JAPANESE

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Messages from Hiroshima

Fusae Nishitomi (female)
'Chokubaku'  2.8 km from the hypocenter / 20 years old at the time / current resident of Kanagawa
124

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. Ujina-Machi, Hiroshima, Akatsuki Unit No.2940 Headquarters Administration Department
Maiden Name: Mamiya (Age 20)
My father: Naokazu Mamiya (Age 67)

I heard that my father had been exposed to the black rain and that his clothes had turned black and peeled off in some places.
The faces of the dead bodies, swollen from the immense heat, all looked so similar that even family members found it impossible to identify them. I thought this was strange when I first heard about it, but I later realized that it was only to be expected.
The city I had been commuting to until just yesterday was now transformed into a dreadful, black landscape, but upon crossing the Aioi Bridge, I noticed a woman wearing a kimono and cradling a baby, immerged in a water bank placed there to extinguish a fire. I walked closer to them to see if they were alive, only to find they had not even suffered a single scrape though they were dead. I did not know why they were in the water and could only surmise that the explosion had blasted them out of the building. Even though I am a Buddhist, decades later, I began to wonder if that had not been a statue of Mary and Baby Jesus I had seen.
I strongly hope the world will think carefully about the fact that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki harnessed only a smidgeon of the power that the nuclear weapons of the present world hold, and yet they managed to destroy countless lives.

Most of the Japanese Members of Parliament today were born after the war, and I wonder how many of them have traveled to the museums in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. I, too, have not lived in Hiroshima since I got married in May, 1947 (prior to that, I had fled to the countryside). Still, last year, on August 6, I participated in a memorial service for the first time as Kanagawa's representative of the bereaved families. I will be turning 85 soon, and my life is nothing if not peaceful. I am the Chairwoman of the Yokohama Society of Survivors, and I share my story at elementary, middle and high schools. I am grateful to my deceased parents who blessed me with a healthy body, and I quietly pray that I will at least make it to the average age of life expectancy.
(2010)