Bodies and StructuresMain MenuWhat We're DoingOverview essayHow to Use This SiteAn orientationModulesList of modulesTag MapConceptual indexComplete Grid VisualizationGrid Visualization of Bodies and StructuresGeotagged MapGeographic IndexWhat We LearnedContributors share what they learned through the Bodies and Structures process.ReferencesReferences tag for all modules and essayContributorsContributor BiosAcknowledgementsAcknowledgementsContact usContact information pageLicensing and ImagesThe original content of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND International 4.0 License.Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277
Fedman and Karacas, The Optics of Ruination
12018-06-25T13:41:23-04:00David Fedman49fb12a9dc049fa723aae9d52d00a1d69c5c61e721Fedman and Karacas, The Optics of Ruinationplain2018-06-25T13:41:23-04:00David Fedman49fb12a9dc049fa723aae9d52d00a1d69c5c61e7David Fedman and Cary Karacas, "The Optics of Urban Ruination: Toward an Archaeological Approach to the Photography of the Japan Air Raids," Journal of Urban History Vol. 40, No. 5 (2014): 959-984.
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12018-04-23T13:40:18-04:00A Rain of Ruin16The firebombing of Tokyo as seen from the air.plain2018-11-28T08:31:56-05:001945-03-09David Fedman
These plans came to fruition on March 9, 1945, when 334 B-29s Superfortresses, each loaded with roughly 5.5 tons of M-69 jellied gasoline cluster bombs, took off from their base in the Marianas headed for Tokyo. Once over the capital, wave after wave of B-29s emptied their incendiary payloads into “Target Zone 1”—an area that corresponds almost perfectly to the flammable, built up regions highlighted in previous planning documents.
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).