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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Kanae Oguma (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.5 km from the hypocenter / 22 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. Time flies. It is hard to believe that already 60 years have passed and I wonder how I have been able to survive so long. On the day before the bombing, I was visiting an old classmate and had stayed the night at her home. The next morning, when the A-bomb hit, I was buried under her collapsed wooden house. A young man passed by and rescued us but my friend had injured her right leg and her mother had seriously hurt her hip and couldn' t walk. I carried her mother on my shoulder and escaped barefoot to the closest river bank. At that river bank, we witnessed hell on earth. As night turned to day, my friend's younger brother (a student) told me that he would bring their mother to Seno. My friend and I went to the house of an acquaintance in Ujina Port Once public transportation recovered somewhat, I was able to return home to my parents in Koyaura. Back home, I was reunited with my youngest brother, a second year junior high school student, whose whole body was painfully burned.

His eyes and ears were still functional to some extent so he was happy to see me and to hear my voice. But he soon passed away on August 21st.

Life after my return to my father- and mother-in-law's house was tough. From time to time, my white blood cell count fell below 3000 and the doctors told my husband I don' t have long to live. Although I was informed of this much later on, my white blood cell count remains below the average still today.

From about five years ago, I began having problems with my bladder. I was treated at several hospitals, but two years ago I was finally told by a doctor at Hiroshima University Hospital that I would have to live with this disease for the rest of my life. Since I couldn' t control when I urinate, I couldn' t go out anywhere. One doctor told me this was a result of the A-bomb but I' m not sure.

The address of my friend's house, at 34 Ishimiya-cho, Hiroshima is 1.5 kilometers [0.9 mile] away from the hypocenter. My friend passed away seven years ago from lung cancer.

My bladder still bothers me today. One doctor told me that my bladder deformed as a result of being exposed to radioactity. Since my right leg was burned down to the bottom of my foot due to the bombing, I had no other choice but to accept my medical conditions. Within the last three years, my white blood cell count has increased closer to the value of an average female.

It hurts me to hear people say that hibakusha have been treated in a special manner; such people are blind to the fact that a great number of people suffered and died not by one's own will, but as a consequence of that war.

Now at 87, I pass my days still mourning the lives of those lost and waiting for my own calling from God.