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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yukie Matsumoto (female)
'Chokubaku'  3 km from the hypocenter / 14 years old at the time / current resident of Nara

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. After all these years, I still can't forget all the things I experienced.

After being separated from her mother, the little girl was left alone. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she pleaded with me to hold her in my arms as if she wanted to be reminded of the warmth of her own mother. Then she begged me to sing a song for her. I asked, "What kind of songs you want?" She replied, "I want to listen to military songs."

When I think back on that moment, I am always struck by the tragedy of a five or six year old requesting martial music to send her to sleep. Military lullabies. What had happened to our world? In that critical life threatening moment, she could not name any children's songs to carry her into dreams.

I can't help feeling sad even today when I think of my friends; those who stayed with me, until they breathed their last. They remain forever young in my memories. Their faces as I remember them are those of twelve or thirteenth years old.

What happened that day in Hiroshima will remain alive in my heart for the rest of my life. I think that we hibakusha or A-bomb survivors have an obligation to keep using our experiences of the atomic bomb to bring about prayers for peace.

We have tried many ways to remind people of the horrors of nuclear war. Each year we visit elementary schools and other places where the young gather. We are after all, living witnesses to the A-bomb. We talk about the A-bomb to awaken curiosity and interest, but more importantly, to arouse an earnest wish for global peace.

After all it is the children we talk to now, who are the next generation of leaders.

Since then, we have continued our activities of talking as A-bomb living witness. But our activities have become a heavy physical and mental burden as we get older.

Sometimes, indiscreet opinions reach our ears. They hold that no matter how hard we push, our efforts are a waste of time, because nuclear weapons will always be with us. There are times when our hearts are broken. As living witnesses, we do however also receive encouraging responses. We sometimes also receive letters from elementary school students. I was delighted when I heard of a student at a women's college who submitted a warm hearted report to her college.These events have encouraged us to keep doing the best we can until we can no longer move.

Our activities are small-scale, but we must keep talking to the coming generation who do not know the horrors of war and atomic bombing.

I have added that as I wanted to encourage all the other living witnesses who feel exactly the same way to join us and not give up.