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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Hayato Yamaguchi (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 19 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
5578

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I'd like to share my memories as I recall them. Group Leader Sergeant Terada had turned into a skeleton at his desk in his office. Private First Class Otsuka was blown to the top of the pine tree which was standing by the gate of the base camp, and lay dead with torn military uniform and skin. A mother with her infant child in her arms was slammed into the road and lay dead there. A Military Academy Preparatory School student died, smashed into a street gutter. Soldiers were laid out on the sand in the open area of the barracks. It was completely filled with injured soldiers. One soldier's skull stuck out because half of the skin on his head was ripped off. One soldier walking around in a daze suddenly collapsed. I remember carrying a soldier to a hospital in Mitaki. He had a hole through from his stomach to his back, and every time he breathed, it made a strange wheezing sound. We put him on a cart and tied him to it with rope, so he wouldn't fall off. A girl whose forehead was split open was asking people, "What does my face look like?". A lady who had been pierced all over her body with splinters of glass had fled from Ujina to Futabanosato. A nurse blown from the Military Hospital to the embankment of the Sixth Corps was burned to death.

There were wounded soldiers and even those that were not wounded, out in front of the Second Corps. All of them stayed there without moving, and just asked for "Water, water, water…". A horse had been burned to death in the stable. I saw Hiroshima Castle completely flattened as though it was stepped on by something from above. A train was burned. Countless injured people were in the burned store Fukuya. I remember the strange smell.

I remember seeing First Sergeant Hamamoto, his face was so swollen that I could only tell it was him by his voice. And the image of people who had been working without clothes whose burnt skin hung from them like rags. The Toshogu Shrine was up in flames when I got up after lying low. A mountain of skulls of cremated dead soldiers was piling up. I remember what a bizarre scene it was lit up by moonlight. One father died because there wasn't any way of treating, or medical compensation, for people who were made sick by entering Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped. A woman came from Shimane prefecture to Hiroshima by foot looking for her child, and I won't forget her words and her face, when she said, "Ahh, so indeed there is no hope".

I believe it was on August 7, that I saw five soldiers who were B-24 crew walking along, accompanied by two Japanese soldiers. The American soldiers were wearing flight uniforms and were walking without any wounds. On the same day in the evening, I saw a baby-faced American soldier, who was not even 20 years' old, dead with no clothes on, on a burned tin board. As the dead body was dragged by two Japanese soldiers, I could hear a rattling sound. I don't think he was killed by the A-bomb, but that he was murdered because his country had dropped the bomb.

How cruel. It must have been so difficult, and regretful. The only thing that I can do for them is to pray their souls may rest in peace.

Right now, we can't even hope for a world without war. But no matter how hard people say it is to abolish nuclear weapons, I want every effort to be made to try. We should have renewed awareness of radiation from nuclear power plants, and I hope for greater effort to be made to improve nuclear industry workers' safety.
(2005)