Japanese students use VR to recreate Hiroshima bombing

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Japanese high school students have produced a virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb attack 


Japanese high school students have produced a virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb attack.

The five-minute clip captures the moments immediately before, during and after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago, killing 140,000 people.

By transporting users back in time to the moment when a city was turned into a wasteland, the students and their teacher hope to ensure that something similar never happens again. 

‘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.’

The August 6 1945 bombing of Hiroshima marked the first time a nuclear weapon was used on civilians.

Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki.

Japan surrendered six days after that, ending the Second World War.

Wearing virtual reality headsets, users can take a walk along the Motoyasu River prior to the blast and see the businesses and buildings that once stood.

Japanese high school students have produced a virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb attack 

Japanese high school students have produced a virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb attack 

The five-minute clip captures the moments immediately before, during and after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago, killing 140,000 people. This  image from the simulation  shows a view from the bridge over the Motoyasu River before the bomb fell

The five-minute clip captures the moments immediately before, during and after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago, killing 140,000 people. This  image from the simulation  shows a view from the bridge over the Motoyasu River before the bomb fell

The five-minute clip captures the moments immediately before, during and after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago, killing 140,000 people. This image from the simulation shows a view from the bridge over the Motoyasu River before the bomb fell

This computer graphic image from the newly developed VR experience  shows a burning building just after an atomic bomb fell in Hiroshima, western Japan

This computer graphic image from the newly developed VR experience  shows a burning building just after an atomic bomb fell in Hiroshima, western Japan

This computer graphic image from the newly developed VR experience  shows a burning building just after an atomic bomb fell in Hiroshima, western Japan

They can enter the post office and the Shima Hospital courtyard, where the skeletal remains of a building now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome stand on the river’s banks, a testament to what happened.

The students, who belong to the computation skill research club at Fukuyama Technical High School, were born more than half a century after the bombing.

Yuhi Nakagawa, 18, said he initially did not have much interest in what happened when the bombs were dropped; if anything, it was a topic he had avoided.

By transporting users back in time to the moment when a city was turned into a wasteland, the students and their teacher hope to ensure that something similar never happens again 

By transporting users back in time to the moment when a city was turned into a wasteland, the students and their teacher hope to ensure that something similar never happens again 

By transporting users back in time to the moment when a city was turned into a wasteland, the students and their teacher hope to ensure that something similar never happens again 

Wearing virtual reality headsets, users can take a walk along the Motoyasu River prior to the blast and see the businesses and buildings that once stood 

Wearing virtual reality headsets, users can take a walk along the Motoyasu River prior to the blast and see the businesses and buildings that once stood 

Wearing virtual reality headsets, users can take a walk along the Motoyasu River prior to the blast and see the businesses and buildings that once stood 

A member of the computation skill research club at Fukuyama Technical High School looks at an archive material of Hiroshima city to edit buildings on computer graphic software, at the school in Hiroshima, western Japan

A member of the computation skill research club at Fukuyama Technical High School looks at an archive material of Hiroshima city to edit buildings on computer graphic software, at the school in Hiroshima, western Japan

A member of the computation skill research club at Fukuyama Technical High School looks at an archive material of Hiroshima city to edit buildings on computer graphic software, at the school in Hiroshima, western Japan

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI?

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by an American B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay.

The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, Japan is shown

The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, Japan is shown

The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, Japan is shown

The 9,000lb uranium-235 bomb exploded 1,900 feet (580 metres) above the ground, killing between 60,000 and 80,000 people instantly, some vanishing instantly from the heat of the vast explosion.

Others died as fire ripped through the city and some 135,000 people in total are thought to have perished from radiation sickness.

The blast flattened more than six square miles (10 square km) of the city, with fires burning for three days, leaving thousands of survivors burnt and homeless.

With major buildings like hospitals destroyed and more than 90 per cent of the city’s doctors and nurses killed in the blast, there was little help available to the injured.

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by an American B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay. Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by an American B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay. Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by an American B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay. Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki

Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki.

Japan surrendered six days after that, ending the Second World War.

Ten years later, the longer-term effects of the bombs were being noticed, including a rise in leukaemia – a blood cancer not included in the study.

The cancer was said to disproportionately affect children, with cases appearing two years after the bomb and peaking four to six years later, The IBT reported.

The Radiation Effects Research Foundation estimates 46 per cent of leukaemia deaths at the bomb sites from 1950 to 2000 were due to radiation from the bombs, with 1,900 cancer deaths linked to the atomic bomb, in total. 

‘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,’ he said.

‘So while creating this scenery, I felt it was really important to share this with others.’

To recreate Hiroshima, the students studied old photographs and postcards and interviewed survivors of the bombing to hear their experiences and get their feedback on the VR footage.

To recreate Hiroshima, the students studied old photographs and postcards and interviewed survivors of the bombing to hear their experiences and get their feedback on the VR footage 

To recreate Hiroshima, the students studied old photographs and postcards and interviewed survivors of the bombing to hear their experiences and get their feedback on the VR footage 

To recreate Hiroshima, the students studied old photographs and postcards and interviewed survivors of the bombing to hear their experiences and get their feedback on the VR footage 

They used computer graphics software to add further details such as lighting and the natural wear and tear on building surfaces 

They used computer graphics software to add further details such as lighting and the natural wear and tear on building surfaces 

They used computer graphics software to add further details such as lighting and the natural wear and tear on building surfaces 

They used computer graphics software to add further details such as lighting and the natural wear and tear on building surfaces.

‘Those who knew the city very well tell us it’s done very well. They say it’s very nostalgic,’ said Katsushi Hasegawa, a computer teacher who supervises the club.

‘Sometimes they start to reminisce about their memories from that time, and it really makes me glad that we created this.’ 

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