Japanese students recreate the Hiroshima bombing in virtual reality

Students in Japan spent that last two years working with virtual reality technology to painstakingly recreate the nuclear blast that wiped out Hiroshima in World War 2.

Over the course of five minutes, viewers are transported back to August 6, 1945 to witness the moment the United States killed 140,000 people and flattened a city.

‘Even without language, once you see the images, you understand,” Mei Okada, one of the students working on the project, told Phys.org.

Namio Matsura, right, a 17-year-old member of the computation skill research club at Fukuyama Technical High School experiences the bombing of Hiroshima. (Image: AP Photo/Haruka Nuga)

‘That is definitely one of the merits of this VR experience,’ explained the student, who attends a technical high school in Fukuyama, about 60 miles east of Hiroshima.

The schoolkids and their teachers hope that the visceral impact of the digital experience will serve as a reminder of the horror of the event. They want to ensure that history is never repeated.

When you pull on the virtual reality goggles, you’re treated to a walk along the Motoyasu River and take in the city in the moments before the bomb hits.

Although it’s impossible to relive a moment in history, a group of the students have recreated the moment an atomic bomb dropped over the city through VR to portray the livelihood of people that was taken away as a result of the bombing. (Image: AP Photo/Haruka Nuga)

It took the students months of work to recreate Hiroshima as it was 73 years ago. They studied old photos and even interviewed survivors of the strike.

‘Those who knew the city very well tell us it’s done very well. They say it’s very nostalgic,’ said Katsushi Hasegawa, a computer teacher who supervised the club.

‘Sometimes they start to reminisce about their memories from that time, and it really makes me glad that we created this.’

A mushroom cloud rises over the city of Hiroshima following a nuclear strike on August 6, 1945 (Image: Getty)

The nuclear bomb weighed 4,400kg, measured about 3 metres long and was dropped at 8.15 am on August 6, 1945. After 43 seconds, it detonated 600 meters off the ground and vaporised every person, object and building within a mile.

The final death toll is estimated at 140,000 and – along with the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki three days later – ended Japan’s involvement in the Second World War.


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