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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Nobuyuki Teshima (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.7 km from the hypocenter / 13 years old at the time / current resident of Osaka

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. My Atomic Bomb Experience

I was living in a house at 66 Nobori-cho, Hiroshima, about one kilometer [0.6 mile] from the hypocenter, with my grandfather, mother, and younger sister. My father had been conscripted into the military and my younger brother had been sent to our mother's parents' house in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, next to Hiroshima Prefecture. I was in my second year at Koryo Junior High School, but spent my days demolishing houses as a mobilized student.

August 6, 1945 started out as a hot and clear day. Early in the morning we heard the air raid sirens, but the enemy planes seemed to streak over Yamaguchi and then head off toward the Sea of Japan, so the alarm was downgraded to a cautionary signal. Strangely enough, I had a feeling something bad was going to happen and I wanted to take the day off. However, at my mother's urging, I went off to the meeting place on the east side of the Hijiyama Bridge, about 1.5 kilometers [0.9 mile] from the hypocenter.
My classmates and I were lined up on the sidewalk by 8 a.m. for morning assembly before work began. Suddenly, the air raid sirens rang out and a B-29 appeared in the sky. The plane made a steep descent and dropped parachutes, then sped upwards and departed. After a while, there was an intense strong beam of light. I felt an immediate danger so I covered my face and ears with my hands, dropped to the ground, and then passed out. When I regained consciousness, I realized that I had been blown onto the central roadway and was trapped under a large cart. I couldn't see anything because of all of the dust.
Hearing some voices, I managed to find my way back to the sidewalk. From there, I saw that the moat that flowed under the Hijiyama Bridge was completely destroyed, buried in red brick. I jumped down onto the rubble to get to a nearby air raid shelter. Since the shelter I was looking for was originally built as an underground parking lot, I found that it remained intact. Some of my classmates had already fled there. Our clothes were tattered and smoking, so we tried to put out each other's fires. My back was burned and I was barely clothed. The back of my head was hurting, so I touched the area and noticed that I had no hair. It had all been burned off. The pain from my burned back was severe. When the dust cleared, our teacher instructed us to evacuate elsewhere. I looked toward the direction of our house only to see flames erupting, crumbled houses, and the structural remains of a few buildings. A massive mushroom-shaped cloud was billowing high into the sky and emitting lightning.

Because I saw fires burning ahead, I gave up on going home. Sensing the wind direction, I started walking south along the Ujina Line to find shelter at my school in Ujina. On the way, I saw hellish scenes of people fighting to get on a truck, severely wounded people lying on the ground, and children crying out and looking for their parents.
I was burned on the back of my head, ears, neck, arms, the back of my left hand, thighs, and my flimsily clothed back. I went to a prefectural hospital to get treatment for my burned back. The hospital was overcrowded with injured people. The treatment was simple: eliminate water from the blister and apply merbromin [mercurochrome]. When my treatment was complete, the doctor warned me that those with burns shouldn't go in the river or drink any water from it. There were so many dead bodies in the river, it was rumored that one would die if he or she entered it. A boy who resembled a red ogre with his swollen face covered in merbromin, called my name. At first I couldn't recognize him, but when he identified himself, I realized that he was my classmate.
I walked around my half-collapsed school. I also went to the police box on the Miyuki Bridge, which can now be seen in a famous photograph showing the aftermath of the atomic bomb. There were injured victims writhing around on the bridge. I received some dried bread that was being given out in front of the police box and went back to the school. The school was infested with mosquitoes, though, so I headed to Senda Park and spent the night there on the base of a bronze monument. The night sky was lit red by the fires burning in the city.

The next morning, my body felt too heavy for me to walk by myself. I managed to get to the school caretaker's house with my friend's help and then I was taken to a naval base immediately. There, the injured were dying one after another, right in front of my eyes. I still can't forget the last screams of a boy who was lying right next to me. When his parents found him, he cried out, "Mom, scary germs are coming after me! I'm so scared!" And then, as if he had been waiting to see his parents one last time, he let out his last breath. It made me feel even more anxious and scared.