On this day: the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan

ChristianMartyrsOfNagasakiThe Christian martyrs of Nagasaki. 16-17th-century Japanese painting. Japan Art

The Christian Martyrs Of Nagasaki (painted 16th-17th century).

On the 5th of February, 1597, a group of Catholics were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki, Japan.

The victims were four Spaniards, one Mexican, one Indian (all Franciscan missionaries), three Japanese Jesuits, and seventeen Japanese members of the Third Order of St Francis (including children).

The atrocity was carried out on the orders of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Generations later it was discovered that Japan had a community of underground “hidden Catholics” who had not been discouraged by the persecution.

UrakamiTenshudoJan1946Urakami Tenshudo (Catholic Church in Nagasaki) destroyed by the atomic bomb, the bell of the church having toppled off. 7th January 1946.

The Catholic church of Nagasaki was ground zero when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945 at the end of the Second World War.

On this day: the Surrender of Japan

(Color) Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945

2nd September 1945: This photograph, taken on board the USS Missouri, shows Japanese representatives taking part in a ceremony to formalise Japan’s surrender in the Second World War.

The document of surrender, signed on this day, ended the war.

On this day: Nagasaki Destroyed

These aerial photographs show the Japanese city of Nagasaki before and after the American nuclear bomb attack on the 9th of August, 1945.

Amongst those in the city at the time of the bombing were thousands of conscripted Korean workers and hundreds of Western (Allied) prisoners of war. Not all of them survived.

Nagasaki_1945_-_Before_and_after_(adjusted) Nagasaki, Japan, before and after the atomic bombing of 9th August, 1945.

On this day: the bombing of Nagoya Castle

Burning_Nagoya_CastleBurning Nagoya Castle 14th May 1945 Allied Air Raid Second World War

Nagoya Castle in Japan was destroyed by Allied bombing on the 14th of May, 1945. The city had been under attack from air raids since April of 1942, and the castle was targeted as it was being used as a Japanese military command post as well as the administrative headquarters for the local prisoner of war camp.

The castle was considered a national treasure. Reconstruction began in the 1950s.

On this day: a Kamikaze Attack

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Near Okinawa on the 11th of April, 1945, the USS Missouri was hit by a Japanese kamikaze attack – a suicide mission in the style used by the Japanese military during the Second World War.

The battleship only sustained minor, superficial damage, but the pilot was killed. The ship’s American captain insisted on giving him a funeral with full military honours.

It is estimated nearly four-thousand Japanese pilots died this way in the war’s Pacific Theatre.

The Missouri is now famous for being the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan later that year, the event that ended the war.

A Chinese suicide bomber prepares.

Chinese_infantry_soldier_preparing_a_suicide_vest_of_Model_24_hand_grenades_at_the_Battle_of_Taierzhuang_against_Japanese_TanksThe Battle of Taierzhuang, part of the Second Sino-Japanese

The Battle of Taierzhuang, part of the Second Sino-Japanese War between China and Japan, ran from the 24th of March to the 7th of April, 1938. The first major Chinese victory of the conflict, it was won in part because of the lengths the Chinese soldiers were willing to go to for victory.

This image shows one of China’s suicide bombers putting on a vest made of hand grenades. Some soldiers threw themselves under Japanese tanks and blew themselves – and the vehicles – up.

The Japanese were humiliated by the defeat and denied it in media reports for days after the battle concluded. Chinese victory gave the morale of their people a big boost.

This war ran up until the conclusion of the Second World War, and is considered part of the Pacific Theatre of the worldwide conflict, ending with Japan’s surrender in 1945.