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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Kuniko Sasaki (female)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 24 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. The Atomic-bomb Dome and I

Sixty years have passed since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. At the instant of the bombing I was at home in Minami Kanon-cho, which is 1900 meters from the hypocenter. We lost our father, who was the breadwinner of the family, and everything including our house and household goods which were burned up. Hiroshima, immediately after that instant was so tragic and disastrous that I cannot find the words to describe it. Even now I cannot shake off the memory of that sight.

My father, Masajiro Hirao, was operating a company named Hirao Kogyobu in Yoshijima-cho, Naka-ku. He was on his way to visit the Hiroshima Prefectural Office and in the train at Dobashi Naka-ku when he was exposed to the radiation. Because he was inside the train car he suffered no burns, but the back of his head was lacerated by broken glass. He returned back to us, hemorrhaging badly. Since we had lost our house, we had to rent a friend's house at Kabe Miiri, Asa-kita-ku. He received treatment there, however, he passed away on August 15th.

I was raised in Tsukamoto-cho, (Honkawa-chiku, Naka-ku), which was on the other side of the river, where the current A-bomb Dome is located. When I was young, it was called Exhibition Hall. (The official name of the current A-bomb Dome was Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.) The round steel frame of the upper part of the Dome was made by the company which had been managed by my father, and based on the design of Jan Letzel, a Czech architect. My father told me this story and took me there often to see exhibits held there.

I have learned that the A-bomb Dome is going to be registered as a World Heritage site so that it can, continually, remind people of the fear of the atomic bomb. The fact that the dome, built by my father, and still standing at the hypocenter of the atomic bomb, will be used as a symbol of the realization of the importance of world peace, has touched my heart.

It was said that in Hiroshima no grass or trees would grow for 75 years. However, Hiroshima citizens have achieved a magnificent recovery. When I have a chance to visit Hiroshima, I spend some time in front of the A-bomb Dome and pray for a very long time. As I do this, my father's face and the dome become one, and I can hear his voice saying, "Do not fight whatever the situation."

It is my heartfelt hope that we can achieve abolition of nuclear arms, as symbolized by the A-bomb Dome, and that we will realize a peaceful world where we do not have any disputes.