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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Wataru Ishikawa (male)
'Chokubaku'  / 22 years old at the time / current resident of Aomori

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. 1. I was exposed to the A-bomb at the station of Army Ship Communications Reserve
Akatsuki 16710 Corps near the base of Hijiyama Hill, two kilometers from the hypocenter. When the air raid warning from the previous night cleared that morning, I dismissed the men in my unit so they could rest. I went to my room upstairs in the officers' quarters to prepare for my next duty.

The regiment was being reorganized and I was waiting to hear the announcement of the results from the regimental headquarters.

Just as I was reaching for my saber on the shelf in my room, I saw a huge thermal flash and lightning outside the window and the tremendous heat and bomb blast that followed brought unbearable pain to my nose and throat. I still remember that moment quite clearly and in detail and cannot forget the smell of the bomb smoke that filled the air. I was unable to make head or tail out of what was happening around me as I was made deaf and blind from the shock of the blast.

When I regained consciousness after being blown some three meters into the corner of the room which was darkened by the bomb smoke, a cloud of dust was falling from the ceiling, by what force, no one could tell.

2. I ordered my men to take shelter on Hijiyama Hill behind the regimental
headquarters building. There was not a drop of medicine or piece of antiseptic gauze at hand. We just shouted out to one another, "Hang on!" "Hang in there!" What else could we have done for those whose skin was hopelessly burned?

You may imagine how sad and remorseful I felt then --and still feel-- to recall those who passed away from such an agonizing death. 

3. A few days after the A-bombing, I was ordered to make my rounds on the adjacent
West Training Ground which was being used as a shelter.

As I was walking past the thousands of injured, I came across one man lying with his back bent under a charred sheet of zinc. I couldn't tell if he was alive or dead.

Feeling my presence, he extended his discolored reddish black hands full of blisters and burns and asked me for food. I was unable to look him in the eyes and left without doing anything at all.

Why couldn't I offer a helping hand to him? Every time I think back on that moment, I reproach myself. This has been my sincere feeling of remorse for the past sixty years.

Today, I fear that all those living on earth must exist in the face of the cruel wars and the proliferation of nuclear weapons going on at present.

I pray sincerely for the total abolition of nuclear arms.