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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Reiko Shirokane (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.9 km from the hypocenter / 14 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I am full of emotions as I realize that sixty years have passed since then. I can't go to the central area of Hiroshima very often, for I run my own small shop in the countryside. I often recall the cityscape before the bombing. This year, I would like to visit the site where my family's home used to be.

When the A-bomb was dropped, I was in my second year at a school for girls. At that time, I was grouped with all the other mobilized students. My younger sister was evacuated to our father's hometown as with all younger students. My mother and two infant brothers were also evacuated from Hiroshima and moved to her hometown. My father and I remained in Hiroshima. He worked at a fruit and vegetable market at that time. After he was exposed to the A-bomb, he returned to Nishi Kanon-machi from Nekoya-cho in the evening without any visible injuries.

The next morning, I walked across the burned-out landscape of Hiroshima up to Kaita. All along the way, I saw hell on earth. A burnt horse was left tied down by its' reins, the corpses overlapped one another in the fire cistern. Whenever I remember that, it still breaks my heart. After hearing the radio broadcast announcing the end of the war on August 15, my father became ill with a persistent high fever. He went to heaven on the 21st, passing on from a disease acquired from exposure to the A-bomb. He was forty years old. He was a big man and on top of that, his body was covered in blisters. It was unearthly, the maggots were wriggling on his back. I still remember these things even after sixty years. I have managed to avoid many terrible diseases in my life, a life that I have founded on the precious sacrifices made during the war. I am grateful for the peace that has existed for the 60 years following the war.

I hope that someday it will be possible to realize a nuclear-free world.

I am so grateful that I have lived twice as long as my father in peace.