The Bombing of Tokyo (東京大空襲 Tōkyōdaikūshū) was a series of firebombing air raids by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II. Operation Meetinghouse, which was conducted on the night of 9–10 March 1945, is regarded as the single most destructive bombing raid in human history. 16 square miles (41 km2) of central Tokyo were destroyed, leaving an estimated 100,000 civilians dead and over 1 million homeless.
The US first mounted a seaborne, small-scale air raid on Tokyo in April 1942. Strategic bombing and urban area bombing began in 1944 after the long-range B-29 Superfortress bomber entered service, first deployed from China and thereafter the Mariana Islands. B-29 raids from those islands began on 17 November 1944, and lasted until 15 August 1945, the day of Japanese surrender.
Over 50% of Tokyo's industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods; firebombing cut the whole city's output in half.
|Bombing of Tokyo|
|Part of the Pacific War|
Tokyo burns under B-29 firebomb assault, 26 May 1945
The first raid on Tokyo was the Doolittle Raid of 18 April 1942, when sixteen B-25 Mitchells were launched from USS Hornet to attack targets including Yokohama and Tokyo and then fly on to airfields in China. The raid was retaliation against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid did little damage to Japan's war capability but was a significant propaganda victory for the United States. Launched at longer range than planned when the task force encountered a Japanese picket boat, all of the attacking aircraft either crashed or ditched short of the airfields designated for landing. One aircraft landed in the neutral Soviet Union where the crew was interned, but then smuggled over the border into Iran on 11 May 1943. Two crews were captured by the Japanese in occupied China. Three crewmen from these groups were later executed.
The key development for the bombing of Japan was the B-29 Superfortress strategic bomber, which had an operational range of 3,250 nautical miles (3,740 mi; 6,020 km) and was capable of attacking at high altitude above 30,000 feet (9,100 m), where enemy defenses were very weak. Almost 90% of the bombs dropped on the home islands of Japan were delivered by this type of bomber. Once Allied ground forces had captured islands sufficiently close to Japan, airfields were built on those islands (particularly Saipan and Tinian) and B-29s could reach Japan for bombing missions.
The initial raids were carried out by the Twentieth Air Force operating out of mainland China in Operation Matterhorn under XX Bomber Command, but these could not reach Tokyo. Operations from the Northern Mariana Islands commenced in November 1944 after the XXI Bomber Command was activated there.
The high altitude bombing attacks using general purpose bombs were observed to be ineffective by USAAF leaders due to high winds—later discovered to be the jet stream—which carried the bombs off target.
Between May and September 1943, bombing trials were conducted on the Japanese Village set-piece target, located at the Dugway Proving Grounds. These trials demonstrated the effectiveness of incendiary bombs against wood-and-paper buildings, and resulted in Curtis LeMay ordering the bombers to change tactics to utilize these munitions against Japan.
The first such raid was against Kobe on 4 February 1945. Tokyo was hit by incendiaries on 25 February 1945 when 174 B-29s flew a high altitude raid during daylight hours and destroyed around 643 acres (260 ha) (2.6 km2) of the snow-covered city, using 453.7 tons of mostly incendiaries with some fragmentation bombs. After this raid, LeMay ordered the B-29 bombers to attack again but at a relatively low altitude of 5,000 to 9,000 ft (1,500 to 2,700 m) and at night, because Japan's anti-aircraft artillery defenses were weakest in this altitude range, and the fighter defenses were ineffective at night. LeMay ordered all defensive guns but the tail gun removed from the B-29s so that the aircraft would be lighter and use less fuel.
On the night of 9–10 March, 1945, 334 B-29s took off to raid with 279 of them dropping 1,665 tons of bombs on Tokyo. The bombs were mostly the 500-pound (230 kg) E-46 cluster bomb which released 38 napalm-carrying M-69 incendiary bomblets at an altitude of 2,000–2,500 ft (610–760 m). The M-69s punched through thin roofing material or landed on the ground; in either case they ignited 3–5 seconds later, throwing out a jet of flaming napalm globs. A lesser number of M-47 incendiaries was also dropped: the M-47 was a 100-pound (45 kg) jelled-gasoline and white phosphorus bomb which ignited upon impact. In the first two hours of the raid, 226 of the attacking aircraft unloaded their bombs to overwhelm the city's fire defenses. The first B-29s to arrive dropped bombs in a large X pattern centered in Tokyo's densely populated working class district near the docks in both Koto and Chūō city wards on the water; later aircraft simply aimed near this flaming X. The individual fires caused by the bombs joined to create a general conflagration, which would have been classified as a firestorm but for prevailing winds gusting at 17 to 28 mph (27 to 45 km/h). Approximately 15.8 square miles (4,090 ha) of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died. A grand total of 282 of the 339 B-29s launched for "Meetinghouse" made it to the target, 27 of which were lost due to being shot down by Japanese air defenses, mechanical failure, or being caught in updrafts caused by the massive fires.
