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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Hirokuni Takashima (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Saitama

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. That morning, while I was sitting in class during first period on the second floor of the wooden building of Hiroshima National Technical College, I recall hearing an explosion, but I do not remember hearing the air raid alert (the siren did not sound). I was preoccupied with taking notes on the teacher's lecture when all of a sudden, particles of light bounced on and off of my notebook without a sound, and then there was a large boom. I thought it was a blast bomb and dove under my desk right away, but the beam of the roof fell onto my back and I found it more and more difficult to breathe. I thought that I was going to die there, and all the events of my life flashed before my eyes like a phantasmagoria until I finally passed out.

I do not know how much time had passed, but I woke up, slowly regaining consciousness. The moment I realized that I was still alive, I told myself "I have to live through this." An intense desire to "live" and an eagerness to survive took over me. The school building was half destroyed and it was very dark around, but I was able to detect a small light far away. I pushed aside the broken boards to make a path, and although I knew it was impossible to escape through the tiny crack through which the light was shining, I frantically headed toward it. I saw the light grow bigger and bigger as I approached it, and when I finally got there, I found myself in the center of the partially destroyed school.

When I looked down on the first floor, I saw a big pile of boards stuck with countless nails, and I knew that if I jumped down I would either hurt my feet on the nails or break my leg. I looked around for a better way to escape and found a window. I looked at it more carefully and noticed that there were fragments of glass sticking out from the sill like a bunch of needles. Deciding that I would be better off hurting only my hands than risk getting a major injury jumping down, I started climbing down from the window, little by little. When I grabbed onto the windowsill, I felt the sharp glass stab my hands, and when I put my weight on my hands to hang down from the window, I felt the glass pierce my flesh to the bone, but I did not feel the pain. I believe I adjusted my grip two to three times as I climbed down.

As soon as I got myself down, I went into the air raid shelter next to the athletic field. Everyone there was covered in blood, and my own clothes were splattered with other people's blood and completely soaked red, so that there were hardly any traces of white left. After a while I started feeling sick, and guessing that it may be because some part of my own body was bleeding, I looked at the back of my arm. There were two places where shards of glass had ripped the flesh off and the bones were visible. I thought that my sickness was from the bleeding there, and ripped off a piece from a towel to cover the wound. There were also countless pieces of glass sticking into my back, but I was able to get a friend to remove them all. In the middle of the night, someone suddenly ran out of the shelter screaming. Then I heard the thump of a person falling to the ground; apparently the person ran out, and then fell dead. I put my palms together, facing the direction of the sound, and prayed for him.