinarily, you would walk past on the streets without butting an eyelid. Francis subtly shows their struggle for recognition, allowing their fierce determination and warm personalities to shine.

Instead of overwhelming the audience in an avalanche of gruesome facts and figures of the firebombing (though he doesn't shy from that entirely), he choses, rather, to introduce the tragedy through the personal voice of each living survivor.

One of the enduring takeaways of the documentary, something that audiences around the world have remarked upon, is the steely determination and dignity of the survivors, many of whom, despite failing health, have campaigned for decades — and taken the government to task.

Their David-vs-Goliath struggle is prefaced at the very start of the movie: “I decided to open the film with a quote from Milan Kundera. It says, ‘The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.’ So this is really, for me, the big takeaway of the film,” Francis points out.

Finding distribution was a challenge for someone with no experience in or connection to that side of the industry. "I spent quite a lot of time last year reaching out to distribution companies and theaters. In the end, making a deal directly with a theatre was the best way for us to get the film seen in Tokyo. Image Forum have treated us very well in giving us four screenings a day. And we’re grateful that other small cinemas around the country are starting to give us a chance — in Osaka and Ueda City in Nagano, but with future possible screenings in other major cities."

An award-winning film made with an intimacy that speaks volumes to the level of trust between subject and director, "Paper City" does a remarkable job of capturing the stories of survivors before their time runs out, ensuring their experiences will not be forgotten.

"Paper City" (with English subtitles) is currently showing at Theatre Image Forum in Shibuya. After that, it will be shown in Osaka from March 11 and Nagano at Ueda Eigeki from April 1.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

74 Comments
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So we distributed leaflets to ordinary civilians, without ample time for them to correlate with their military/government? The fact is that when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, it was an act of war, NOT AN ACT OF TERROR! It’s the textbook definition of an act of war. They specifically attacked a naval base. When we bombed Japan, we killed their innocent civilians. It wasn’t really planned out like such an attack should have been, and even the pilots involved have admitted that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My late grandmother-in-law could see Tokyo burning from Saitama.

well, as Saitama is literally across the river from Tokyo, that's not exactly a "Ripley's Believe it or Not" factoid...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One simple principle is worth restating here: the end NEVER justifies the means. Once we abandon it, we unleash hell on earth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For a sobering account of the horrors America unleashed on Japan, read 'War Without Mercy' by John Dower. It will change your entire view of the war. As far as I remember, LeMay said something like 'We have to destroy the breeding nests of the Japanese'. He was a monster.

Of course these bombings were a war crime. To say so is not to take the Japanese side in the war or to be a traitor somehow. We must be honest about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why did America and its allies even invade Japan? They could have just blockaded the country and driven it into surrender.

”… driven it to surrender”? Just as the aerial bombing up until August 1945 drove it to surrender? The civilian death toll didn’t seem to be a major factor, if even a minor factor, in the decision to surrender.

An alternative to invasion was a plan to bomb - and keep bombing - (about) 5 domestic supply and transport choke points thereby, if it went as planned, disrupt the distribution of food causing triggering widespread starvation, disease, and death.

How does one persuade those responsible for a war of aggression to stop it? A bullet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Over 60 million people died in that war. Yes the fire bombing could be considered a war crime but it was a brutal action in response to brutal actions by the Japanese Imperial Army. If you read about the discussion at the end of the war, the Imperial Army pledged to sacrifice the entire nation to achieve their goals. In other words, national suicide. There are brutal actions taken to stop the war and there were brutal actions of conquest. I think the fire bombing was in the first category., Need to read about the last days of the war. Read "Japan's Longest Day.,

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Who are these people who don't like any criticism of the Japanese government, even the fascist, militarist one of old that did so much damage to Japan and its people?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japan started ww2 in 1937 in the marco polo Bridge incident.

Japan start WW2 in 1905 with the annexation of Korea A chain of events that led to the world war.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

This was a very sad event, but what was the alternative? Invasion? The point of war is to win and send as many troops of yours back home to their families. Thousands of more Americans would have died if the bombings didn’t force the Japanese into surrender. I don’t really see an alternative despite how sad the loss of life was

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Agreed. Just the same old posters trying to justify the mass murder of civilians and war crimes.

