Welcome to Japan Air Raids.org

「日本空襲デジタルアーカイブ」へようこそ

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Welcome to Japan Air Raids.org

 

「Japan Air Raids.org」へようこそ。 (日本語)

Welcome to JapanAirRaids.org, a digital archive dedicated to the international dissemination of information about the air raids conducted by the United States Army Air Forces and Navy against Japan.

In Japan it took over twenty years following the end of World War II before people began to make a concerted effort to remember the incendiary raids that destroyed a significant percentage of most of Japan’s cities, wiped out a quarter of all housing in the country, made nine million people homeless, killed at least 187,000 civilians, and injured 214,000 more (source). Thanks to the many Japanese citizens who over the last forty years have labored to write down survivor accounts, locate and preserve various records, and analyze the destruction of urban Japan (and the concurrent suffering and social upheaval that occurred), the history of the air raids has taken root in Japan in a variety of ways. Numerous books and articles have been published, resource centers and peace museums have been built, and both individuals and associations continue to carry out important research.

Outside of Japan, the lag time to look closely at the impacts of the air raids is even more pronounced. In 1977, historian Gordon Daniels lamented the fact that academics had largely ignored the air raids on Japan – and the so-called Great Tokyo Air Raid in particular – as a subject of inquiry. Little has changed since this observation. While a handful of important English-language books and articles have appeared since then, most deal with the topic strictly from the standpoint of examining, and on occasion criticizing, U.S. strategic bombing doctrines and campaigns. Analyses about what the air raids entailed for the Japanese civilians on the ground and the cities in which they lived have yet to be written. Consequently, interested citizens and intellectuals who cannot read Japanese have minimal access to materials that shed light on the devastating effects of the incendiary bombing campaign on Japanese communities, cities and society. Additionally, while considerable English-language primary and secondary source documents related to the air raids exist, to date they have been beyond the reach of most people save for a handful of individuals who possess the inclination, time and resources required to visit the physical archives holding them.

By taking advantage of technological developments that allow for digitization, storage, and global retrieval of documents, we hope that this digital archive will play an important role in encouraging people to learn about and further research this area, and in fostering collaboration among a variety of individuals and groups. Additionally, by democratizing archival access to materials related the Japan air raids, we hope to open this field to the general public, scholars, professional and lay researchers, university students, and even middle/secondary school educators and their pupils.

We encourage visitors to browse the menu tabs in order to gain a sense of what type of content the archive features to date. While not limited to the following, these materials include: public domain primary and secondary source documents; air raid survivor accounts; discussion of  the “on the ground” effects of air raids ; and analyses of the U.S. strategic bombing campaign itself.

We hope to gradually build up complete sets of documents including XX/XXI Bomber Command Tactical Mission Reports and the 108 United States Strategic Bombing Command Survey reports related to Japan, and aim ultimately to offer an exhaustive array of documents, memos and internal communications produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces and United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Additionally, we are working to further add Japanese primary documents related to the air raids, along with interviews with people directly affected by them.

Still and moving images are another important component of JapanAirRaids.org. Many U.S. Army Air Force propaganda films and photographs, wartime newsreels related to B-29s and the bombing of Japan, and other related footage have already been added to the site, and much more is on the way.