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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Toshimi Nakano (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 14 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. In 1943, I entered Matsumoto Commercial School which was in Onaga Hiroshima. The course of the war became more severe, and the school changed the name to "Matsumoto Engineering School (current Setouchi High School)". I was required to work more and more days under the labor service order at the factory. I was working at the factory as a mobilized student when I experienced the atomic bomb. Many of my classmates lost their precious lives at the mere age of 14 or 15.

I was a 14-year old middle school student then, and two classes (120 students) were recruited to work at Saeki Industries in Funairi-machi in order to manufacture internal combustion engines for the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Hiroshima Shipyard.

The A-bomb was dropped right after the morning assembly and when we had just started to work. The factory collapsed, and I was buried under the buildings. I was unconscious, and (when I was found), I was taken to the Military Hospital to be treated for the 12 centimeter wound on my head. An all-purpose triangular bandage and gaiter was used on my wound as an emergency measure. I remember going in and out of the air raid shelter about two times at midnight, together with hundreds of other injured because of the air raid alert and air raid warning. The following morning, my father and my older brother came to pick me up at the Military Hospital in Eba. My friend had informed my family about my whereabouts, and they came to Eba via Koi station because it was not possible to take the roads in the city center. It was not very easy for them to find me at the Military Hospital, since many of the people's faces were covered in black substances. (I had blood over my face from the wound on my head, and dust covered the blood).

My memory is in patches, but I remember taking the bicycle home from Tokaichi-Yokokawa-Ooshibadote in the afternoon, when it was finally possible to take the road in the city center. I road my bicycle through the burned-out city, trying to avoid the corpses scattered around. I could see smoke still coming out from the rubble. Our neighbor had kindly come to meet us half way.

When I returned home (to the current Asaminamiku-Higashino), my grandmother was grinding rice using a rice mortar which is operated by foot, in preparation for a funeral, because she thought I had passed away. On the third day, I became fully conscious again. Fortunately, a pediatrician had evacuated from the city center of Hiroshima to our neighborhood, so I was able to receive treatment for pus and maggots in my wound, and I fully recovered within three months The doctor visited my house every day to sterilize the wound.

※ A-bomb survivors often say "I do not want to die unless I see that all nuclear weapons are abolished from the world." However, most A-bomb survivors are already much above the average age of life expectancy.

I sincerely hope that everyone of the younger generation will remember the stories of the A-bomb survivors somewhere in their minds, and take one step forward in making a better future ― a world without nuclear weapons.