War isn’t murder

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Curtis LeMay on his role in targeting and mass murdering civilians:

"If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals."

Robert McNamara on LeMay's comment:

"And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Mark,

This article is about the US firebombing, and people are blaming the Imperial Japanese Army. The amount of whatboutism by the anti-Japan gang is sad.

Agreed. Just the same old posters trying to justify the mass murder of civilians and war crimes.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

This would've been the alternative to the A-bombs

If there were no A-bombs, Japan's cities would had been firebombed instead, in preparation for Japan's D-Day

Either way, Japan's cities would had been razed to the ground since Japan's military leaders won't surrender (they'd rather commit seppuku than surrender)

Fat boy and Little man were just an warning to Japan,the US has 12 more bombs to drop on Japan

No, the US didn't have 12 more bombs to drop on Japan. Actually they only had the 2 that they dropped

They were hoping Japan wouldn't see thru their bluff but instead surrender (which Japan did). If Japan hadn't surrendered, they would had to do another D-Day. Because they didn't have more A-bombs ready to go, so it had to be boots on the ground

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Regarding Pearl Harbor: Japanese citizens who were working for Japanese firms in the US prior to Pearl Harbor were told in the summer of 1941 to return to Japan by the US government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And then after his spectacular success in Japan Curtis LeMay and company bombed the hell out of North Korea.

In addition to firebombing civilians, they also deliberately targeted dams so that normal people / non-combatants would be unable to grow food.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They didn't invade mainland Japan. 

Nice word play, they invaded the Okinawan Islands, and everyone just seems to forget it, and kick it to the side, as if it isnt a part of Japan.

They certainly didnt invade it, but they sure as hell occupied it!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

100,000 civilian casualties from the firebombing is indeed incredibly sad and unfortunate and as is usually the case in wars, the civilians suffer the most. For comparison purposes and not to give in to Japan bashing, in late 1937, over a period of six weeks, Imperial Japanese Army forces brutally murdered hundreds of thousands of people—including both soldiers and civilians—in the Chinese city of Nanjing (or Nanking). According to numerous eyewitness reports and later analyses, between 20,000 and 80,000 women were brutally raped and tortured, including young girls and elderly women. Many of them—including victims of gang rapes—were mutilated and killed after being assaulted. There are no official numbers for the death toll in the Nanjing Massacre, though estimates range from 200,000 to 300,000 people. Soon after the end of the war, General Matsui the commander in charge and his lieutenant Tani Hisao were tried and convicted for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East—both men were soon executed.

These numbers make the death toll in the Tokyo firebombing pale in comparison although no less horrific. In one sense, I can understand China and other asian countries still feeling resentful of Japan not acknowledging their responsibility in these actions.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

This article is about the US firebombing, and people are blaming the Imperial Japanese Army. The amount of whatboutism by the anti-Japan gang is sad.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

I process all my late J grandmothers memories and chronicles, Gran stated to me the only way I could understand Japans past was to accept the culture.

Only through an open education, without the need to push political agenda, will change accept the suffering and conscious endurance of such firebombing on a population could endure.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As I understand it, history is a record of events and is available to all to either learn from the mistakes or to ignore them and possibly repeat the unfortunate lessons of the past. I am curious to know if anyone would care to comment, what is being taught to students in Japan's educational system about the Japan's involvement in world war 2 and what are the student's perceptions of it. Are they aware of the extreme pain and suffering and brutality that was caused by their military in other Asian countries?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The contempt the government had for its own people extended to endless lies about the US to keep the people fearful and fighting and hanging on while it sought to save itself and the emperor. The big one, which was subsequently proven totally wrong, was that the US military would treat civilians abominably. In fact, for the most part Japan was treated very well starting with a program of trying to feed the starving people. No countries that Japan invaded were treated so leniently of course. The US definitely provided a better government for Japan than the Japanese one by far.

