Students of Fukuyama Technical High School have invented a Hiroshima bombing VR experience in order to both remember and raise awareness of the extreme scale of the event.

We already know that VR tech goes beyond just video games these days.

In fact, VR and AR can both be great tools for teaching or for uses such as in-app shopping. But a group of high school students at a Japanese high school just 60 miles east of Hiroshima elevated the use of VR with their latest project to create a full Hiroshima bombing VR experience of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing of 1945.

How did the class work to recreate the before and after of the Hiroshima bombing?

image of the Street of Temples in Hiroshima along Tera-machi for article Japanese Students Create Virtual Tour of Hiroshima Bombing
The Street of Temples in Hiroshima along Tera-machi pre-bombing | U.S. National Archives via The Atlantic

Recreating the Past With Future Technology

The devastating choice to bomb Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, resulted in 140,000 deaths.

This doesn’t include the casualties from the Nagasaki bombing, either. Japan regularly reveres these people’s deaths each year. This year marked the 73rd anniversary of the bombing.

Thanks to students at the Fukuyama Technical High School, there may be a new tradition.

Students at the Fukuyama Technical High School created an HTC Vive Hiroshima Bombing VR experience that pieces together parts of the city before the atomic bomb struck. Over two years, the group pieced together the environment based on images of the city and survivor interviews.

But not only can you walk around the city, you can even go into some buildings such as the post office or the courtyard of the Shima Hospital.

However, things very quickly take a turn for the worse. As quickly as you take in the sights of Hiroshima, the VR experience puts you in the shoes of someone in Hiroshima on the fateful day of August 6th.

A Chilling Immersive Experience in Just Five Minutes

You are walking along the Motoyasu River in Hiroshima when a plane appears in the sky. You might hear far away noises and then — a flash. The bomb detonates around you and you witness Hiroshima disintegrating.

The computer teacher leading the group said that those old enough to remember living through the bombing find the experience nostalgic. He also says that the students are working tirelessly as many of those people are older. He wants them to see the project come to its full fruition.

While we don’t yet know what that might entail, we do know why the group chose VR. Mei Okada, one of the students working on the project, told the Associated Press: “Even without language, once you see the images, you understand.”

How else can VR enhance the way we teach history?

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