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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Kiyoshi Kagawa (male)
'Chokubaku'  4 km from the hypocenter / 19 years old at the time / current resident of Tottori

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. An A-bomb Survivor's Memories
Memories of the A-bomb in Hiroshima
In April 1945, I joined the Army Marine Regiment Headquarters Akatsuki Corps in Moji as a commissioned soldier; in June, I was dispatched to the Artillery, where I worked in Squadron 9 of the Akatsuki Corps 6180 Regiment in Ujina. On June 20 of the same year, Kure was bombed by the U.S. Army's Grumman combat planes. The bombing lasted three days. From the grounds of our base, I could see the enemy's combat planes very well in the sky before me. It was dangerous because fragments of anti-aircraft shells rained down from the sky.

In the same year, on July 1, my squadron moved to Tanna Base. Starting July 29, the U.S. Army's B-29s came around 9 a.m. to reconnoiter above Hiroshima every day for a week. On August 6, after morning assembly roll call, I was cutting tree branches to disguise our barracks. At 8:15 a.m., I saw a B-29 had dropped a soda-can-like thing with a parachute, and I looked at the sky. At that moment, the "can" emitted hot light, followed immediately by a huge blast-driven wind that knocked me down. My military cap was blown off, and when I forced myself to lift my head, I saw a mushroom-like cloud in the sky above Hiroshima. A big fire broke out in the city, so the squadron went to rescue people right away. We wore our military uniforms and went to public offices, Hiroshima University, the Monopoly Office, around the bank that bears that person's burned-in figure, and in front of Hiroshima Station. There were dead bodies standing up right in the city train. I helped the injured soldiers and citizens every day for six days.

Hiroshima kept burning for three days and four nights. Utility poles along the roads bent in the middle, roadside trees turned brown due to the bomb's nuclear rays and were split or blown down by the blasts, electric cables snapped, and water pipes broke and leaked. Glass fragments got into people's joints even when they were inside, and people who were outside had burns on their faces, arms, and legs. It was horrible.

Surgeons treated the injured. They looked after soldiers in the morning and civilians in the afternoon. However, they could only extract glass fragments with needles and tweezers using no anesthesia, applying mercurochrome afterward. They applied a mixture of baby powder and fish oilto the wounds of those burned by the blast, then wrapped the burns in gauze.

After that, we gathered the A-bomb dead for three days. Because of the heat, maggots were crawling on the skin of the dead. We cremated the dead at the crossroads square, but really only managed to half-burn them; we had to do so to stop the maggots from appearing in such numbers, but it was brutal. The Akatsuki Corps's military horses had been killed by the A-bomb; we cooked one of their legs and for ten days ate horse rice, horsemeat soup, and boiled horsemeat, with the leaves of sweet potato vines for our vegetable.

We lost the war. I returned to Akatsuki Corps, and in September, I was demobilized.
(Previously published text received 2010)