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

My birth city was badly bombed by the Nazis in WW2, loss of nearly 50% of the properties. My own family members, children, were killed in a raid and the family home destroyed along with so many others.

But none of that justifies the firebombing of Dresden by the Americans/Brits.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Firebombing of any civilian population by any country is a crime against humanity just like the Israeli use of white phosphorus bombs on Gaza.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Before complaining about The USA ( everyone here knows I am not a fan of the USA), perhaps the Japanese and this Australian would like to visit the survivors of places in China the Japanese firebombed and please the "none of my family was in the war" claim just doesn't cut it.

Start with

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Chongqing

That was 1938 there are plenty more including Shanghai and plenty other cities, Japan used "Terror bombing" as part of their military strategy from 1938 to 1943 but I know the reply by the Tokyo firebombing "victims": " not my family, my father was XYZ so didn't go, my brother was ABC so didn't go, etc.." this has been the mantra by nearly everyone I have ask over 30 years.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

JeffLee

Today 02:15 pm JST

Why no atomic bombings in Germany

> Because the bombs weren't ready when Germany surrendered

Was this actually something that needed explanation?

Wow!

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Haven't Read it or seen the movie so this is a simple question.

Does the book or movie point out that Japan has been using these same type of incendiary bombs in China on Chinese cities for 10 years by that time?

What I have always found interesting in Japan over 30 years is how many victims there are.

I mean I think I have known only 2 people that admitted being in the Japanese imperial army or admitted their father or grandfather was.

Everyone else "claims" for some special reason they weren't in the army the fathers didn't get called up their grandfathers didn't get called up somehow I keep meeting only people who were never in the Army when all only victims.

Now today younger people may not know, but when I arrived over 30 years ago people knew and no one would admit it.

The collective amnesia about the war in Japan is still very strong like here in This article they only seem to remember being victims.

And tomorrow when Korea asks for more "compensation" the same individuals will ask when will South Korea stop playing the victim and asking for more.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Why no atomic bombings in Germany

Because the bombs weren't ready when Germany surrendered.

They could have just blockaded the country and driven it into surrender.

That would have taken lots of time. Thousands of people in Japanese-occupied areas were dying violent deaths every day in the summer of 1945. The world looked to the US to end the war quickly and preserve the enormous and constant loss of life the Japanese were inflicting. 

Why did America and its allies even invade Japan? 

They didn't invade mainland Japan. They didnt need to. The US aerial bombings were utmost in Emperor Hirohito’s mind when deciding to agree to unconditional surrender, according to what he told his grand chamberlain Fujita in 1946. 

Next?

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

WW1 was different. No bombing or destruction at all of Germany cities. A few years later, the Germans were ready and keen to start another war, the most devastating in human history. After WW2, they and their Japanese colleagues had finally learned their lessons, and the value of peace.

You don't have to firebomb and drop atomic bombs on civilians to teach any country the value of peace.

Why did America and its allies even invade Japan? They could have just blockaded the country and driven it into surrender. Japan is an island. I suggest the Americans were worried if it didn't invade Japan then the Soviet Union would. The atomic bombings were dropped to show the horror to the Soviet Union.

Europe was different. Landlocked countries had to be invaded to put the Nazis down. Why no atomic bombings in Germany which had terminated more than 10 million in death camps?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The point here seems to be lost that it was in large part due to the Japanese government that: a) they were not prepared to give up to spare civilian lives; b) they were happy to keep on expending Japanese lives in a futile campaign and c) it was lunacy of the highest order to attack the US in the first place, a country of at least 25 times the productive capacity at the time. The Japanese people should be looking at their own leaders and wondering if some of this indifference to them and their suffering has carried on.

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

Japan was wrong to brutally invade China and all the other Asian countries.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It was one of the biggest war crimes in history, this time by good old US..

Japan paid for its crime..

US is paying it now and in comfortable fees..

