The Allied Forces did not just bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, although both are known for being the first and last recipients of atomic bombs. Other Japanese cities were also bombed during WWII. Maps of those cities were drawn by the First Ministry of Demobilization, and for the first time are being made available for public viewing.
The exhibit, called “Record of air raids: General maps of war damage in major cities in Japan,” are available in Tokyo, its neighbour Kawasaki, and Sasebo in Nagasaki. At the capital, the maps are under the custody of the National Archives of Japan in Chiyoda Ward. Completed in December 1945, measuring 55×40 centimetres, the maps traced from Hokkaido in the north down to Kagoshima Prefecture in the south. There were 131 affected cities and municipalities, including Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo, where the bombings were mapped using lines with seven shades of red indicating the extent of damage. Most have overlapped and even extended along the Sumida River in the eastern capital.
“People must have stared at the maps to find any clues about [damage to] their homes, places where their families evacuated and other areas,” NAJ archivist Yukiko Nagae said. She also hoped that visitors will be able to “imagine how people at the time felt.” People can witness the exhibit until September 20, except on weekends and national holidays.