Damage to Tokyo's heavy industry was slight until firebombing destroyed much of the light industry that was used as an integral source for small machine parts and time-intensive processes. Firebombing also killed or made homeless many workers who had taken part in the war industry. Over 50% of Tokyo's industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods; firebombing cut the whole city's output in half. The destruction and damage was especially severe in the eastern areas of the city.
The US Strategic Bombing Survey later estimated that nearly 88,000 people died in this one raid, 41,000 were injured, and over a million residents lost their homes. The Tokyo Fire Department estimated a higher toll: 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department established a figure of 83,793 dead and 40,918 wounded and 286,358 buildings and homes destroyed. Historian Richard Rhodes put deaths at over 100,000, injuries at a million and homeless residents at a million. These casualty and damage figures could be low; Mark Selden wrote in Japan Focus:
The figure of roughly 100,000 deaths, provided by Japanese and American authorities, both of whom may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll, seems to be arguably low in light of population density, wind conditions, and survivors' accounts. With an average of 103,000 inhabitants per square mile (396 people per hectare) and peak levels as high as 135,000 per square mile (521 people per hectare), the highest density of any industrial city in the world, and with firefighting measures ludicrously inadequate to the task, 15.8 square miles (41 km2) of Tokyo were destroyed on a night when fierce winds whipped the flames and walls of fire blocked tens of thousands fleeing for their lives. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in the burned out areas.
In his 1968 book, reprinted in 1990, historian Gabriel Kolko cited a figure of 125,000 deaths. Elise K. Tipton, professor of Japan studies, arrived at a rough range of 75,000 to 200,000 deaths. Donald L. Miller, citing Knox Burger, stated that there were "at least 100,000" Japanese deaths and "about one million" injured.
The Operation Meetinghouse firebombing of Tokyo on the night of 9 March 1945 was the single deadliest air raid of World War II, greater than Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima, or Nagasaki as single events.
After the war, Tokyo struggled to rebuild. In 1945 and 1946, the city received a share of the national reconstruction budget roughly proportional to its amount of bombing damage (26.6%), but in successive years Tokyo saw its share dwindle. By 1949, Tokyo was given only 10.9% of the budget; at the same time there was runaway inflation devaluing the money. Occupation authorities such as Joseph Dodge stepped in and drastically cut back on Japanese government rebuilding programs, focusing instead on simply improving roads and transportation. Tokyo did not experience fast economic growth until the 1950s.
After the war, Japanese author Katsumoto Saotome, a survivor of the 10 March 1945 firebombing, helped start a library about the raid in Koto Ward called the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage. The library contains documents and literature about the raid plus survivor accounts collected by Saotome and the Association to Record the Tokyo Air Raid.
In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe apologized in print, acknowledging Japan's guilt in the bombing of Chinese cities and civilians beginning in 1938. He wrote that the Japanese government should have surrendered as soon as losing the war was inevitable, an action that would have prevented Tokyo from being firebombed in March 1945, as well as subsequent bombings of other cities. In 2013, during his second term as prime minister, Abe's cabinet stated that the raids were "incompatible with humanitarianism, which is one of the foundations of international law", but also noted that it is difficult to argue that the raids were illegal under the international laws of the time.
In 2007, 112 members of the Association for the Bereaved Families of the Victims of the Tokyo Air Raids brought a class action against the Japanese government, demanding an apology and 1.232 billion yen in compensation. Their suit charged that the Japanese government invited the raid by failing to end the war earlier, and then failed to help the civilian victims of the raids while providing considerable support to former military personnel and their families. The plaintiffs' case was dismissed at the first judgement in December 2009, and their appeal was rejected. The plaintiffs then appealed to the Supreme Court, which rejected their case in May 2013.
1945: In the single deadliest air raid of World War II, 330 American B-29s rain incendiary bombs on Tokyo, touching off a firestorm that kills upwards of 100,000 people, burns a quarter of the city to the ground, and leaves a million homeless.
Events in the year 1945 in Japan.
