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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

K K (female)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 10 years old at the time / current resident of Saitama
1113

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I looked up at the clear blue sky and saw the silver glittering body of the Enola Gay and wondered, "Why is a naked electric bulb burning on the belly of the plane?" At that very moment, I found myself surrounded by an orange-colored light. Sparks were scattering all around and all the houses were completely destroyed at the exact moment some kind of bursting sound was heard. The girl students' clothes and skin were burned by the heat rays and hung down like wakame seaweed. Their hair was awry and had turned gray from the bomb blasts. Supporting each other, shoulder to shoulder, the girls ran as the mushroom cloud billowed behind them. All that was left on them was their white underskirts. The skins of their breasts were scorched and the exposed parts were nothing but reddish flesh. An old woman carrying her dead grandchild upside down on her back cried desperately over and over again, "Where are the enemy planes? Where are the enemy planes?" The scene is imprinted into my memory.

We managed to arrive at a vineyard for shelter. Hiroshima was burning red-hot in the darkness of night and the roars of the B-29s never ceased. With anger and hatred, men cried out, "The enemy has just arrived!" "They are spying on us!" Since I was only ten years old, I was stupefied without knowing what was happening then. It was not until I heard the men crying that I was filled with fear of being killed by bombings.

A few days later, I climbed over the heaps of burned rubble and headed for the hypocenter all by myself. On the road, I looked into the red burned streetcar and saw rows of white human bones reduced to ashes on the springs of what used to be seats. Probably because the flames had flared up so suddenly, a dying soldier remained leaning against the wall of the burned dark building. The nightmare seemed never-ending.

When I stand in front of the memorial at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, images of the friends of my early childhood appear to me, where they writhe in agony while enveloped in flames, finally soaring high into the sky. Some people, who have never experienced the atrocity of atomic bombs, insist that dropping the A-bombs on Japan was a necessary evil by claiming an unpardonable sophistry: "Dropping the A-bombs on Japan hastened the end of the war and eventually saved many lives in the world."

Nothing is more tragic than war. The executors of massacre may taste the relish of victory by using A-bombs. But A-bombing is absolutely a wrong that kills tens of thousands of people in a flash. At any cost, we must stop any nuclear test and explosion, and finally abolish A-bombs from the universe, the earth, and lives of human beings.

There is the possibility that I have been affected by atomic disease. I have so far undergone operations for cataract and pituitary gland tumor, and have had all my fibroids removed. I have been aching all over. Probably due to the aftereffects of the operations, I suffer from a floating feeling and neuralgia all day long. My life is filled with struggles and seems to be gloomy. On the contrary, though, I have the will to spend the rest of my life powerfully and cheerfully, trying to pass on my A-bomb experience to the next generation. For that, I will continue my attempts to paint the terrible scene of Hiroshima of August 6, 1945 in oils on large canvases (size 120) to the limits of my physical strength. I believe that is my mission. I will never cease to hope for a world without war.

The story of my A-bomb experience is endless. Since I am not a good writer, I feel that I cannot express it well in letters.
(2010)