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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshiko Yamaguchi (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.2 km from the hypocenter / 13 years old at the time / current resident of Kanagawa

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. My Hiroshima
I moved to Hiroshima on New Year's Day, 1945, due to my father's work. We settled in a big merchant's family's house, which had a wide entrance with a lobby and an old-fashioned storehouse in the yard. I heard the owner of the house had been evacuated.
Enemy airplanes aiming at a broadcasting station often flew over our house, almost touching the roof. Though we had not unwrapped most of the packages yet, we moved again to a suburb near the city. I was exposed to the A-bomb there in the summer when I was first year student of a girls' high school.
When I saw a beam of blue flash, I thought an incendiary bomb had fallen in the yard. But I was in the darkness when I recovered consciousness.

Gradually the darkness cleared and I found all the houses around there destroyed. I asked the neighbors to help me escape together with my younger brothers and sisters. About the time when we left home after my mother and I rescued my father from the rubble, fires had broke out in the neighborhood and already spread out. Though I heard voices crying for help, I couldn't do anything but just escape to the nearby river.

I spent that night carrying water with an iron pot with a hole to the people who had gotten burned all over and who were crying "Give me water! Give me water!" Next day the fires slowed down a little and we went to the East Soldiers' Training Center beyond Hiroshima Station, while searching for my brothers. Our family was able to get together there. I believe I could go to school again by the early fall.

Judging from the fact that even many people who had neither been in the city, nor been injured then broke down and died suddenly, we can tell the terribleness of being affected by the radiation. I myself could not think about tomorrow for more than ten years.

When I nearly reached the age of my life's turning point, I began to think that it was not good for me to spend my life in this way and that I should do something to prove I had lived here. Since I didn't think of anything special from the beginning, I undertook service work wishing that I could help others.
Sometimes I enjoyed the work but other times I had to admit my incompetence. But thanks to this, I haven't had enough time to worry about my own life and have gradually been able to think about the greater world so that I could better concentrate on the peace movement.

I guess that the many people who died in the rubble in Hiroshima without being taken care of by anybody have been the driving force for me to do this.
(Previously published text received 2010)