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The collection of poignant images taken by Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese military photographer, show the flattened landscape, mass death and desperate plight of survivors immediately following the nuclear blast in Nagasaki, Japan
The collection of poignant images taken by Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese military photographer, show the flattened landscape, mass death and desperate plight of survivors immediately following the nuclear blast in Nagasaki, Japan

Taken 12 hours after the blast – are revealed 70 years on


Haunting photographs taken the day after the Japanese city of Nagasaki was hit with an atomic bomb have emerged 70 years after being confiscated by American forces.
The collection of poignant images taken by Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese military photographer, show the flattened landscape, mass death and desperate plight of survivors immediately following the nuclear blast.
Yamahata was tasked with documenting the destruction for propaganda purposes and arrived at the scene just 12 hours later.

Haunting photographs taken the day after the Japanese city of Nagasaki was hit with an atomic bomb have emerged 70 years after being confiscated by American forces
A picture of the devastation caused by the atomic bomb
Haunting photographs taken the day after the Japanese city of Nagasaki 
was hit with an atomic bomb have emerged 70 years after being 
confiscated by American forces

Photographer Yosuke Yamahata, pictured in Shanghai in 1943 here, took the iconic snaps
Photographer Yosuke Yamahata, pictured in Shanghai in 1943 here, took the iconic snaps

Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower (left), who later became president, shaking hands with General MacArthur, who played a prominent role in the war against Japan. The photo, taken in 1946, shows a rare moment of tenderness between the two men, who are widely known to have disliked each other later on
Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower (left), who later became president, shaking hands with General MacArthur, who played a prominent role in the war against Japan. The photo, taken in 1946, shows a rare moment of tenderness between the two men, who are widely known to have disliked each other later on

Supreme Commander Eisenhower carrying out inspection in the historic snaps, which have not seen the light of day for 70 years
Supreme Commander Eisenhower carrying out inspection in the historic snaps, which have not seen the light of day for 70 years

Yamahata was tasked with documenting the destruction for propaganda purposes and arrived at the scene just 12 hours later 
Yamahata was tasked with documenting the destruction for propaganda purposes and arrived at the scene just 12 hours later 

His haunting photographs encapsulated the devastation left behind by the atomic bomb
His haunting photographs encapsulated the devastation left behind by the atomic bomb

They were requisitioned following a direct order from General Douglas MacArthur to seize and destroy any such pictures to shield the true scale of the carnage from the public back at home
They were requisitioned following a direct order from General Douglas MacArthur to seize and destroy any such pictures to shield the true scale of the carnage from the public back at home

The full album contains 24 photographs developed from Yamahata's original negatives
The full album contains 24 photographs developed from Yamahata's original negatives

Some of his photographs, which became iconic after featuring in a 1952 edition of Life Magazine, are considered the most complete record of the attack's aftermath. However some were confiscated by an unidentified US military policeman in the months that followed, never to be seen again until now
Some of his photographs, which became iconic after featuring in a 1952 edition of Life Magazine, are considered the most complete record of the attack's aftermath. However some were confiscated by an unidentified US military policeman in the months that followed, never to be seen again until now

Some of his photographs, which became iconic after featuring in a 1952 edition of Life Magazine, are considered the most complete record of the attack's aftermath.
However some were confiscated by an unidentified US military policeman in the months that followed, never to be seen again until now.
They were requisitioned following a direct order from General Douglas MacArthur to seize and destroy any such pictures to shield the true scale of the carnage from the public back at home.
But the military policeman kept hold of the images, which have since been acquired by a collector, and are now being sold in the US by RR Auction with an estimate of £38,000.
The full album contains 24 photographs developed from Yamahata's original negatives.
And of these 12 were never published because, unbeknownst to Yamahata at the time, they were taken using a defective shutter that created small black dots on the finished product and thus made them surplus to Yamahata's requirements.
The lot also contains more than 200 photographs captured by the military policeman, including candid snaps of General MacArthur and President Dwight Eisenhower greeting troops and a personal account from Yamahata about the horrors he witnessed.

The unidentified US military policeman who confiscated the photos
An eerie picture of two Nagasaki survivors
An eerie picture of two Nagasaki survivors

In this article, published by a Japanese magazine in 1962, he says: 'I tried climbing up onto a small hill to look - all around, the city burned with what looked like little elf-fires, and the sky was blue and full of stars.
'It was a strangely beautiful scene.
'On my way, I began to hear the voices of dying people calling out, 'Water, give me water, please'.
'I stumbled over things in my path, such as the belly of a horse that had been charred to death.
'At 2am in the morning it was pitch dark so I couldn't see anything. But after sunrise I saw that the skin had been exposed was a reddish brownish colour.
'The victims faces were horribly inflamed. They brought to mind 'watermelon ghosts'. Even their eyes were burned.
'The blacks of the eyelids were red and swollen as though they had been turned inside out, and the edges of the eyes were yellow like the fat of a chicken.
'Blinded people groped their way forward with both hands extended in front of them.'
Many of Yamahata's photographs were used in Japanese publications just a few weeks after the bombing.
He died aged 48 in 1966 of cancer, which is believed to have been caused by extensive exposure to radiation.


Soviet footage of A-bomb aftermath emerges


Many of Yamahata's photographs were used in Japanese publications just a few weeks after the bombing
The wreckage of the blast in Nagasaki, Japan
Many of Yamahata's photographs were used in Japanese publications 
just a few weeks after the bombing

The US's nuclear strike against Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, came three days after a similar bomb was dropped on Hiroshima
He died aged 48 in 1966 of cancer, which is believed to have been caused by extensive exposure to radiation

In an article published by a Japanese magazine in 1962, the photographer said: 'I tried climbing up onto a small hill to look - all around, the city burned with what looked like little elf-fires, and the sky was blue and full of stars.'
In an article published by a Japanese magazine in 1962, the photographer said: 'I tried climbing up onto a small hill to look - all around, the city burned with what looked like little elf-fires, and the sky was blue and full of stars.'

Two soldiers pose for a photograph as a child lingers behind them
Soldiers on the march
Many of Yamahata's photographs were used in Japanese publications just 
a few weeks after the bombing

The US's nuclear strike against Nagasaki on August 9, 1945
These attacks resulted in the deaths of around 120,000 people
The US's nuclear strike against Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, came three
days after a similar bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. dailymail

Robert Livingston, RR Auction's executive vice president, said: 'When you hold this album in your hands you get a feel for how powerful these images are.
'These are the originals, not retouched, not fixed and have rarely been seen in public before.
'They show us just how much of a devastating weapon this was, and what the atomic bomb bomb did to the human body is pretty gruesome and disturbing to see.'
The US's nuclear strike against Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, came three days after a similar bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
These attacks resulted in the deaths of around 120,000 people.
Japan surrendered six days later.
The lot is being sold on September 25. dailymail



US atomic bomb strike against Japan on August, 1945



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