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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Satomi Maeda (female)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 14 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
11006

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. My experience as an A-bomb survivor
It was at 8:15 a.m. on August 6 in 1945 when I was pushed into the depths of the horror. It was a hot day with searing heat with not a single cloud in the sky.
As a mobilized student, I commuted by train every day from Yokogawa-cho to Kanon-machi where the Mitsubishi Machine Factory was located. "Good morning. Let's work hard today, too." Young and lively greetings were exchanged, and everyone was dressed before our work started. Then, with a large crashing sound, the ceiling fell down, and I was buried under the building. I couldn't make a single move and I struggled. "Please help me! Please, anyone!" I fainted and went unconscious.

I had no idea how much time had passed. When I looked around, people were bloody, burned, groaning, and going crazy. As far as I could see, it was full of injured people. After several hours, I was at last rescued. When I became conscious, I was in a clinic in front of the factory. I waited for a long time, and finally got my turn. However, there was no medicine. Nothing was available there. My forehead was wrapped with a piece of cloth torn from some ragged cloth picked up nearby. My forehead was torn open, and the skin hung down on my face. I couldn't keep one of my eyes open. (It turned out later that I had about 15-centimeter [about 5.9 inch] laceration on my forehead.) I spent as many as two days in a bomb shelter at the factory, and on the third day, my sister finally visited me. During those two days, I was only given two rice balls to eat. My sister and I walked toward our home in Yokogawa-cho. The summer uniform that I was wearing was stained red with blood and was in tatters. I had lost my shoes, and so had to walk on the asphalt with bare feet.

The city area that had been completely burned down was full of rubble. Smoke was coming out from the remains of burned houses, and the town of Hiroshima was completely changed with no mercy. Even on the third day after the bombing, on both sides of the streets, there were countless numbers of people groaning, struggling and falling down. Some people were still alive who had been piled among those who were people. I saw them about to die and wriggling. It must have been so hot because some people put their heads into water tanks and were lying on top of one another like burned dumplings, burned. I also saw burned passengers who remained sitting on the seats of a burned train. It was truly a living hell.

Our house in Yokogawa-cho had completely burned down, so my sister and I walked along the train tracks of the Kabe Line until where we reached Yasumura, where our seriously injured father was waiting. My forehead badly ached as time passed by, and I finally went to a nearby clinic on the fourth day. However, there was absolutery nothing in the clinic, including no medicine. There were so many injured people in the clinic too. The skin of the those who had burned started to rot in about ten days, and maggots came out from their skin. Waching people die one after another, I started feeling anxious and kept thinking about how I should live from then on. My father was also crushed under the house and vomited blood for as long as fifty days. Somehow, he survived miraculously escaped death then.

Based on my experience as an A-bomb survivor, I have spoken with children about various things each year before August 6. I talk about the preciousness of life and the horrors of war. I always stress the importance of peace…
(2010)