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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Hiroshi Kaneko (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 21 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo
10027

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. It was a very cloudless, hot morning in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. I was putting on my uniform in the barracks to get ready to fill in that day for guard duty. I belonged to the infantry artillery battalion of the West 104 Regiment, which consisted of two battalions. Our barracks was a two-story wooden building. There was a corridor in the middle, which was lined, on both sides, with separate rooms for each squad. My squad was in the northernmost room on the first floor.

The all-clear sounded and I was about to set out to man my post. Then a sudden flash, like a streak of tremendous lightning, went off from south to north. At the same time, something like a bar struck my hip, and I fell down. The next thing I knew, I found myself lying in a small space between a bed and a desk. It was such a brief moment, but the flying debris that knocked me over likely saved my life. Fearing the building would collapse at any moment, I scurried out of it as quickly as possible.

I will not refer to what I saw after leaving the barracks, except to say that the sickening sights will haunt me for the rest of my days.

Fortunately, although I have had poor health from time to time through the years, I have lived to a ripe old age. However, even now, 65 years later, the slightest sign of ailment triggers a fear that I will be struck by the dreaded Atomic-bomb disease.

I oppose the use of nuclear weapons, which wreak havoc and kill people indiscriminately. Many Atomic-bomb victims and those who saw first-hand the suffering in Hiroshima have passed away. The rest will also disappear with the flow of time until there will be no one left to describe the unfathomable damage and loss. It is my deepest hope that when my fellow A-bomb survivors and I finally are all gone there will never be another Atomic-bomb victim ever again. That is why it is so important that our stories be spread around the world. Peace!
(2010)