Devastating Tokyo Firebombings Remembered 70 Years On

March 10, Tuesday, saw Japan in a somber remembrance of the Tokyo firebombings which took place seventy years ago at the height of the Second World War. It was the deadliest conventional bomb attack ever, the Tokyo Firebombings is an overlooked part of WWII history. Overshadowed by Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s atomic bombings and the country’s push for rebuilding itself after World War Two ended.

It can be remembered that on March 10, 1945, U.S. B-29 bombers dropped their explosive loads above the Japanese city of Tokyo resulting to the obliteration of the city leaving 105,400 individuals dead. This number exceeded the death toll which resulted from the Nagasaki atomic bombing on August 9. It is on par with the number of deaths due to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima which occurred on August 6.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a solemn ceremony in commemoration of the devastating Tokyo Firebombings. The ceremony was held at a Tokyo temple that was built to commemorate the deaths which resulted during a 1923 earthquake and is also used as a memorial for the WWII bombings’ victims.

He was joined by a group of dignitaries, survivors of the Tokyo Firebombings and a number of the city’s residents.

“With the lessons of the atrocities of war etched deeply in our hearts, we must humbly face the past and do our utmost to contribute to world peace,” PM Abe pointed out in his speech which he gave amidst the sea of white flowery wreaths.

The Tokyo Firebombings as well as the bombing of over other sixty Japanese cities are not widely known. As a matter of fact, the only public and formal memorial built for the victims of the Tokyo Firebombings is a simple floral memorial. It is built near the temple where the solemn ceremony last Tuesday was held.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE