The 1941 Project: Putting eyewitness accounts of Pearl Harbor on the map


One of Japanese mapping researcher Hidenori Watanave‘s newest interactive mapping project documents the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The project, called The 1941 Project, puts eyewitness accounts of the attack from around the island of Oahu on an interactive map, which can be explored at 1941.mapping.jp.

December 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the attack. Watanave has several mapping tools devoted to preserving and mapping eyewitness testimony from the war, including an interactive map of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, and the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Watanave is also the creator of a similar innovative mapping project that tracks the last moments of the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

For the Pearl Harbor project, Watanave mapped eyewitness testimony of the attack documented in Katrina Luksovsky's book, “Ford Island December 7, 1941: A collection of eyewitness accounts from the residents closest to Battleship Row”.


The interactive map also includes public domain images found in Wikimedia Commons and the World War II database.


The 1941 Project mapping project, however, goes beyond Ford Island and Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor. Watanave used a new online tool developed by Japan's Waseda University, which uses neural networks to colorize images and bring to life black and white photos that were taken all over Oahu at the time of the attack.

Here, Watanave has discovered and re-colorized an image of a beached submarine that took part in the attack.


As part of the project, Watanave has included and re-colorized many striking photos of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. They can all be found on the online interactive map Watanave has created.



Apart from the project's website, researcher Hidenori Watanave's Twitter feed also includes many images taken from the project.

This article was written by Nevin Thompson and originally published at Global Voices (CC BY 3.0). It has been edited for clarity.