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Maker(s):Kageyama Kōyō
Culture:Japanese (1907-1981)
Title:Devastation from the Fires of the Shinjuku Commercial District
Date Made:1945-08-20
Materials:gelatin silver print
Measurements:Sheet: 11 x 14"; Image: 8.5 x 13"
Accession Number:  AC 2014.62
Credit Line:Museum purchase with gift of funds from Scott H. Nagle (Class of 1985) in honor of Samuel C. Morse, Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell Professor of the History of Art and Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Richard Templeton (Class of 1931) Photography Fund
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
The fire bombings of Tokyo on March 9 and10, 1945, destroyed 60 percent of the city and killed 100,000 people. Kageyama systematically recorded the devastation. He observed:

"Corpses were in heaps all along the edges of the roads. From the mountains of ash and debris smoke wafted up. There was no electricity, gas, water, and of course no means of transportation was in operation."

This image of the Shinjuku district taken five months later in August 1945 shows the extent of the destruction. One of the few structures that remained was the Isetan Department Store. Careful examination of the foreground shows that people still tried to go about their daily lives waiting in the burned-out station for the next streetcar.

Professor Samuel C. Morse, 2015

urban; cities; ruins; architecture; fires; wars; bombs

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