New Hiroshima photos emerge

15 black-and-whites documenting carnage two days after attack found in Kure museum

Kyodo News

Previously undiscovered photographs of Hiroshima taken by the Imperial Japanese Navy two days after the atomic bombing have turned up in the Yamato Museum in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.

Most of the 15 pictures are believed to show the same scenes as previously known photos, but from slightly different angles, according to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Experts say photographs taken only two days after the attack are extremely rare and have historic value. The Yamato Museum is currently analyzing the pictures, which may be shown to the public in the future.

The black-and-white photos include a derailed street car, the ruins of the three-story Hiroshima Gas Co., and the destroyed Aioi Bridge, which the U.S. air crew reportedly used as its aiming point for the bomb.

The pictures, as well as some sketches, were donated to the Yamato Museum in 2005 by Fujio Kitagawa, 64, a resident of Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. His late father, Capt. Tetsuzo Kitagawa, was part of a 12-member Imperial navy investigation squad sent from Tokyo to investigate the bombing.

It is not known who actually took the photos, the negatives of which probably no longer exist, Yamato Museum said.

According to the Peace Memorial Museum, the navy investigation squad arrived in Hiroshima on Aug. 8 and was joined by another investigation group from the Kure Naval District. The two groups analyzed various aspects of the attack, including where the bomb detonated.

The Yamato Museum said Capt. Kitagawa remained in Hiroshima until Aug. 10 and later attended a joint meeting of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in Tokyo that concluded Hiroshima had been A-bombed.

The photographs taken by the Kure Naval District two days after the bombing have previously been made part of the historic record.

The latest 15 pictures were taken from similar angles, which led the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to conclude they were taken on the same day.