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

America pushed Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor

The invader is always the aggressor, at fault. There is no such thing as an aggressor that is the victim. That is why Japan was wrong in attacking pearl Harbor, America was wrong in invading Iraq, and Russia is wrong in invading Ukraine. None of these were justified. Once you attack, you are not the victim.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

America pushed Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor and we knew they were coming but let it happen to have a reason to enter the war. The conspiracies of Sept. 11 are 100% true, too, but I digress. The point is that to a large degree it is about making money and then changing the conquered countries to be subservient to the victor for decades if not centuries to come.

Again, investors/owners of arms manufacturers make mega money by going to war through these "Days of Infamy" allude to above. I think it is important to remember the horrors of World War II and the holocaust of innocent people who died in the bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki so that we can remember the tragedies of war as the rich and protagonist of war profit. Pick a side.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Germany was already at the point of collapse before the Dresden firebombing.

Just like Japan was at the point of collapse before the atomic bombings.

There can never be any justification for firebombing civilians, men, women, and children.

https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/article/the-bombing-of-dresden-was-the-attack-fully-justified/

2 ( +8 / -6 )

The US firebombed Japanese cities. The UK/Us fired bombed Dresden. Both are war crimes or at least a crime against humanity. A charge was made against some of the Japanese war leaders.

The firebombing of the Japanese cities killed more than 250,000 civilians.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Mess with the bull, you get the horns.

-18 ( +5 / -23 )

The US/UK firebombing of Dresden when Germany was at the point of collapse.

Nazi Germany collapsed when it, two months later, because of the bombings of Dresden and other large targets, as the aerial bombing campaign drained Germany's military's resources like fighter aircraft and its industrial ability to wage war. The Luftwaffe was absent at D-Day because their fighters were all committed to dealing with the Allied bombing campaign.

By the time the Allied soldiers arrived deep in Germany, the vast majority of Germans in their flattened cities were willing and happy to give up the war they started.

WW1 was different. No bombing or destruction at all of Germany cities. A few years later, the Germans were ready and keen to start another war, the most devastating in human history. After WW2, they and their Japanese colleagues had finally learned their lessons, and the value of peace.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

The scale of the civilian loss was massive

more golden nuggets of information previously unexplained by the story or history books.

keep 'em coming, wallace!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Why the focus on the Japanese government? Sure they commited a number of atrocities, but that's another discussion.

This specific event was a war crime commited by the US and the Allies, simple as that.

There are no good or bad sides in war in the sense that it brings out the worst in all, and sooner or later everyone commits atrocities, albeight to varying degree.

One could rightfully argue that the Japanese government did far worse things than the Allies all in all, but that is not the topic discussed here.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

The firebombing of Dresden was just as bad as Tokyo. But all the major Japanese cities except Kyoto were fired bombed. The scale of the civilian loss was massive.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I'm surprised General Curtis E. LeMay hasn't been mentioned yet. He was the architect behind the fire bombings. In fact, he was even quoted as saying "If we lose the war, we'll be tried as war criminals."

LeMay also said, “You’ve got to kill people,” “and when you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”

Interesting article here...https://www.historynet.com/firebombing-tokyo-curtis-lemay/

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The US/UK firebombing of Dresden when Germany was at the point of collapse.

leave it to wallace to leave us stunned with the most pertinent point yet about the Tokyo firebombings.

Brilliant stuff, sir.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

LeMay boasted to the crews that they had killed more people in less time than any time in history.

As brutal a man as he was, he certainly didn't "boast" about the deaths. He saw the bombings as a job to be done. A necessity to win the war and knew all to well what his fate would be had the US lost the war;

“If we lose,” the general confided in an aide, “we’ll be tried as war criminals.” 

https://www.historynet.com/firebombing-tokyo-curtis-lemay/

If you want to go back 80 years and judge those for the decisions they made, don't forget Time magazine, who wrote after news of the bombings broke;

"A dream come true, Properly kindled, Japanese cities will burn like autumn leaves.”

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

The US didn't "target" civilians. It targeted major cities, because that's where most of Japan's industrial and military facilities were located. Not a lot of zoning in Japan back then.

I remember reading that US aerial reconnaissance people interpreted the chimneys of the then ubiquitous public baths as small manufacturers who supplied industrial-scale assembly plants. If one wasn’t aware of how common baths were, that might have been a reasonable interpretation.

