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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Toshio Hagihara (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.7 km from the hypocenter / 6 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. The Atomic Bomb and My Life

I believe my life started on August 6, 1945, the day that the United States dropped an atomic bomb in Hiroshima. I was six years old, and living in Hakushima, 1.7 kilometers from the hypocenter. The bomb killed many of my family members, including my father.

My mother's diary reads as follows:

"On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m., the enemy sent B-29s over us. All of a sudden, without any warning, a bomb exploded in the air. We were all exposed to the blast."

"My husband was burned all over his body and died at his workplace the following day. My mother also suffered severe burns on her entire body and died later. My older sister, her child, and my younger sister were found dead and charred. I wish I could go to see my husband and rub his legs, but I can't because I have to take care of my seriously injured mother and three kids. I feel terribly sorry for my husband. I burst into tears. My kids see me crying, and start to weep in sympathy. I cry my heart out after my kids fall asleep."

My mother, who was 29 years old at the time of the atomic bomb explosion, had to take care of her sister's two children (who escaped from death because they were out of town on a student evacuation program), my two siblings and me. I wonder how much she suffered and how many days she spent in misery on devastated land. I can't help crying even today, when I imagine her days in despair. In those days, she wrote poems in her diary:

Mother calling her kids, kids calling their mother, tightly hugging each other, feeling death approaching.
Feeling too much suffering, Mother begged to have her life taken away. This is the saddest sorrow in my heart.

Her poems described how her sister and her nephew died after they were exposed to the atomic bomb, and how her mother died in misery, her burned body infested with maggots.

I still can't forget the extreme grief and tears of my mother, who was still young, yet lost her husband, mother, older sister and nephew, then her younger sister also, all at once.

Below is poetry that she wrote when she was searching for a place to die with my brother, my sister and me:

"While I watch my kids play happily, tears run down my cheeks thinking that they have no father."
"Looking down a waterfall basin, where people jumped to their death, I felt sympathy. It could happen to me."

We spent days in pain, suffering from diseases caused by the atomic bomb, on devastated land without any medical doctors or hospitals. These diseases included leukemia, liver disorders and anhematopoiesis.

Later, my mother remarried for the sake of her children even though she didn't want to. I didn't get along with my stepfather, who had a drinking problem. Our family was struggling and life was hard. So, I decided to start an apprenticeship in Osaka after I graduated from elementary school.