Remembering the Maebashi Air Raid: Stories of War Survivors in Gunma

The air raid on Maebashi on August 5, 1945 reduced 80 percent of the town to ashes and took the lives of more than 500 people. Two people who experienced the tragedy told us what they remember of it.

Toshie Tamura was 6 years old. She lived in Koun-cho near Maebashi Girl’s High School. She escaped to the south with her mother, younger brother and two other children from the neighborhood. They found an air raid shelter, but it was full, so they kept on running, terrified of the explosions and fire all around them.

Tsunehiro Harada was 7 years old. He lived in Sumiyoshi-cho, an area where many people died. He escaped to an air raid shelter near Hirosegawa River, one considered the most impenetrable in the city. It was tightly closed, but smoke and heat seeped in, killing most of the people inside. Harada miraculously survived, and has spent years telling others about his experience as a way to promote peace.