In 2019, MOPA received a donation of recorded interviews and still photographs related to the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan during World War II and its lasting impact on survivors.

On August 10, 1945, Japanese Army photographer Yōsuke Yamahata was sent to Nagasaki to document the city and survey the extent of destruction. Over the span of that day, the photographer took over one hundred photographs as he made his way through what remained. His images are the most comprehensive record of the city in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.

In 1995, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event, historians embarked on a mission to record first-person interviews of survivors which became the film Nagasaki Journey. The goal of the interviews and subsequent film was to honor the memories of survivors in their own words and document its lasting impact for future generations so that it may never be forgotten.

The photographs by Yamahata, along with the recorded interviews of survivors a half century later produced for the documentary film Nagasaki Journey, form an important historical record of one of the most pivotal moments in 20th century history.


About the Archive

The full archive includes documentation and excerpts from the process of creating the Nagasaki Journey film, and a compilation of photographs by Yosuke Yamahata of the immediate after-effects of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

To learn more about the archive, please visit MOPA’s Nancy K. Dubois Library.


About the Photographer

Yōsuke Yamahata was a Japanese photographer best known for his images documenting the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. 

Born in 1917 in Singapore, Yamahata studied at Hosei University in Tokyo and, in 1936, decided to pursue a career in photography working for the Graphic Times Sun.

In 1940, he entered into the Japanese Army as a military photographer, stationed first in China and then later traveling throughout Asia during World War II. In 1942, he returned to Japan and was one of three Japanese Army soldiers sent to Nagasaki the day following the bombing of the city by Allied forces. His task was to survey the extent of destruction and document the impact on the city and its people.

Seventy five years later, his images remain a powerful documentation of a city and its people navigating a landscape transformed and stunned by unimaginable devastation.

To view more images by Yamahata, please visit MOPA’s online exhibition featuring a selection of images by the photographer.