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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshiko Yamaie (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.5 km from the hypocenter / 11 years old at the time / current resident of Hyogo

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was on my way to school when the atomic bomb was dropped. To reach my home from the station, it was necessary to cross a steel bridge. As I was just ten years old at the time and the gap between planks was wide, I had to stretch to get across. That day, the planks were on fire from the blast and I ran across frantically. Even now I often recall the many people floating in the river.

Mother was dead. From our grandmother's house in the countryside, my father, elder sister, and I visited the burned ruins of our home in Hiroshima many times. When we finally found her gold tooth and a handful of bones, I realized that I would never see my mother again. My sister and I then clung to each other and cried for a long time; it feels like just yesterday. We had lost our mother, who was so very very dear to us. We spent a whole year just crying. Why did innocent people have to endure such a tragedy? War is nothing but destruction and hatred. I want to live in peace in a peaceful world.

It is said that 80 to 90% of society belong to the generations that have not experienced war. I speak in schools and other venues to tell them that there was a cruel war in the past and young people with dreams lost their lives and children cried out "Mother! Mother!" as they died. I explain that behind today's peace are many victims of the past and that we must never go to war again. Everyone listens intently in silence and writes their responses. I speak of how we must honor peace. (I also put on kamishibai (illustrated storytelling) performances at the Amagasaki A-Bomb Victims Association.)

More than sixty years have passed since the atomic bomb was dropped.
There is still war in this world, and people are still killing each other in cruel ways.
When I consider the situation, I am filled with despair.
Why do people kill each other? Why can't we take one another's hands and live in peace? That will be an eternal question that will remain with us as long as mankind lives on this planet, won't it?