The effects were devastating. As planners had hoped and USAAF meteorologists predicted, fires stoked in the initial target zone were swiftly stoked into a great conflagration that enveloped most of Eastern Tokyo. Overnight, much of the low-city was carbonized. Although estimates on the casualties exacted by this raid remain disputed, it can safely be said that 100,000 civilians perished in the flames, while over one million more were left homeless (Selden 2009). Yet what most captivated American eyes was the birds-eye-view of destruction. The toll of this raid and the many to follow in its wake was to be measured in square miles not human lives. It was to be documented, if not celebrated, through aerial photographs that capture the staggering scope of burned out urban fabric (Fedman and Karacas, 2014).
For more on the ground level experience of this air raid continue here. For the particular role of Ishikawa and his photographs follow this pathway.