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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Shouso Hirose (male)
'Chokubaku'  4 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
11968

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. August 6, 1945, 7:30 a.m., I went to work at Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in Minami Kanon-machi. I started up an electric cart, and two drafted workers rode with me. We began to deliver meal ingredients inside the large plant. We were driving south down the mess hall, and the next moment, the three of us were suddenly blown away several feet as we saw an instant flash.

We found a refuge in an air raid shelter and wondered if the oil storage at the plant was bombed. All the students were told to gather around for a roll call. (In those days, dozens of Hiroshima Municipal Middle School students worked in Minami Kanon-machi, while the majority of students had evacuated to a plant in Hatsukaichi.) Since I commuted by bicycle, a teacher instructed me to report to the school that everybody was fine, except N, who injured his eye.

I biked to the north of the Prefectural Athletic Ground. Many A-bomb survivors were evacuating to the south. All of them had their arms outstretched and wore completely tattered clothes. That was an extraordinary sight. When I reached Kanon Hon-machi, I saw that all the buildings had collapsed and heard someone calling for help from underneath those rubble. I furiously pedaled the bicycle to get to Nakahiro.

When I arrived near Hiroshima Second Middle School (now Kanon Elementary School), an intense fire blocked my way. Not being able to move further ahead, I headed to Nishi Ohashi Bridge and finally reached Fukushima-cho. Many people were squatting down on both sides of the road as if they could no longer move. The black rain started coming down, and my white shirt quickly turned inky black from the raindrops.

I crossed Asahi Bridge and reached my house in Kogo Kita 3-chome.
The windowpanes were all shattered. In the garden, many evacuees were crouched down and eating the tomatoes from the family garden. They must have been thirsty. I told them to help themselves.
Because our neighbor was a doctor's office, there were many injured people gathering around my house. By the end of 1945, the number of victims rose to 371 (including five school staff members) among all the middle schools in Hiroshima. One hundred and sixty-five of them were missing and their bodies were never recovered. Among them, none of the six classes of the mobilized students from Koami-cho survived. Three hundred and sixteen (including one teacher) died and 142 of them went missing.

Memorial poetry, "Requiem", published August 6, 2008
[excerpt from p. 273, "The Records of the Middle School Student A-Bomb Victims in Hiroshima"]
(2010)