Unfortunate, but that’s the way it was.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

During the Meiji Restoration, Japan noticed how the western countries invaded SE Asia and the Far East. The leaders made the mistake of following the west in invading other countries. The U.S. economic warfare provoked Japan into Pearl Harbor and the rest is history. Similar to the west, Japan committed atrocities in Asia. South Korea committed atrocities in Vietnam (I have many Vietnamese friends who will never forget). China is engaging in genocide against non-Han individuals. The U.S. is continuing to engage in discriminatory actions against dark-skinned people. Japan has the right to honor those who were slaughtered by U.S. forces. My mother, as a young child, saw a brave U.S. fighter jet sweep down and shoot an old man walking with a cane. Japan is committed not to make the same mistakes. Other countries, such as a western country, continue the same behavior against non-western countries.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Ossan

...so that bombing civilians was the only thing left to do

The US didn't "target" civilians. It targeted major cities, because that's where most of Japan's industrial and military facilities were located. Not a lot of zoning in Japan back then. As noted above, the US air forced dropped millions and millions of leaflets in advance telling civilians to get out the targeted cities.

Further, Japan would have never surrendered if its cities were left intact.

-10 ( +13 / -23 )

Robert McNamara talks about it in "The Fog of War". Basically bombing was wildly inaccurate, all the stuff about "precision bombing" was lies and the crews couldn't hit a barn door. The switch to firebombing was made because crews had given up on hitting specific targets. Some were jettisoning their bombs before even reaching Japan.

There may be a reason for it but the firebombing of Japan does not get referred to as "napalm". The use of napalm (and "agent orange") is seen as a crime in Indochina (i.e., Vietnam and its neighbours), but the same material was dropped on Japanese (and German) cities, far more densely occupied areas.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

This was a devastating attack on Tokyo. However, it was not a secret and they knew it was coming. Most of the homes were wooden which increased the devastation.

But! Let’s keep this in perspective. The Japanese army slaughtered as many as 250,000 people in Hanjing China. Add to this the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Korea, Singapore and the Philippines. Japan seems to play the victim card over WW2 very often. They were the aggressors and copped a flogging for it.

-13 ( +20 / -33 )

The US/UK firebombing of Dresden when Germany was at the point of collapse.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

There would have been no Paper City if there had not been Pearl Harbor.

-17 ( +18 / -35 )

MoonrakerToday  07:49 am JST

By the time the US had air superiority the writing was on the wall for Japan. But, in trying to save their own skins and delay the day of reckoning, the Japanese government was quite happy to keep sacrificing ordinary Japanese.

That is true, but only half the story. The other half is the fact that not only did we have total air superiority over the whole country, but the US had already destroyed all the war related infrastructure so that bombing civilians was the only thing left to do. General Curtis LeMay himself, who ran these bombings stated that had we lost the war, he would probably have been tried as a war criminal, LeMay had done this in Germany before taking charge of Japan.

Since WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam, the US has moved completely away from deliberately targeting civilians. Which is part of why the whole world is watching in horror as Russia continues to bomb hospitals, schools and residential buildigs in Ukraine today.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Most people don’t understand the brutality of the firebombing. Crews wore oxygen masks at low altitude because the air was full of mist from blood and bodily fluids. Crews intentionally bombed escape routes so civilians couldn’t get to rivers and would be incinerated.

LeMay boasted to the crews that they had killed more people in less time than any time in history.

LeMay proposed that the next 50 bombs be used in a sneak attack on 50 Soviet cities.

Facts.

Thankfully, Truman thought he was nuts

13 ( +19 / -6 )

My father in law was about 10 years old when the fire bombing of Tokyo burnt their home down and the family lost everything except the clothes on their backs. Went out into the countryside to find shelter. Even though his family lost everything they never showed any anger towards me, an American.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

The real problem is here and now, that nothing at all has been learned from that era.

Exactly, instead now we have Japan doubling its military budget and the daily let's stir up hate against China and anyone who doesn't go along with us.

