Kyushu Feature


August 9, 1945

On August 9, 1945, three days after the blast at Hiroshima, Nagasaki fell victim to a second atomic bomb because of bad weather. The plane, named Bockscar, was supposed to drop the Fat Man, a new and experimental plutonium bomb, on the war industry complexes in Kokura. A delay in hooking up with Bockscar’s B-29 escorts meant that when they reached Kokura, bad weather had rolled in and blocked their view. So they headed over to the secondary target, Nagasaki and its vital shipyards, and dropped the bomb there.

More powerful than the uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the Fat Man's core of plutonium, surrounded by TNT, imploded. The runaway fission chain reaction released the heat- and light-wave radiation of a small sun over the target, which in turn delivered a blast pressure of tons per square inch. Virtually nothing within miles of the blast was left standing, or even recognizable. Nagasaki's hilly topography and conformity to undulating river valley floors had made it a less desirable target, but it did help save a number of residential areas from total destruction. Meanwhile, 6.7 square km (2.59 square miles) were obliterated, 74,884 people were killed in the blast or died shortly thereafter, and another 74,909 were injured. The effects of radioactivity caused the deaths of an estimated 70,000 others within five years.

Updated: 2014-02-05

View all features


Trip Finder

Fodor's Japan

View Details
Travel Phrases

Learn Japanese Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Learn More
Travel Deals