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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Takao Uematsu (male)
'Chokubaku'  2.5 km from the hypocenter / 14 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
459

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was exposed to the A-bomb near Koi station as a mobilized student, and I walked along the road leading toward Miyajima away from the city. On the way I was given some water at a house from a lady and she kindly allowed me to take quite a long rest there. I don't remember where it was, but I think it was Itsukaichi or Kusatsu-machi. After the rest, I headed back to the city, because I was really worried about my house and my family. I think it was four or five o'clock in the afternoon. I was intent on locating my house using the Hiroshima Electric Railways track as a guide. Hiroshima's landscape at that time was so dreadful that I omit any attempt at description.
I came across an old man fallen on the ground near Senda-machi. "Give me some water, young man," he said to me, palms together in supplication. I pretended not to see him and went past him. I regret it now, but I was desperate to get home. The old man's face was badly inflamed from the heat rays. He must have died soon afterward.
At age 74 now, I still remember that day 60 years ago. There are many things I still cannot forget, but I will omit them.

My little sister was a student of Daini-Girls' School. As a lower-grade student, she was assigned to Zakoba-machi for labor service along with her classmates. She was bombed there and was missing. I went as far as Kanawa-jima and Ninoshima islands with my mother, but her whereabouts remained unknown. Finally, her ashes were located forty years later in 1985, and I was handed them at the ceremony held in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Reporters from TV stations and newspaper companies asked for my impressions and comments then as a recipient of the ashes, and I had complex feelings.
Countless people lost their families to the A-bomb. Some undoubtedly experienced a complete turn of fate after the bombing. Only hibakusha know the horror of the A-bomb. I intended to write more, but I feel too depressed to do so.
(2005)