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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshio Kawamura (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.5 km from the hypocenter / 20 years old at the time / current resident of Aomori
13151

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. In those days, I was serving in the Japanese army. I was on night guard duty, but I had a high fever. The doctor advised me that I had pleurisy, and I was then hospitalized in Room 121 of the No. 2 Branch Hospital #41 of the No. 2 Army Hospital at Motomachi, Hiroshima. Later on, I was transferred to the North third floor of the Japan Red Cross Hospital, No. 1 Army Hospital, at Sendamachi, Hiroshima. This is where I was hit with nuclear radiation and its poison.

I was seated looking out the hospital window just after finishing my breakfast. At that moment, a tremendous blue-white flash followed by an explosion and bomb blast hit us. I was blown out from our room toward the hallway. At the same time, I felt great pain on my back, like boiling water was being splashed all over me. I suddenly opened my eyes and then escaped from the third floor of the building. There was a yellow sandstorm all around me. I couldn't see anything, not even ten meters [about 33 feet] ahead of me. (Later I learned that this storm was in fact radioactive fallout).

Remembering the location of an air raid shelter, I walked toward it. When I reached the shelter, I heard groans and the cries of deathly pain mingled all together just as I entered. I couldn't bear such a miserable situation so I sat down in the shade nearby. Looking around, I noticed a young nurse who was dead next to me with her forehead broken open and turned a blue-black color. I couldn't judge what had happened to her or what I should do. It was then that I felt a broken piece of a wooden chair stuck into my back. It hurt, but I could somehow walk . As time went by, the yellow dirt storm gradually calmed down, and I was able to see a little ahead of me. Houses and buildings were smashed by the bomb blast and large fires were burning around me in all directions. It was really nothing else but hell on earth.

I said to myself, "I am alive, and I am going to be alive..." I was worried about my personal belongings at the hospital, so I kept my hand over the pain and walked up to my room on the third floor, barely making it. Inside, the ceiling was completely broken into pieces that were scattered all over the floor. The walls were smashed and the chairs broken into pieces, making it hard to walk in the room. I managed to find my daily necessities and underwear in my room and then looked out the window. The terrible shock I received was beyond expression.

Hiroshima, a city of four hundred thousand people, one of the six largest cities in Japan, had simply vanished from the earth. This is all I can say of what came to my eyes at that time. All that remained standing were the outer walls of the Hiroshima University of Science and Literature building and the Hiroshima Communications Bureau building along with the outer walls of the Japan Red Cross building. Whatever existed inside these buildings was completely destroyed. I am finishing my writing now, because I don't want to be reminded about what had happened at that time to the many victims of Hiroshima.
(2005)