@26 days until Hiroshima Summit: Atomic bomb’s heat rays and burns

by Fumiyasu Miyano, Staff Writer

When the atomic bomb was detonated, the ground surface temperature at the hypocenter reached 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius and almost all of buildings were burned down within a two-kilometer radius. That temperature was twice or higher than that at which iron starts to melt. It was so powerful even a person as far from the hypocenter as about 3.5 kilometers, had burns.

Some survivors had severe burns, which later became keloids, lumpy scars on skin, and remained on their faces or arms. As they were jeered at or discriminated by others due to the keloids, some survivors always wore a long-sleeved shirt even in summer to hide their scars.

In 1955, some survivors in Hiroshima flew to the U.S. from the airport in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture to receive medical treatment for their keloids. Those twenty-five women, who were called “Hiroshima maidens” or “Hiroshima girls,” drew attention from the media in Japan and overseas, and conveyed the reality of the atomic bomb damages etched into their minds and bodies.

(Originally published on April 23, 2023)