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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yuko Muto (female)
'Chokubaku'  / 1 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. I have no bitter A-bomb memories because I was one year and nine months old on the day of the bombing. I guess that's why I have been able to dare tell, as if I myself remember the incident, the stories that my mother told me about the cruel experiences that our family went through. When I look back now on those experiences, they are too sad to tell.

On August 6, my maternal grandmother and I, just the two of us, were home. The previous day, my mother had left with my older brother and two older sisters to visit my father who was due to be sent to a distant battlefield. Following the visit, they arrived back at Hiroshima station on the morning of August 6. At 8:15, the A-bomb was dropped while they were on a streetcar on their way home. They were safe because the streetcar stopped in front of the Hiroshima Credit Union building and the building shielded the streetcar from the blast. However, my mother told me, some of those who immediately got off the streetcar in a fright sustained burns from the blast and heat. Worrying about me and my grandmother at home, after a while my mother and my older siblings left the streetcar. On their way home, they met a neighbor and were told that we had gone to a first-aid station. So they went straight to the first-aid station without stopping at home. There, they found me, my face bleeding from cuts from broken glass, and also learned that my grandmother had been burnt to death in our kitchen. My mother also told me how painful and tragic the sight was of the people whom she met on her way home.

My mother repeatedly told her grandchildren, "We should never ever make war again!" I think that is the way to console the souls of those killed by the blast in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nevertheless, there are still wars on earth. Even in Japan, some support revoking Article 9 of the Constitution that renounces war, the compulsory flying of the national flag, and so forth. It seems to me that those people are trying to turn back the clock to the wartime, and this arouses in me a feeling of resentment. Now, at a time when people like my mother who carry unforgettable A-bomb experiences are passing away, I believe it is important to hand down the stories of the atomic bombing. I am therefore determined to pass on their memories to my children and grandchildren even if I have no personal memories.

The small group I belong to plans to hold an art exhibition this summer to present A-bomb drawings and paintings by citizens of Hiroshima in memory of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing.