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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yuriko Sadakiyo (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.5 km from the hypocenter / 6 years old at the time / current resident of Hyogo

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, I was in the first year at an elementary school. That morning when I arrived at a temple (my school, Misaki Elementary School, was manned by troops already for some time), I was sitting on the veranda and looked up to the sky to see a B-29 flying. The next thing I knew, I found myself buried under the collapsed wooden house. I looked for a crevice and crawled outside and saw roof tiles scattered all over the area. With a volunteer firefighter's assistance, I walked hand in hand with him on the railway tracks. Along the way, I was handed off to my neighbor and ran with her further down the rail. It was a sea of fire all around us. I cannot recall my feelings or what I was thinking at that time; even fear was gone. The only thing that comes to mind is how happy I felt to come across, by chance, my uncle (younger brother of my mother) in such a mess.

I was then handed off to my uncle and took refuge with him in a bamboo grove. Thanks to that, I did not come into contact with the black rain of radioactive fallout at that time. I walked with my uncle for four kilometers toward a farm and was helped by a farmer. We spent three days with the farmer's family in their house. My young life of six years was saved and I am alive today because of people's help, and I spend every day with gratitude in my heart for that.

The life given to me at that time runs down now to my two grandchildren, through my daughter and my son born later (my husband passed away eight years ago due to lung cancer). With the atomic bombing, however, I lost as many as fourteen relatives. I feel so much regret. When I think of the many lives lost in other prefectures due to the atomic bomb and air raids, I say very strongly that any war should not occur in the future. Let each and every person cry out against any war.

My birth mother was exposed to the atomic bomb at her remarried home. Hearing the voice of a four year-old girl Kuniko cry out "Help me, Mommy!" a fire flared all over. Having escaped from the fire, crying all the while, my mother looked everywhere for the orphaned daughter of her husband's late wife. She finally found her and together, they evacuated to the countryside. Unfortunately, one month later, my mother died. When she escaped, she wrote down the following message on a roof tile using a piece of burnt wood: "Kuniko died. Whereabouts of her father and her sister are unknown." This roof tile is still kept at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

In May 2010, the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference will be held in New York. In conjunction with the conference, we collected signatures from the public with the message of "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons." I was chosen to be dispatched to attend the conference, by donation, through the Nada-ku Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. In New York, I will proclaim loudly, "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons! (May 1-6)." I, as a remaining survivor of the atomic bomb, now dearly wish from my heart the total abolition of nuclear arms. Thus, I will go there to appeal for a total abolition of nuclear arms with heartfelt thoughts for those who became the world's first atomic bomb victims; for my dearest relatives who lost their lives with much regret; and for all the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims. I believe that unless nuclear weapons are totally removed from the universe, no future or peace for people can exist.

Adverse effects on the health of surviving victims still remain today, even after 64 years have passed, due to the damage caused by the radioactivity unleashed with such a horrific weapon that devastated towns instantly and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people. It is said that such remaining radioactivity in the body of victims will bring out the highest effect in the year 2020, 75 years after exposure to the atomic bomb. Let every single person protect the current peace forever by continuously promoting the movement of "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons."