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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshiko Hidaka (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.7 km from the hypocenter / 6 years old at the time / current resident of Shimane

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. That morning, before going to school, I dropped by my neighbor's house. I wanted to show them the clothes that my mother had made for me. It was just at that moment, on the stoop of their home, that I was injured. It took eleven stitches to sew up the cuts left by the glass shards embedded around my right eye, but my eye itself was unhurt and, thankfully, sixty years later my vision is still unimpaired. My mother, brother, and I headed for a hospital in Ujina. She was 29 years old and took my 2-year-old brother by the hand. On the way, we saw a junior-high-school boy stripped of all his clothes, his skin peeled off, crying for his mother. I can never forget that boy.

A lot of people were waiting in front of the hospital, but my mother stubbornly insisted that my eye injury demanded immediate attention. So, I got to see a doctor right away. I didn't lose my sight because the cut just missed my eye by 1mm. Since my father was away fighting the war, it was the sheer vitality of my mother that saved us. She is now 89 years old. I owe her so much.

While scouting around food for us, my mother got dysentery. She was taken to the rooftop of Fukuya Department Store and survived on tea and pickled plums(umeboshi) for a while. When Mother came back to my uncle's house in Aosaki, she was infested with lice. She then built a shack on a burned lot and the three of us started a new life there. Other families just like us were there, as well as rabbits and weasels. I really appreciate my mother, who was always tough. The A-bomb turned many people's lives upside down. So let's try to build a peaceful world without war.

I will never forget that morning. Nothing is more frightening than war.
We had heard that no plants would ever grow in the burnt ground, but we grew some vegetables. I remember we removed roof tiles scattered on the ground and planted tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, and sesame plants. Today, there are many people who don't take good care of their children but a mother is capable of everything she needs to care for her children.

Once again, this is my message: Let's work to achieve the total abolition of nuclear arms and create a world without war. I believe dialogue is most important. When I am asked to speak about my experiences as an A-bomb survivor, the audiences are surprised that I am a survivor. I am now 72 years old and in very good health and I will try to maintain a youthful mind and continue with our efforts in this area no matter what happens.