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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Hiroshi Kittaka (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was in Senda-machi, Hiroshima Prefecture (less than 2 km [between 1 and 1.2 miles] from the hypocenter) when the atom bomb was dropped. We didn't have summer vacation at that time, and class had just begun. Just as my eyes were being dazzled by the flash of light and the huge boom was echoing in my ears, I found myself buried under the school building. I could see nothing before me but darkness, and I was plunged into the depths of despair.

A great number of glass fragments pierced my back, but luckily I was spared from death just then. Without understanding what had happened, I found myself being sent to Ninoshima Quarantine Station, where that evening I encountered a scene so ghastly that I couldn't bear to look at it. People burnt and blistered along the whole length of their bodies shrieked, "Water! Give me water!" Along with these cries were heard the groans of the severely wounded, who were everywhere. It was indeed the very picture of hell on earth.

It still pains me deeply to think of the horrific loss of life that night. Even now the scene is branded so deeply in my mind that I can never forget it. Until a few years ago, I could hardly speak about my bitter experiences, even to my children or grandchildren.

However, under the present circumstances, in which the number of atom bomb survivors is decreasing, who on earth will convey the magnitude of this tragedy to the next generation? I am one of those survivors, and I have become keenly aware of the seriousness of my responsibility. Since then, I have decided to make it a rule to speak up about it to my friends and acquaintances, or in meetings. This is because I want as many people as possible to understand how dreadful nuclear weapons are, and I hope to be of help in creating a peaceful world where there are no wars or nuclear weapons.