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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Kiyoshi Katahara (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.2 km from the hypocenter / 12 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. It has been 60 years since the atomic bomb, which is a special anniversary in our culture.
I was 12 years old then (6th grade at a national elementary school), and the 3rd to 6th grade pupils were evacuated to another place from April that year. I didn't join them but stayed in Hiroshima, since I had a little sister who was still in 1st grade, though both of us intended to evacuate to relatives before long.
The school buildings were being used for military purposes to accommodate the soldiers who were leaving from Ujina Port, but on that day, August 6th, the buildings were vacant and we had to go to school.

However, that day I happened to have a high fever and tonsillitis from a summer cold so I couldn't go to school.
I was lying on a futon with my head covered by a blanket. It was this that made the difference between life and death. I survived without getting burned or injured. Elementary school kids in grades 1 and 2 like my little sister were studying in various temples. She left for school before 8 a.m. on that day. My mother also survived and went out to look for my sister, but she was prevented by the fires burning everywhere. The area where my sister must have been was a sea of flames. I thought there was no chance since a lot of burned people were running toward us. I pulled my mother's arms against her. It was I who left my sister in the lurch. After that, my mother walked around looking for my sister all the time.

In Heisei 5 [1993], my mother passed away at the age of 97, searching for my sister till the end without making a grave for her daughter.
Her sorrow is well expressed in the lyrics of the song "A Mother of Hiroshima" (song by Masao Koga, lyrics by Miyuki Ishimoto, sung by Chiyoko Shimakura). I hope everyone can listen to the song again and pray for peace together.

Looking back, it's really a miracle that I'm still alive, saved by many coincidences. It makes me shiver. My strong hope is that all the wars, violence, and weapons will disappear from this world, but I sometimes feel that I am too old and helpless, which frustrates me.
Please, young people, convey my message to the future generations that wars are truly a tragedy and cruel.