Hiroshima before the bomb: Pre-WWII footage released

  • The bombs obliterated both cities (Hiroshima, Nagasaki), killing between 129,000 and 246,000 people.
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HIROSHIMA – Newly-digitized footage of Hiroshima about 10 years before it was destroyed by a US atomic bomb in August 1945 is now available. The footage is released by the city’s Peace Memorial Museum.


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Hiroshima was the first city to be targeted with nuclear weapons when US forces dropped its newly developed atomic bomb at the close of World War II. Three days later the United States dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki.

Restored from 16mm film, the three-minute black and white footage shows the city center circa 1935. Cherry blossom trees billow in the wind, boats float atop the water and one man smokes a cigarette while fishing.

People bustle through the streets dressed in fine kimono while cars and trams move past. The fascinating footage, originally shot by late Hiroshima resident Genjiro Kawasaki, is a glimpse of life in pre-war Japan.

The museum, founded in 1955, spent about 900,000 Yen (US$7944) restoring the film, according to the Japan Times.

A worker stands next to an atomic bomb, nicknamed ‘Fat Man.’

The bombs obliterated both cities, killing between 129,000 and 246,000. Tens of thousands of civilians were vaporized by the blast while those who remained died a slow and agonizing death from exposure to radiation. It remains the only example nuclear warfare in history.

Now, a month before the 72nd anniversary of the first bomb, newly-restored footage shows life in the city of Hiroshima before the devastating attack.