1945 was the last year of World War II and the first year of the Allied occupation.Area bombardment
In military aviation, area bombardment (or area bombing) is a type of aerial bombardment that is targeted indiscriminately at a large area, such as a city block or an entire city. The term "area bombing" came into prominence during World War II.Area bombing is a form of strategic bombing. It can serve several intertwined purposes: to disrupt the production of military materiel, to disrupt lines of communications, to divert the enemy's industrial and military resources from the primary battlefield to air defence and infrastructure repair, and to demoralise the enemy's population (See terror bombing)."Carpet bombing", also known as "saturation bombing", and "obliteration bombing", refers to a type of area bombing that aims to effect complete destruction of the target area by exploding bombs in every part of it.
Area bombing is contrasted with precision bombing. The latter is directed at a selected target – not necessarily a small, and not necessarily a tactical target, as it could be an airfield or a factory – and it does not intend to inflict a widespread damage.Bombing of Tokyo (10 March 1945)
On the night of 9/10 March 1945 the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) conducted a devastating firebombing raid on Tokyo, the Japanese capital city. This attack was code-named Operation Meetinghouse by the USAAF and is known as the Great Tokyo Air Raid in Japan. During the raid, bombs dropped from 279 Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers burned out much of eastern Tokyo. More than 88,000 and possibly over 100,000 Japanese, mostly civilians, were killed and one million left homeless, making it the single most destructive air attack of World War II. The Japanese air and civil defenses proved inadequate, and only 14 American aircraft and 96 airmen were lost.
The attack on Tokyo was an intensification of the air raids on Japan which had commenced in June 1944. Prior to this operation, the USAAF had focused on a precision bombing campaign against Japanese industrial facilities. These attacks were generally unsuccessful, which contributed to the decision to shift to firebombing. The operation during the early hours of 10 March was the first major firebombing raid against a Japanese city, and the USAAF units employed significantly different tactics than those used in precision raids including bombing by night. The extensive destruction caused by the raid led these tactics to become standard for the USAAF's B-29s until the end of the war.Buaisō
Buaisō (武相荘) is the former home of post-war Japanese bureaucrat Jirō Shirasu and his wife Masako Shirasu, located in Machida, Tokyo, to the west of downtown Tokyo. The name was derived from an amalgamation of kanji for the former provinces of Musashi and Sagami, as its location is near the border between the two provinces.
The house was a traditional farm house, located in what was then a rural area of Minamitama District, Tokyo. It was acquired by the Shirasu family in October 1942 while Jirō Shirasu was still a businessman working for the predecessor of Nichirei Corporation. Predicting that his residence in Shinjuku in downtown Tokyo would be endangered due to the worsening war situation in World War II and to avoid possible food shortages. His foresight paid off when his Shinjuku house was destroyed in the 1945 bombing of Tokyo. In the post-war era, he continued to use the house while working with Prime Minister of Japan Shigeru Yoshida in negotiations with the American occupation authorities.
Jirō Shirasu died in 1985 and his wife in 1998. The house was preserved by the city of Machida as a memorial museum to the couple, and is kept as it appeared when they lived there, with items varying according to the seasons.
The house is a wooden structure constructed in the traditional style with a thatched roof, surrounded by Japanese gardens.Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage
The Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage (東京大空襲・戦災資料センター, Tōkyō Daikūshū Sensai Shiryō Sentā) is a museum in Tokyo, Japan that presents information and artifacts related to the bombing of Tokyo during World War II. The museum opened in 2002 and was renovated in 2005, the 60th anniversary of the bombings. In 2012, the Center presented an exhibition of 700 previously unseen photos from the bombing.Firebombing
Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs.
In popular usage, any act in which an incendiary device is used to initiate a fire is often described as a "firebombing". This article is concerned with aerial incendiary bombing as a military tactic; for non-military (almost always criminal) acts, see arson.
Although simple incendiary bombs have been used to destroy buildings since the start of gunpowder warfare, World War I saw the first use of strategic bombing from the air to damage the morale and economy of the enemy, such as the German Zeppelin air raids conducted on London during the Great War. The Chinese wartime capital of Chongqing was firebombed by the Imperial Japanese starting in early 1939. London, Coventry, and many other British cities were firebombed during the Blitz by Nazi Germany. Most large German cities were extensively firebombed starting in 1942, and almost all large Japanese cities were firebombed during the last six months of World War II.
This technique makes use of small incendiary bombs (possibly delivered by a cluster bomb such as the Molotov bread basket). If a fire catches, it could spread, taking in adjacent buildings that would have been largely unaffected by a high explosive bomb. This is a more effective use of the payload that a bomber could carry.
