Students recreate Hiroshima devastation in virtual reality

Ruben Fields
August 9, 2018

Over two years, a group of Japanese high school students has been painstakingly producing a five-minute virtual reality experience that recreates the sights and sounds of Hiroshima before, during and after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city 73 years ago Monday.

More than 300,000 people across China were killed by Japan's biological weapons during WWII.

"Atomic bombs were created by the evil ideas of human beings", said Sunao Tsuboi, the 93-year-old head of one of the groups of those who survived the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, in the closing days of World War II.

Mayor Kazumi Matsui warned of the re-emergence of tensions over nuclear weapons seen during the Cold War and sought rational actions by global leaders, reports The Japan Times.

In his speech this year, Abe said Japan will "make strenuous efforts to serve as a bridge between nuclear powers and non-nuclear states".

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also was at the ceremony, reiterated Japan's pledge to maintain its pacifist and non-nuclear principles. Later that year, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, which led efforts to campaign for the treaty, won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

On July 7, 2017 the United Nations adopted the first legally binding worldwide agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons titled the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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And less than two months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" during their summit in Singapore, though the deal has been criticized for lacking detail.

In Friday, Aug. 8, 2018, photo, Namio Matsura, 17-year-old member of the computation skill research club at Fukuyama Technical High School, watches Hiroshima city before atomic bomb fell in virtual reality experience at the high school in Hiroshima, western Japan. Those holding hibakusha certificates numbered 154,859 as of March this year, the lowest on record, while their average age stood at 82.06.

Atomic bomb survivors and many visitors prayed for peace at the Peace Memorial Park near Ground Zero under the scorching summer heat.

The bombs claimed the lives of 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 74,000 people in Nagasaki.

"They can't imagine what it was like because it feels like a different world, but it's important to keep telling them", Makita said. But he knows its impact from his firsthand experience of taking care of his late mother who lost her eyesight and was severely burned due to the bombing. 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.

The Hiroshima mayor regarded the nuclear weapons ban treaty as "a milestone along the path to a nuclear-weapon-free world", urging the government of Japan to play a role to help bring it into force.

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