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

The real problem is here and now, that nothing at all has been learned from that era. Still wars around and the highest arsenal of atomic weapons and in more and more countries available or wished for. I very much doubt that such news or a movie or book etc can ever change it for better. The human brains are erroneous and incomplete, intentionally fighting own kind to extinction, that’s the problem behind such individual stories.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Looking forward to watching it.

Well done Adrian.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Fat boy and Little man were just an warning to Japan,the US has 12 more bombs to drop on Japan

A third bomb could have been delivered to Tinian during the third week of August and more were being constructed at a faster rate, but there were NOT 12 bombs available at the time of Japan’s surrender.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Fire bombing is a war crime.

16 ( +30 / -14 )

The untold story of the firebombing of Tokyo in World War II

JT, how is the Tokyo firebombing - covered extensively in countless history books over many years - "untold"?

It's told. Anyone with an inquiring mind has all the information and personal accounts at his or her fingertips.

Here, I just Googled it now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_ofTokyo(10_March_1945)

Wheres the secrecy?

10 ( +20 / -10 )

And yet for Kiyooka, Hoshino, Tsukiyama and their fellow survivors and campaigners, there is nothing of the kind — or scale — to commemorate the firebombing of Tokyo.

There is the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage, located in Koto-ku, Tokyo.

It is not very English-friendly, and from my understanding doesn’t receive government support, but Malcolm Gladwell visited when researching his book/podcast “The Bomber Mafia,” which was about the Tokyo fire bombing.

Center website (English): https://tokyo-sensai.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/c2a21c81dcf8fcb9cf071d043d215469.pdf

(Japanese): https://tokyo-sensai.net/

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Looks like some people don't want to hear it, JeffLee. They want to believe the government does and always did have their interests at heart. But, the wartime government, I believe, did not even really provide air-raid shelters for the people. People were expected to stay put in their houses with buckets of water.

-6 ( +15 / -21 )

I have visited the Tokyo Memorial Hall mentioned in the article which specifically commemorates this event and the 1923 earthquake. There are lots of photos and artefacts on display and it is a very moving experience to visit. I don't quite follow the argument in favour of another specific memorial

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The real question is who started this war? Who bombed Hawaii? What are their stories?

Why does Japan always play the victim?

-11 ( +24 / -35 )

The US air force routinely dropped leaflets - over 100 million - telling Japanese civilians to get out of the cities and listing future target cities. But the Japanese authorities issued harsh penalties for those caught reading them and so the vast majority of civilians stayed put.

To quote:

Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods." 

This fact needs to be integral to any "untold story" of the aerial bombings in Japan, and the govt's and military's responsibility and role in sacrificing the civilian population.

-5 ( +24 / -29 )

Fat boy and Little man were just an warning to Japan,the US has 12 more bombs to drop on Japan

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

By the time the US had air superiority the writing was on the wall for Japan. But, in trying to save their own skins and delay the day of reckoning, the Japanese government was quite happy to keep sacrificing ordinary Japanese.

-15 ( +22 / -37 )

What’s more, they are seeking compensation from the government of Japan for the many civilian casualties of the raid, something that families of Japanese soldiers who perished in the war have received, the campaigners note.

Why is it that there is always a money element to stories like this?

How about the Japanese government paying compensation to the families here in Okinawa who were killed because of the war? Folks get money for having their land used, but what about the more than 100,000 civilians who died, did their families get compensation? How about compensation for the other civilians who died during other bombings during the war? Where is their money?

I am sure the documentary is a moving story of the lives of these people, and yet I get a bad taste in my mouth that they are just seeking "compensation" ($$$$$) for what they went through.

The story alone should stand as one of the historical facts of the horrors of war.

7 ( +19 / -12 )

And yet for Kiyooka, Hoshino, Tsukiyama and their fellow survivors and campaigners, there is nothing of the kind — or scale — to commemorate the firebombing of Tokyo.

And odds are there never will be one. To put up a memorial would mean having to look in the mirror and admit that the Japanese government at the time, bore responsibility for the war in the first place.

The other memorial is for a natural disaster, not a man-made one!

-7 ( +18 / -25 )

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