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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Michiko Matsui (female)
'Chokubaku'  2.5 km from the hypocenter / 9 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. I hate nothing more than being called an A-bomb survivor, a "hibakusha." I do not tell my story in public as a "kataribe" A-bomb witness. I just can't do it. On August 6, 1945, one bomb took away my parents, my grandparents and everything dear to me. I was just ten years old. I was in our house when it collapsed in flames on top of me. Though my back was embedded with broken glass and I was bleeding badly, I tried to find my parents. I kept searching for them and, thirty-nine days later, I finally found them under the burned remains of our house. But what I found were their bones.

I was left alone because I had no siblings. It took all I had just to survive. Why don't I tell my story as a "kataribe"?
I magine a ten-year old child who has dug her parents' bones out from under the burned-out ruins of her own house. I cannot speak again and again of such a hellish experience in front of others. My heart would break.

At one time, however, I travelled around the country and told my A-bomb experiences at gatherings like workers' meetings. But every time the audience seemed to listen to my story as if it were a past event which had nothing to do with them. Nobody can ever understand my story without experiencing what I have, I thought to myself, and I stopped telling my story.

War makes people crazy. I do not blame only the U.S. Everything stemmed from war itself. At present, the world seems to be outwardly peaceful, but a lot of countries in the world are seeking to become nuclear powers, which means that any country can be the victim of nuclear weapons. I am so scared when I think of the result if this continues.

When I was exposed to the A-bomb, I was ten years old. Now I am already seventy-five. I forget things a lot these days, but I can never get the A-bomb experience out of my mind.

Even now, whenever news about the A-bomb comes on TV, I turn it off right away. On August 6 every year, a lot of well-known people including the prime minister attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony. However, August 6th must not become just "A-bomb Commemoration Day". If this ceremony is just a matter of form, then I do not want anybody to participate in it. August 6 was the terrible day on which my life was entirely changed. I am afraid of anything that might lead to war, including the issue of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma in Okinawa. I want everyone to think seriously about these matters.