Codenamed Operation Meetinghouse, the firebombing of Tokyo by the U.S. Air Force conducted on the night of 9-10 March 1945 is the single most destructive bombing raid in human history. Most of the buildings in the Japanese capital were made of wood; 16 square miles of central Tokyo were destroyed in the attack, killing 100,000 civilians and leaving over a million residents homeless.
The city’s industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods. The firebombing cut the city’s output in half. Japan would surrender five months later, after the U.S. dropped
atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This 50 sen note was in circulation in Japan from 1942-45. Fire damage of the note indicates that it may have been in use in Tokyo during the bombing campaign. Yasukuni Shrine, pictured on the note,
is a Shinto shrine located in Tokyo that, ironically, commemorates Japanese war dead