This story was first published on 1st July 2011
Circulating message claims that attached photographs depict an “arch” in the Japanese city of Nagasaki that somehow survived both the atomic bomb blast of 1945 and the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
The photographs are genuine but they do not show the same “arch” (more correctly known as a “torii”). Moreover, while the first photograph does show a torii at Nagasaki, the second photograph depicts a torii at the Kozuchi shrine in the Japanese town of Otsuchi.
Subject: Fw: … I have a questionI have a question….
Nagasaki 1945, after the atomic bomb
Nagasaki 2011, following earthquake and tsunami
What the f@#k is that arch made of?
This message, which has circulating via email and social media since 2011, claims that two photographs taken many years apart show the miraculous survival of an “arch” in the Japanese city of Nagasaki. According to the message, the first photographs show the arch still standing after the city was all but destroyed by the atomic bomb blast of 1945 while the second photograph shows the same arch, again still standing, after Nagasaki was devastated by 2011’s earthquake and tsunami.
The photographs themselves are genuine but, in fact, they do not depict the same “arch” or even the same city.
The type of structure referred to as an arch in the message is actually a torii a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or sometimes inside a Shinto shrine.
The first photograph does depict a torii at Nagasaki after an atomic bomb was dropped on the city on August 9, 1945. The same photograph is included on numerous historical websites discussing the bombing. The photograph was taken by army staff photographer Yosuke Yamahata who began to record the devastation of the city on August 10, 1945, a day after the bomb was dropped.
However, the second photograph does not depict the torii at Nagasaki, but rather another torii leading to Kozuchi shrine at the town of Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture, Japan. Otsuchi was indeed devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.
Nagasaki is located some 1300 kilometres away from Otsuchi. Nagasaki was not directly affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.