The text area starts here.

  • Before reading this site

Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Takiko Okamoto (female)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 14 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. It was the summer of my second year in girls' school. I was thinking of going to use the restroom just as the bell rang and called us to assemble for war labor. I so happened to be in the shade just then, and wasn't burned. I ran in circles around the restroom several times. It quickly grew dark, and I was soon standing alone in that darkness. There was an unspeakable silence. Soon it grew light. When I looked, the school building had collapsed, and students were caught beneath the rubble. They reached out with their hands, saying, "Help! Help!" The dormitory was already ablaze.

I went to the school gate, and saw students surrounding a teacher. They cried and clung onto the teacher, saying, "Teacher, help us! Help us!" The teacher replied that he himself could not walk either. There were people with terrible burns and blisters so bad that I couldn't make out their faces. When I turned to the side, there were a number of students who could not get up, and were just lying on their backs. I saw a teacher, badly afflicted, vomiting blood.

Helpless, I went over to Hijiyama Girls School toward Mount Hiji. There, many charred bodies were laid atop one another in the school ground. A baby was crawling on top of the heap. That, if nothing else, still remains in the eyes of my mind. I lined up to receive a ration of biscuits from some soldiers, and spent the night in an air raid shelter at Mount Hiji. That night, everyone was crying, "Mr. Soldier, give me water. Mr. Soldier, give me water." Amazingly, I was the only one who wasn't burned. People around me were crying and wailing even inside the shelter. "It hurts, it hurts. Mr. Soldier, give me some water!" They were admonished that they would die if they drank any. The bomb happened on August 6.

On August 7, I walked by myself to Port Ujina in Hiroshima. Because there were no boats to Kamagari, I went by boat from Port Yoshiura to Port Kure, then took a train back to Kamagari in the city of Kure on the 7th. The people back home were shocked. Looking back on it, I must have been a tough little girl. This atomic bombing took place 60 years ago, and I still cannot forget it. When my grandchildren were young, I would tell them stories about it.

I have lost my agility as I've aged, but I still enjoy life each and every day through hobbies like flower arrangement, gardening, cooking, dancing, and karaoke. This is an off-hand record of the atomic bomb. Thank you.