The use of incendiaries alone does not generally start uncontrollable fires where the targets are roofed with nonflammable materials such as tiles or slates. The use of a mixture of bombers carrying high explosive bombs, such as the British blockbuster bombs, which blew out windows and roofs and exposed the interior of buildings to the incendiary bombs, are much more effective. Alternatively, a preliminary bombing with conventional bombs can be followed by subsequent attacks by incendiary carrying bombers.Hugh McFadden (poet)
Hugh McFadden is an Irish poet, literary editor, lecturer and freelance journalist.Index of Japan-related articles (B)
This page lists Japan-related articles with romanized titles beginning with the letter B. For names of people, please list by surname (i.e., "Tarō Yamada" should be listed under "Y", not "T"). Please also ignore particles (e.g. "a", "an", "the") when listing articles (i.e., "A City with No People" should be listed under "City").Kabukichō, Tokyo
Kabukichō (歌舞伎町) is an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Kabukichō is the location of many host and hostess clubs, love hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs, and is often called the "Sleepless Town" (眠らない街). The district's name comes from late-1940s plans to build a kabuki theater; although the theater was never built, the name stuck.
The area has many movie theaters, and is located near Shinjuku Station, Seibu Shinjuku Station, and several other major railway and subway stations.Kiyoshi Nishiyama
Kiyoshi Nishiyama (西山 清, Nishiyama Kiyoshi, 1893–1983) was a versatile Japanese amateur photographer who specialized in landscapes.Born in Tokyo in 1893 as Kiyonosuke Nishiyama (西山清之助), Nishiyama became interested in photography at 15. He intended to become a professional photographer and learned retouching in a photographic studio at Ryōgoku, but never turned professional, instead in 1921 setting up a photographic supplies shop, Heiwadō (平和堂), in Nihonbashi, and at about the same time starting up and leading a photographic club, the Pleasant Club (プレザントクラブ, Purezanto Kurabu), and submitting his photographs to photographic magazines.In 1922 Nishiyama won the first prize for his submission, taken with a Vest Pocket Kodak, to a competition at the Heiwa Kinen Tōkyō Hakurankai (平和記念東京博覧会). A year later he lost all his photographs and cameras in the Great Kantō earthquake, but persevered and held the first exhibition of the Pleasant Club in 1924. Nishiyama was impressed by the "light and its harmony" aesthetic of Shinzō Fukuhara, who invited him to join the Japan Photographic Society; Nishiyama soon thereafter had a solo exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery.From 1925 Nishiyama began the first of several series of photographs in Photo Times (フォトタイムス, Foto Taimusu) magazine; these were on a variety of subjects but most notable was Nishiyama's portrayal of the cityscape of Tokyo after the earthquake. From 1928 Shirai used a Rolleiflex camera, and turned this to photographing Nikkō and bunraku (the subjects of solo exhibitions); he later added a Leica, but from 1959 changed to a Nikon F that he always used with a 50 mm lens. Virtually all of Nishiyama's prewar work was destroyed in the bombing of Tokyo.Nishiyama continued to exhibit and publish after the war. In 1954 he won the PSJ award, and in 1977 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, 5th class, for his services to photography. He died on 5 March 1983. Nishiyama's work is held in the permanent collections of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and Nihon University (which preserves what little remains of Nishiyama's prewar work).Kōenji Station
Kōenji Station (高円寺駅, Kōenji-eki) is a railway station on the Chūō Main Line in the Kōenji neighborhood in Suginami, Tokyo. The station, on a four-track section, is served by local and rapid services (not including special rapid services and other fast trains) of the Chūō Main Line on weekdays. On weekends, only local trains make stops at this station.
The station uses a special train departure melody during the Koenji Awa Odori festival held in late August.
It is within walking distance of Shin-Kōenji Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.List of battles by casualties
The following is a list of the casualties count in battles in world history. The list includes both sieges (not technically battles but usually yielding similar combat-related deaths) and civilian casualties during the battles. Large battle casualty counts are almost impossible to calculate precisely. Many of these figures are estimates, and, where possible, a range of estimates is presented. Figures display numbers of all types of casualties when available (killed, wounded, missing, and sick) but may only include number killed. Where possible, the list specifies whether or not prisoners are included in the count. This list does not include bombing runs (such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Tokyo) or massacres such as the Rape of Nanking, which, despite potentially massive casualties, are not typically classified as "battles", since they are usually one-sided engagements or the nation attacked upon is not officially at war with the attackers. Tactical or strategic strikes, however, may form part of larger engagements which are themselves battles.Natural disasters in Japan
Japan is one of the countries most affected by natural disasters. Two out of the five most expensive natural disasters in recent history have occurred in Japan, costing $181 billion in the years 2011 and 1995 only. Japan has also been the site of some of the 10 worst natural disasters of the 21st century. The types of natural disasters in Japan include tsunamis, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, hailstorms, tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightnings, nuclear explosions and other natural disasters including the related geotectonic phenomena. The country has gone through many years of natural disasters, affecting its economy, development, and social life.
