Foreigners and locals alike set lanterns afloat on the river as part of the commemoration, which has been held every year since 1947. Messages advocating world peace, such as ‘Stand strong like bamboo’ and ‘Peace for all the world’ could be seen written on the sides of the lanterns as they floated down the river.
At least 60,000 people were killed in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and a further 40,000 were killed in Nagasaki three days later on August 9, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on both Japanese cities. Tens of thousands of additional deaths were caused by the latent effects of the bombings, such as radiation sickness. By the end of 1945 the total death toll in Hiroshima alone was estimated at 140,000.
The twin bombings were the first and last time nuclear weapons were used as weapons of war.