JAPANESE

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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshiko Kamikawa (female)
'Chokubaku'  3 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
8586

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. Right after the A-bomb dropped, total darkness surrounded me. It felt like I lost possession of my eyes and ears. It was as if I was drawn into another world -- one without sound! When I woke up, I had no idea what had happened. As if a curtain was rung up at a theater, my surroundings gradually came back into view. Houses and buildings around me all vanished (they were squashed), so I could see the three small shacks in the green-onion field beyond my workplace! These were storage for farm equipment, and all were reeking billowing white smoke. As I was looking at them absent-mindedly, they suddenly turned into fireballs. With a jolt, I came back to myself. What happened? What really happened…? I began to remember little by little. First, I was encircled by orange-color flame, which was slightly warm. What did I do then? Most likely, I was blown off by the bomb blast and lost consciousness.

Many of my co-workers were injured and some were killed. I lost my dear friend. I saw her body covered with a corrugated sheet to avoid Black Rain. For some reason I didn't cry and somebody told me: "You are a cold-hearted girl." Whenever I recall this remark, I get overwhelmed with sorrow. I wondered myself why I was tearless in the face of my beloved friend's death. Now I know that people could get lost in grief. Looking back on it now, I know I was too sad to cry.

There are many other things I should tell... Among the bodies arranged in a row was a terribly burned female figure, which reminded me of a roasted eggplant. And, I saw a baby wriggling beside her, trying to reach its Mother's breasts. Why didn't I hold the baby in my arms? I still regret this, but I just couldn't do anything at the time… Writing these things, I get all choked up inside. I am sad, frustrated, and almost lose myself in regret. I shall write more next time.
(2005)