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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yukio Yoshioka (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.5 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
4878

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was in the eighth grade at that time, working as a mobilized student at the munitions factory. We were under military orders to demolish buildings and houses in Kako-machi ― the seat of the Hiroshima Prefectural government ― 800m away from the center of the explosion. At that time, I was the leader of the class and the teacher in charge left it to me to divide my classmates into groups. The sub-leader of the class and I played rock-paper-scissors to decide which group would demolish buildings on what day. It ended up that the twenty or so people in my group were to go there on August 5 and the twenty or so people in the sub-leader's team were to go there on August 6. The students who went there on the day of the A-bombing were all dead within ten days, some of them killed instantly. This means that I killed my classmates ― a thought which tortured me for a long time.
My father and I were exposed to the A-bomb and suffered heavy burns on that day on the west side of Tsurumi Bridge. We suffered both mentally and physically for many years. In particular, my schoolmates' deaths deprived me of peace of mind. I tried to commit suicide several times.

As both perpetrator and victim, I feel that we should never again let war happen or permit the use of nuclear weapons, and so I've been doing what I can to participate in the peace movement. I think this is my way of atoning for what I did to my schoolmates and memorializing them.
Ten years from now, A-bomb victims like me will be dead. As hibakusha, I think it is our overarching mission to tell the next generation about the biggest crime ever committed in U.S. history: the dropping of the A-bomb.
(2005)