JAPANESE

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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Toshiko Kuji (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.7 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo
5584

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. Each person had different experiences during World War II. For me, amongst other things, I have never forgotten the experience of being exposed to the A-bomb for a single day in the sixty years since the atomic bombing. My body had suffered the ravages of the A-bomb, which no one else other than A-bomb victims had experienced. After the exposure, I couldn't have the slightest idea how my body condition would respond due to the exposure and I had no way of knowing how much radiation I was exposed to. I worry a lot about everything, even when I just have a cold. I can't help but think this is because I was exposed to the A-bomb radiation.

It' s said that the A-bomb victims have a high probability of getting cancer. My mother developed bone cancer and died. My younger sister had an operation for lung cancer and I had an operation for papillary cancer. We almost died too. We have no family history of cancer. Therefore, I think our cancers were caused by exposure to the A-bomb. Whenever I have X-ray pictures or the like taken at a hospital for a medical checkup, I feel that I really don't want to be exposed to radiation anymore. But, there' s no choice if they are to detect an illness. So, I bite the bullet and have the X-rays taken.

I bear the suffering since it can't be helped that I was exposed to the A-bomb. But, I wish that my daughter would be spared the suffering. When my daughter was in high school, she knew that she was a second generation A-bomb victim and confronted me asking, "Mother, tell me why on earth I am a second generation A-bomb victim."I have watched my daughter grow up while worrying since her birth if she might have inherited the suffering. At night, whenever I watched my daughter's sleeping face and I felt uneasy if she wasn' t breathing, I woke her up by repeatedly touching her cheek. When she awoke, I was relieved, "Oh, she' s alive."

When my daughter was twenty years old and we celebrated her coming-of-age ceremony, my joy was so great as to be beyond description that she had grown up healthy without incident to the age of twenty. After my daughter got married and when she gave birth to a baby, perhaps needlessly, I was anxious to know if the baby was born healthy without physical defects. I have to keep worrying about not only my child but also my grandchild.

When August 6 approaches every year, even sixty years later, perhaps it's all in my mind, but I feel heaviness in my body like I'm suffering from beriberi and feel very tired. My body feels sluggish so that I don' t want to do anything. Since I have such physical problems, I always also worry if my grandchild might inherit my suffering.

I am continually worrying about my body condition, caused by exposure to the A-bomb, and I will probably do so until my last breath. The U.S. government and the Japanese government never respond to the worries, unnoticed by all, of the A-bomb victims. I have never gotten any information to resolve these issues from either government. It is very hard to judge for myself while keeping an eye on my body condition. I haven' t received any support so far.

The U.S. Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission only examined the aftereffects of exposure to the A-bomb on us, treating us like guinea pigs. I heard that, especially, women were carefully examined (their whole body was thoroughly examined) to determine whether or not they were capable of giving birth to babies. The Japanese government still does not acknowledge the real situation of those who were exposed to the A-bomb. It makes me very lonely and isolated.
(2005)