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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Masayoshi Miyake (male)
'Chokubaku'  4.5 km from the hypocenter / 23 years old at the time / current resident of Okayama

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was ordered to move to the Ship Unit Special Attack Corps in Hiroshima because of the driver's license I obtained in 1940, but I'm still alive.

My memoir will be permanently preserved in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Computer Room, and it would be such an honor if more people could read it.

I graduated from a prefectural middle school in 1940. In 1942, I joined the Army in Okayama as Kanto Army personnel, served as a low-ranking officer in the Soviet-Manchuria border guard for two years, and then was transferred to the Ship Unit Akatsuki Corps 6140. There, as an instructor for ship special forces, I taught soldiers who were drafted from all over Japan how to operate ships and maintain the engines. I was exposed to the A-bombing on August 6, 1945. I have no idea why I'm still alive. The only thing clear is that I was born able-bodied thanks to my parents. When I speak about my A-bomb experience at schools, I always tell students to take good care of their parents. The principal and students shed tears while listening to my story. My eyes are also full of tears.

This is a part of the full text, which appeared in a newsletter of my organization, about my war and A-bomb experiences that I told to fifth and sixth graders of Okayama Municipal Mayashimo Elementary School.

I moved to the Hiroshima Field Ship Unit Akatsuki Corps 6140. On the morning of August, 6, 1945, I was conveying orders to the troops in straight rows on the grounds with their backs toward the city center. Just after the bluish flash at 8:15 a.m., followed by an enormous boom that was like hundreds of lightning bolts hitting all at once, the mushroom cloud billowed up into the air. Immediately, I yelled out to my soldiers, "Lie down!" I felt an impaling heat ray on my neck, though I had no idea about it at first. I thought that a gas tank had exploded. A short time later, the Army Headquarters announced that a new type of high power bomb was dropped, which broke out in fires.

After a while, I got an order from the headquarters to set off for relief activities in Hiroshima, taking 30 of my soldiers. As we approached the hypocenter, we saw terrible scenes. Charred, burned-out bodies were all over the streets. Their exposed skin was sliding off their limbs. Their clothes, shredded and tattered, stuck to their skin with oozing fluids. Their hair was burned and disheveled. Their faces didn't look like human beings'. The moribund voices were heard, "It hurts! It hurts! Give me water!" We couldn't pass across the bridge filled with all the injured. We gave all of the water we had in our water bottles to the people in pain. I knew that if they drank water, they would soon die; but, witnessing their suffering, we couldn't pass them by.

I was assigned to the area on the west side of the present Peace Memorial Park and my first work was to stop water leakage from broken water pipes. We engaged in this restoration in order to run steamers. The water pipes all around the city had exploded, and because of the reduced water pressure, steam locomotives couldn't be run. Second, we cleared the streets. In those days, horse-drawn carts were mainly used for transportation and many of the horses were lying in the streets after the A-bombing. Streetcars were turned over. Houses that escaped fires now obstructed the roads. We had to clear all these things to make way for trucks around the city. Third, we gave the injured first aid treatment. However, we didn't have any bandages or medicine, so we applied kneaded tooth powder to their burns. In time, the number of dead people increased day by day. From early morning to late at night, we were busy cremating 150 or 200 bodies a day.