HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - July 6, 2000 - Every year, in Hiroshima, Japan, people float lanterns with prayers, thoughts, and messages of peace down the rivers in commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Until this year, the only way to join this celebration was to go to Hiroshima personally, but now a group of volunteers have started a website that will allow people from around the world to join in. The site, URL, allows visitors to both write in messages and view messages that others have left from across the planet. On August 6th, during the Lantern Floating Festival, the messages will be printed out and assembled into a series of lanterns that will be floated down the rivers. This will be shown live on the same website:
"The website is neither meant to condemn nor condone the bombing, but is meant as a way for people to express their views on how to achieve peace, on what peace is, and other thoughts about peace. We hope that everyone will write in their thoughts," said Prof. Mitsuru Ohba.
We are soliciting your opinions and comments on the recent nuclear tests in Asia. A new forum has been opened for exchanging different views of peoples with the issue of the new age. Miyoko Matsubara is the editor of the forum page.
Producer, A-Bomb WWW Project
We have received so many comments, questions and requests these days. Due to the limitation of our capability, we have been facing a serious workload problem. Though we are still happy to receive your questions and requests, we really need enough time to answer or to process them. We would appreciate your understanding and patience.
Thank you for your cooperation,
Producer, A-Bomb WWW Project
After being released, it took about a minute for Little Boy to reach the point of explosion. Little Boy exploded at approximately 8:15 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) when it reached an altitude of 2,000 ft above the building that is today called the "A-Bomb Dome."
The July 24, 1995 issue of Newsweek writes:
"A bright light filled the plane," wrote Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets,
the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic
bomb. "We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden
by that awful cloud...boiling up, mushrooming." For a moment,
no one spoke. Then everyone was talking. "Look at that! Look at that!
Look at that!" exclaimed the co-pilot, Robert Lewis, pounding on
Tibbets's shoulder. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission; it
tasted like lead. Then he turned away to write in his journal.
"My God," he asked himself, "what have we done?"
(special report, "Hiroshima: August 6, 1945")
note: Paul Tibbets was Colonel, not "Lt. Colonel," when he was the pilot of the Enola Gay.
The Little Boy generated an enormous amount of energy in terms of air pressure and heat. In addition, it generated a significant amount of radiation (Gamma ray and neutrons) that subsequently caused devastating human injuries.
The people who saw the Little Boy often say "We saw another sun in the sky when it exploded." The heat and the light generated by the Little Boy were far stronger than bombs which they had seen before. When the heat wave reached ground level it burnt all before it including people.
The strong wind generated by the bomb destroyed most of the houses and buildings within a 1.5 miles radius. When the wind reached the mountains, it was reflected and again hit the people in the city center. The wind generated by Little Boy caused the most serious damage to the city and people.
The radiation generated by the bomb caused long-term problems to those affected. Many people died within the first few months and many more in subsequent years because of radiation exposure. Some people had genetic problems which sometimes resulted in having malformed babies or being unable to have children.
It is believed that more than 140,000 people died by the end of the year. They were citizens including students, soldiers and Koreans who worked in factories within the city. The total number of people who have died due to the bomb is estimated to be 200,000.
Just three days after the bomb was dropped to Hiroshima, the second atomic bomb called "Fat Man" was dropped to Nagasaki. Though the amount of energy generated by the bomb dropped to Nagasaki was significantly larger than that of the Little Boy, the damage given to the city was slighter than that given to Hiroshima due to the geographic structure of the city. It is estimated that approximately 70,000 people died by the end of the year because of the bombing.
The volunteers who participated in this project, strongly believe that the world must learn about weapons of total destruction. We hope that the information presented here will help you understand the pain and devastation that nuclear weapons can cause. We don't want you to just feel sorry for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war inflicted untold pain and suffering on many people in Asia and the Pacific. Rather we want you to work with us to ensure that all of us can live in a safe world.
We hope this document helps you understand what it was and what it means.
Mitsuru Ohba John Benson Producer, A-Bomb WWW Project Chief Director, A-Bomb WWW Project Hiroshima, Japan Hiroshima, Japan
We also would like to thank the Software Engineers Association, Hiroshima and Chugoku Shikoku Internet Council that co-sponsored the project, and the city government of Hiroshima which supported the project.
Mitsuru Ohba and John Benson