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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Ryukei Omoto (male)
'Chokubaku'  4.5 km from the hypocenter / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Chiba
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The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. An interview with Ryukei Ohmoto

1. Which incident will never be erased from your memory of the atomic bombing?
At the time of the atomic bombing, I was near the window on the second floor of the factory where I worked as one of the mobilized students. Through the window, I saw a huge orange-colored flame rise up as the bomb exploded. It appeared as though the thunder clouds had curled up against the blue midsummer sky. The dreadful sight of the blast, which cannot be expressed in words, will never be forgotten.

2. What were your feelings about those who died in the atomic bombing?
Although severely injured, I miraculously survived the atomic bombing at the Mitsubishi factory where I was working as a mobilized student, and returned to our dormitory located 2 km from the hypocenter. Just then, one first year student reached the dormitory, completely exhausted after walking for nearly 2 km through the furiously burning town. He had gone there to assist the evacuation of houses near Hon River which was about 500 m from the hypocenter. He stood in front of us- the third year students, saluted us and reported, "I have just returned!" It was unbearable to see his miserably injured condition. His appearance was dreadful. I will never forget the shock and disbelief I felt on seeing him. I will also never forget my frustration at the hierarchical system and the prevailing education in Japan, which compelled the first-year student, despite his severe injuries, to report his return to the senior third-year students.
The student then continued begging us for water in his grunting voice "Water, please." But nobody gave him water, since we were told that a severely injured person would die very soon after on drinking water. Later, we heard that he and all the other students exposed to radiation died within a couple of days. Even now, we repent for not quenching his thirst.

3. What would you like to convey to the next generation?
It is inexcusable on the part of younger politicians without any wartime experiences to make thoughtless remarks in recent years. Japan's peace constitution contains the war-renouncing "Article Nine". The inscription on the Atomic-bomb Cenotaph in Hiroshima says, "Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil." This post-war pledge is the spirit and moral of our nation which maintains its steadfastness for peace. This is the only true road to peace. To retain the spirit and heart is to live up to the wish for peace desired by the Atomic-bomb victims. Going against this spirit and moral will lead us to repeat the same mistake again. Although it is said that history repeats itself, it should never be forgotten that actually it is people who repeat history.
(2005)