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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Tamiko Nishimoto (female)
'Chokubaku'  2.3 km from the hypocenter / 4 years old at the time / current resident of Ishikawa

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was a child of four but I do still clearly remember the exact moment when the atomic bomb exploded, like a dream of being immersed in a blinding, silvery white light. I cannot forget that next moment when roof tiles were falling onto my head in the darkness and my mother immediately pulled me to the closet and covered my small body with hers.

We took refuge in a vineyard in Ozu and slept there in the open for three days. I ate the unripe sour grapes hanging in front of me because the dry biscuits distributed to us were not enough to fill my stomach. Although my mother said I must have dysentery because I developed a fever, diarrhea and vomiting as a result, I now think it must have been acute symptoms from the radiation. Though I was at about the same distance from the center of the explosion as Sasaki Sadako, who was two years old at the time and who developed leukemia in the sixth grade, I am blessed to have survived and to have two children and three grandchildren who were a comfort to me when I was hospitalized due to the suspicion of lung cancer. As a survivor of the atomic bomb who must bear the burden of those who did not survive, I go to schools, offices and overseas to make known the real facts of the atomic bomb and to appeal for the total abolition of nuclear arms.

Although I am not sure how much time I have left, I will keep appealing that humankind absolutely cannot coexist with nuclear arms. I believe this to be my duty as one who has been allowed to go on living.

Last April, President Obama spoke about the moral obligations of the only country on earth to have used nuclear weapons and he declared the goal of a world where nuclear arms do not exist. He later received the Nobel Peace Prize. He must take responsibility to ensure that his words become actions.

It may be difficult to realize the goal during our time, but I do hope it can be done while we A-bomb survivors are still alive.

Even while we A-bomb survivors suffer unjust discrimination, we continue to speak up about our experiences and appealing to the world that nuclear arms and humanity cannot coexist because we are determined to ensure the survival of humankind. I ask the leaders of all countries to visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I ask President Obama to pay respects to the dead at the memorial cenotaph, to listen to our stories and to apologize from the bottom of his heart.

NOTE:Mrs. Nishimoto, Sasaki Sadako was two years old on August 6, 1945. When she developed leukemia in the sixth grade, she declared her hope that she would find peace and happiness if she could fold one thousand paper origami cranes, according to a long-standing Japanese practice for prayer and mutual encouragement. Her story was told by Eleanor Koerr in Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and she is the model for the Children's Peace Monument in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.