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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Sahoko Matsui (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.2 km from the hypocenter / 15 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 was moved by the daffodil that bloomed even after it was trampled.

When the atomic bomb was dropped, I got badly burned on my head, my face, all my limbs, and my left chest and back. I suffered terrible pain and high fever. Even 120 days after being exposed to the A-bomb, I couldn't lie down without my parents' help. All my hair was gone; my face was swollen twice its original size; and my lips were covered with scabs like a bunch of strawberries. When I ate something, my lips split open and blood spewed out, turning my lips bright red. Tears ran down my cheeks. Mom hid all the mirrors and put paper on everything which might show my reflection, saying I would collapse if I saw my ugly face. She was even afraid I might look at myself on the surface of miso soup. I heard this from her later.

The nipple of my left breast fell off, and from that area, green pus and blood kept oozing like magma. My left arm was hooked and the skin stuck together inside the elbow. I could neither extend nor bend my arm. My five fingers bunched up next to one another at the base and made a swollen red keloid. It split open, and pus and blood continued to come out of it. My hand was so ugly that nobody could look on it as human. Pus and blood were coming out of an awfully big wound on my left shoulder and arm, elbow to hand. The wounds on my right arm and both my legs were also open and I could see red flesh there, but I was relieved because I could manage to move them a little bit. Half of my back was also oozing pus and blood, and I suffered terrible pain and high fever day after day. My biggest sorrow was that I couldn't get my healthy body back, no matter how much I suffered and no matter what I endured.

My parents gently watched me around the clock, suffered together, and kept comforting me and cheering me up.
One day Mom showed me a daffodil, saying,"Look at this. Three leaves thinner than chopsticks have come out of a tube though it was trampled and crushed, and one single daffodil is blooming, protected by the leaves." She put it softly at my bedside. I felt like the daffodil was telling me to live, no matter how hard it was. "I never gave up and I have bloomed though I was trampled down just like you." Even as a fifteen year old, I was deeply moved and greatly comforted.
"OK, I'll never give up and I will live through. I'll live to bloom some day no matter how small a flower may be." I firmly decided to do that.

The next April pus and blood were still oozing out of my wounds and I was suffering from terrible dizziness and nausea every day. But I fought them off, cheered up by that single daffodil blooming. I was delighted and grateful to stay alive. Taking life one day at a time, I appreciated the support from those around me, which helped me remain alive.

Name of school: Hiroshima Girls' High School of Education - affiliated with Yamanaka Girls' School
Place of exposure to radiation: Outside of Miyake needle factory at Tenman-cho, Hiroshima (1.2 km [0.75 mile] from the hypocenter)
I owe what I am to my parents, doctors and the community of Okura.