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Anniversaries of the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs and the End of World War II


Doves are released each year in Hiroshima to symbolize people's wish for peace. (Kyodo)

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, one U.S. B-29 bomber aircraft appeared in the sky above Hiroshima City dropped a small parachute. Attached to this was the atomic bomb that took the lives of over about 140,000 residents. More than 90% of the city was damaged by the blast; around the epicenter, nearly all of the people died instantly, and most of the buildings were destroyed without a trace.

Three days later, at 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki City, located at the northwestern tip of Kyushu. This time, the bomb left one third of the city in ashes. So far, 73,884 people have died from the effect of the bomb.

Today, the epicenters of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts have been turned into Peace Memorial Parks. Each year on August 6 and 9, respectively, a ceremony is held at each park to remember the victims of the atomic bombs and to pray for eternal peace. Not only the residents of the two cities, but many Japanese, as citizens of the only nation the atomic bomb was dropped, prays for a world free of war and nuclear weapons.

World War II ended only days after the bombs were dropped, on August 15, 1945; Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration by the Allied Powers, thereby surrendering unconditionally. It was in 1931 that Japan began fighting in China, and 1941 that it made a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

August 15 is now a day for remembering those who died in the war, and ceremonies are held throughout Japan. War not only takes the lives of countless people, but also affects everyone in the countries involved, making them unhappy. Therefore, the anniversary of the end of World War II is also a day for those who experienced the war to tell future generations about their tragic memories, and for everyone to renew the determination never again to repeat such foolishness.