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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Nori Tohei (male)
'Chokubaku'  4.1 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo
5207

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was exposed to the A-bomb on August 6th (1945), three days before my seventeenth birthday. I was working at Toyo Industry as a mobilized student. I began relief operations at the higher normal school of Hiroshima, immediately after the bomb.

On the way, I saw horrible appearances of the evacuating people: People coming down the street staggered and soon fell down onto the ground. All of them looked clothed in hung rags (later it turned out to be their peeled off skin.) A mother was looking for her child. It was surely a real hell on earth.

There were evacuating North Korean people, chanting their national song to cheer up a seriously injured victim on a wooden door stretcher. Most of them were somewhat injured themselves.

That morning, our professor asked us who wished to stay in the school nursery. I requested to stay, but there were so many students who wanted to stay, so I was rejected and forced to go to the factory instead. Those school mates who stayed there were later burnt to death.

I believe that their lives were handed over to me. I have been living for sixty years ever since.If their death can be remembered as "basis for a peace", "never to make such sacrifices again", "abolition of nuclear arms" and "never to bring about war" it will accomplish something. It's my penance for abandoning people who were calling for help under the collapsed house, who were crushed under it while at relief operations.

I have lived through every period of the war: prewar, middle of the war and postwar.
In these several years, looking at the present situation of Japan, I sense something similar to "prewar period". During the war, we were trained under the strong influence of militarism. Without any doubt, we acted in accordance with the government policy. Any ideology or a social movement against militarism were criticized using the words like "antinational", "traitor" or "unpatriotic".

The reason why I feel a sense of "prewar" these days is when the politicians labeled Iraqi detainees as "antinational". I will never forget the fact that those who were chanting the slogan of "antinational" during the war, have turned quickly to "democracy?" after the war.

There is a generation of people who didn't experience war. I think they are fortunate. To protect "peace and happiness" I want you to learn from history: nourish an eye for seeking the truth and the facts. People who want to use Nuclear arms try to hide the inhumane aspect of it. It's a devil's tool which cannot coexist with a human being. And they also insist that Nuclear arms can be used to maintain world peace. Strive to find strength to know the truth and act as soon as possible.
(2005)

The place where I was exposed to the A-bomb: Toyo industry company (four point one kilometers (4.1km) from the center of the explosion = written on an A-bomb victim hand book.)
Date of entry as a relief operation to Hiroshima city: August 6th from eleven a.m. to six p.m.
Place of a relief operation : Around the higher normal school of Hiroshima (one point five (1.5km) to one point seven (1.7km) kilometers from the center of the explosion.)
(2010)