[KS] Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 138, Issue 9

Bill Streifer photografr7 at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 11 12:59:03 EST 2014

I was a second year student of a middle school in Taegu when Japan surrendered. We were mobilized to work on an air base at Tongch'on (now Taegu airport), constructing and repairing runways and air plane shelters. It must have been in July or August 1945 (I remember the heat of Taegu summer) when a Japanese sergeant (Gunso), who was in charge of our labor gang, told us that Japan was developing "a new type of bomb (shin'gata bakudan)," which, with the size of a small match box, could destroy a huge battleship.
 Yong-ho Choe (최영호)

Since "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" required a critical mass of U-235 or plutonium, a matchbox-sized bomb is impossible. But with uranium deuteride, it is theoretically possible. Yes, it was technically beyond Japan's capability, but in theory at least it could be done, and the resulting bomb would be very very small.
Oppenheimer, the scientific head of the Manhattan Project, also considered a small atomic bomb, one cubic centimeter. That's small! 
A friend of mine, an elderly Japanese-American, was a member of the MIS in Manchuria at the end of WWII. He said he interviewed a Japanese soldier there who told him the same thing. A bakudan, the size of a matchbox, was being developed in Tokyo by Dr. Yoshio Nishina.
Bill Streifer  
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