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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yasushi Ogasawara (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo
13002

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. 1. [[What I will never forget is that]] I hurried along without giving a hand to women and children, both seriously injured and dead, who had evacuated from the fire to the foot of Hijiyama Hill. That was after I had finished taking care of my injured friends. I was rushing toward the area where my lodging house was located, which was apparently on fire. I still feel wholly ashamed of myself that I couldn't help them.

2. [[My feelings toward the A-bomb victims]] My best friend whom I went to the same elementary and middle school with was exposed to the A-bomb only about one kilometer [0.6 mile] from the hypocenter. His entire face was burned."Uppiaa... too bad I had to go looking like this," he uttered in our provincial accent pointing at his burned face, and then died. When I heard these last words of his, I couldn't help openly sobbing .

3. [[My message for the next generation]] This type of nuclear bomb must be possessed as a deterrent only by a limited number of countries in the world. It should never be used again. [Once used,] the damage to civilians far exceeds that to the military. It is cruel and inhumane. The number of young women who survived the A-bombs but committed suicide later has been concealed,too. I believe the number of such suicides in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would further reveal how cruel and inhumane the A-bomb is.

On that day, I was on my way to school―the Hiroshima Municipal Technical College (present Faculty of Engineering, Hiroshima University). Getting off the streetcar at Matoba Station, I had been walking for five or six minutes already toward my college when the A-bomb exploded. Although I felt the heat blast on my entire face, and felt extremely hot, I was spared from being burned since I had just stepped into the shadow of a two-story house. A friend of mine, walking only fifty meters [about 164 feet] behind me in the sun, got his left side seriously burned. Another friend of mine got his face injured by a roof tile that was blown off by the blast.

To help these two friends who were injured, I went to look for a doctor and finally found a doctor's office in Niho. When we got to the office, the sky turned dark and the black rain began. We were fortunate that we weren't caught by the rain. However, I smelled a terrible odor in the air and was afraid it might be from a poison gas bomb.

I was relieved extent little that my friends had gotten some treatment, but I couldn't return to my lodging house in Senda-machi. Viewed from the Miyuki Bridge in Minami-machi, the entire area was burning furiously. Military Police (MP) officers were controlling the survivors and I was told that I had better go back to my parents' and wait. The MP gave me a war-time disaster certificate together with some crackers. I went to Hiroshima Station first but heard that no trains could possibly be running. So I walked all the way, passing Mukainada, as far as Kaitaichi [6.4 kilometers (about 4 miles) east of Hiroshima]. Finally,on the first rescue train for the A-bomb survivors, in the late afternoon I returned to my parents' place (Ootsuno, Fukayasu-gun in the vicinity of Fukuyama―presently Daimon-cho, Fukuyama) [about 100 kilometers (about 62.1 miles) east of Hiroshima].

Probably because I had inhaled the bad gas from the A-bomb, I had diarrhea for three weeks continuously after coming home, lost eight kilograms [17.6 pounds], and had little appetite. By the end of August, however, I recovered somewhat. The feeling of malaise lasted for six months afterward.

Every summer since then, I frequently fell ill and felt extremely exhausted to a level I had never experienced before. I didn't know why in the earlier years. But gradually I learned that this must be one of the so-called after-effects of the A-bomb. (I wish I could get over this.) It was twenty years later that I learned that my level of white blood corpuscles was half the normal amount.
(2005)