Japan was the first time of natural disasters in the world and the most for a worst disasters for the last time events of June 1896 Sanriku earthquake and September 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. During the Bombing of Tokyo in March 1942 and then 3 years later in March 1945 another bombing. Just five months later on between 6th and 9th August, the two major cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was destroyed by the atomic bombing during the final stage, Japan's surrender and the end of World War II respectively. But the last time for the most recently earthquakes, following the January 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and 16 years later in March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami including with the subsequent of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, whereas the extremely-dangers of radiation-contaminated water from the disaster has remained dormant.North Field (Tinian)
North Field is a former World War II airfield on Tinian in the Mariana Islands. Abandoned after the war, today North Field is a tourist attraction. Along with several adjacent beaches on which Allied forces landed during the Battle of Tinian, the airfield is the major component of the National Historic Landmark District Tinian Landing Beaches, Ushi Point Field, Tinian Island.
North Field was one of several bases for Twentieth Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress operations against the Japanese Home Islands in 1944–45. North Field contributed aircraft to the 1945 campaign to burn out Japanese cities with incendiary bombs, including the 9 March 1945 bombing of Tokyo which still stands as the most destructive air raid ever. North Field was the base for the 313th Bombardment Wing which carried out Operation Starvation, the dropping of naval mines in the harbors and sea lanes used by Japan. North Field was also the base for the 509th Composite Group which flew the atomic bombing raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The incendiary campaign (which destroyed 40% of the targeted cities), the aerial mining campaign (which starved Japan of essential food imports) and the two atomic attacks have all been argued as major factors in the surrender of Japan.Sudachō, Tokyo
Sudachō (須田町), officially Kanda-Sudachō (神田須田町), is a district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan, consisting of 1-chōme and 2-chōme. As of April 1, 2007, its population is 1,019. Its postal code is 101-0041.
This district is located on the northeastern part of Chiyoda Ward. It borders (across Kanda River) Soto-Kanda and Kanda-Sakumachō on the north, Kanda-Iwamotochō on the east, Kanda-Kajichō and Kajichō on the south, and Kanda-Awajichō, Kanda-Ogawamachi and Kanda-Tachō on the west.
Sudachō once had a terminal which served for a number of the Tokyo City Streetcar lines. It is one of the few areas that survived the bombing of Tokyo in World War II, resulting in many historic buildings still existing.
At one time Creatures Inc. had its headquarters in the Nintendo Kanda Building (任天堂神田ビル, Nintendō Kanda Biru) in Sudachō.Sugamo Prison
Sugamo Prison (Sugamo Kōchi-sho, Kyūjitai: 巢鴨拘置所, Shinjitai: 巣鴨拘置所) was located in the district of Ikebukuro, which is now part of the Toshima ward of Tokyo, JapanSupreme Court of Judicature of Japan
The Supreme Court of Judicature (大審院, Dai-shin'in) was the highest judicial body in the Empire of Japan. It existed from 1875 to 1947.
Organized by the Ministry of Justice in 1875, the Japanese Supreme Court of Judicature was modeled after Court of Cassation in France. The court was composed of 120 judges in both civil and criminal divisions. Five judges would be empaneled for any given case. The criminal division of the court was the court of first instance for crimes against the Emperor (e.g. lèse majesté) and for high crimes against public order.
The promulgation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (i.e. the “Meiji Constitution”), confirmed and formalized its position at the apex of the Japanese court system, consisting of the local courts, district courts and court of appeals.
It was abolished by order of the American occupation authorities in 1947, after the abolition of the Meiji Constitution.
The building of the Supreme Court of Judicature was gutted by American air raids during the bombing of Tokyo in World War II. It was repaired, and continued to be used as the Supreme Court of Japan under the post-war Constitution of Japan until 1974. The present Tokyo High Court was built on its former location.Sōbu Main Line
The Sōbu Main Line (総武本線, Sōbu-honsen) is a Japanese railway line operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in Japan. It connects Tokyo with the east coast of Chiba Prefecture, passing through the cities of Funabashi, Chiba, and Chōshi. Its name derives from the old provinces of the area which it serves: Musashi (武蔵国), Shimōsa (下総国) and Kazusa (上総国). Its official line color is yellow.The Phoenix Tree (novel)
The Phoenix Tree is a 1984 novel from Australian author Jon Cleary set in Japan during the last days of World War II.Cleary said he was attracted by the chance to do something different and write from a Japanese mind-set.The novel is set during the end of World War II. It deals with the bombing of Tokyo and the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and revolves around the themes of war and peace.