JAPANESE

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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Miwako Kanbe (female)
'Chokubaku'  4 km from the hypocenter / 7 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo
8551

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was seven years old when I was exposed to the atomic bomb, and in 1950 we moved to my mother's family home in Okayama Prefecture. The Korean War had started. I was scared. I was sure that atomic bombs would be used, so I tried hard to tell my classmates about the terrible power of these weapons. After about two or three days, they called me Mrs. Atomic Bomb and Miss Flash, and I became unpopular because they said I would infect them. I cried and told my mother. My mother said that because we didn't have any keloid scars, if we didn't tell anyone, no-one would know. She made me promise never to tell anyone again.

After my elder brother was demobilized, he married a girl with bad keloid scars. My relatives were strongly opposed to the marriage, but my brother was brave and stood up to them. My brother's wife was never in good health, and in the end, she succumbed to cancer. Right before her death, she said to me, "If you love your children, fight for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Why have you kept silent? They say that there is an unimaginable number of atomic bombs in the world today, and some even more terrible than before." My sister-in-law was usually gentle, but this time her hard expression moved me. So I was left with contradictory advice from these two women, my mother and my sister-in-law.
Now, I have four children. I became a midwife, because I wanted to help bring into this world as many children as were lost on that day.
Even at age 67, I am still working hard at my job.
I made a Kamishibai picture card show called "A solemn promise between a grandmother and her grandchild." I hope you will have the chance to see it some time.
(2005)