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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Sadao Kawahira (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.2 km from the hypocenter / 8 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. My father died of disease when I was two years old and my grandmother raised me. In March, 1945, my mother remarried, taking me with her to live in Hiroshima.

On August 6, my stepfather went missing and on August 20 my mother died in a temple in Kabe.

Born into this world with no parental love.
Passing away in disease with complete sorrow.

Prayer for the A-bomb

My personal history
Date and place of birth...August 31, 1936. Kegoya 1-chome, Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.
Father's death...On April 20 1938, my father died of disease and my mother had my grandparents take care of me. She went to Osaka for work.
Mother's remarriage...In March, 1945, my mother remarried, taking me to Hiroshima with her.

On August 6, the day of the A-bombing, my stepfather and I left home at eight o'clock in the morning. He went to Fukuya Department Store. I went to class at Misasa National Elementary School.

In those days schools were requisitioned by the army, and those under the third grade had classes in temples in towns or community centers. We attended classes in the youth hall in Yokogawa-cho 2-chome. At the moment of the A-bombing, I was playing with my friends, sitting on a stone step in front of the hall.

I have no memory of the moment of the A-bombing. When I regained consciousness, I could see nothing around me due to the complete darkness. After a while, I bigan to see vaguely around me but couldn' t move at all because something unknown was on my body. I managed to move little by little and went out to the road at last and began to walk home. But there were a lot of woodworking plants in Yokogawa-cho and the surrounding fires were too big for me so I couldn't reach my house. I could only walk as far as the Yokogawa Bridge area and went into the river. Just then it began to rain big raindrops. I had no idea whether the raindrops were black or not, because it was almost dark all around.

I stayed on a small island in the river until evening. Meanwhile, I felt thirsty several times and searched everywhere for drinking water, but there was no place to get any. Toward evening, I went up to the Yokogawa Bridge and met soldiers there and they gave me drinking water from their water bottles.

Then I walked toward the station along the tram street and saw a lot of people dead in the streets and in the streetcars.

In front of the station I came across a man from my neighborhood and we walked to his parents' home in Gion. The roof of the house in Gion was damaged and we could see the moon through the ceiling.

The next day, he eagerly looked for my mother but we couldn't find her. On the morning of August 8, he took me to the station on the carrier of his bicycle so I could get on a truck at the station for Takata District. On that day, my face got swollen and I had very poor vision, and could only distinguish light from dark.

When I recovered my senses, it was August 12. I lost my memory after riding on the truck. I found myself laid on a straw mat on the stage of the auditorium in the Takata-gun district office and I could not remember anything for four days. On the evening of August 21, my grandmother came to take care of me in Yoshida-cho and she told me that my mother had died in a temple in Kabe. I felt little sorrow then. Maybe it was because day after day I saw people around me dying one after another and my sense of sorrow got paralyzed. Then I was sent from the district office to a classroom in the National Elementary School. Because we had to leave the school, on August 31, we had to start for my grandmother's house on an island, riding on a truck carrier as far as Kure.

The A-bomb burned my head, right arm and knees and it took two years for them to heal completely.

At the moment of the A-bombing my difficult days began. Children called me names, saying "orphan," or "bald" and I felt very frustrated.

I lost my parents in my childhood and had difficulties raising my own children. They say that children grow up seeing their parents' back and as an orphan I faced hard times dealing with my children.

I pray for peace on earth, without wars.

Place of exposure to the A-bomb: Yokogawa-cho 1-chome, Hiroshima. 1.2 km [3/4 mile] from the hypocenter.