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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshimichi Kobara (male)
'Chokubaku'  3 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Shimane

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. Immediately after the A-bombing, I transported some patients by truck from the Field Hospital to the Enami Branch Hospital. Sometimes I recall a junior high school student who died on the truck on the way to the hospital, a child I saw in the Field Hospital, whose eye had popped out and was hanging out of its socket, and a little boy of about nine or ten years old who I refused to let ride on the truck. I wonder what happened to them after that, whether they are still alive and well, and whether there was anything I could have done for them. After the trip, I left the hospital to search for soldiers who had been working in the office at the Hiroshima Military School, or for others living outside the camp. But my truck couldn't get into the city center because of fallen trolley wires, so I walked along the river into the city center.

I remember so many things: I saw houses aflame; I crossed paths with the landlady of the boarding house for soldiers working in the Military School office. I ran into a sergeant who asked me to help draw his wife from his destroyed house. We rushed there but as we got closer to the house it was impossible to continue because the area was engulfed in flames, and the sergeant told me how he had been parted from his wife.

I remember many things one after another as I write: When I walked around to military hospitals in the city on the second day to inquire after fellow soldiers who were hospitalized, I found skeletonized bodies lying on each of the scorched beds that had been lined up at the Hiroshima First Military Hospital, and charred bodies piled up like logs alongside the roads. I saw injured people laid with their heads pillowed by the trolley tracks and shaded by straw mats. I sometimes wonder how many of the people I took to the hospital or met that day survived.