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Messages from Hiroshima

Kazutoshi Hino (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Yamanashi

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I could not figure out what had happened in Hiroshima. Shocked and frightened, we could do nothing but run away toward the National Railway along a path between the rice fields and reached Hiroshima Station. The station was already ablaze and there was nothing we could do. We were stunned and just watched. There were swollen dead bodies of the soldiers on the ground from the Osuga-cho area to the East Drill Grounds. There was the official residence for the high officials of the Hiroshima Railways Bureau in Hakushima-machi, and we were ordered to go there to their rescue in the afternoon. We hurried to the residence passing by the moat of Hiroshima Castle in flames, but the residence was already ablaze, and there was nothing we could do. So we just went back. The second and the higher floors of Hiroshima Castle had disappeared except surrounding walls. There were countless dead bodies of young cadets of the Army Academy Preparatory School floating in the moat. There was a pile of corpses of atomic bomb victims who tried to get some water along the banks of the Enko River, which ran in the back of Shukkei-en. The corpses floating in the river were carried down the river at low tide, and up the river at high tide. That sight was hell.

At around three o'clock, black powder fell from the sky in Hiroshima, and it became completely dark. Some people ran away, and others died. There ware no human beings in the city except us. All we saw were two chickens and a burned dog.

The black cloud was blown in the direction of Yokogawa and Koi by the winds. After seeing the horrible situation of the city, we walked along the national railway and returned to our dormitory in Mukainada sometime after six in the evening.

The next day, on the 7th, we received news that eleven female students of a branch school in Ushita-machi, working as telephone operators, were missing, and forty-nine of us were ordered to go to their rescue.

Hiroshima was still on fire. The trees on the southern side of Futabayama Hill were all in flames.

The freight train stopping at the signal on the Tokyo-bound track of the Sanyo Line in Hiroshima Station had been derailed and wrecked by the bomb blast. The restoration work for it was about to start.

We arrived at the branch school and found some burned but safe students, but we were told that eleven girls were trapped under the collapsed building. We began their rescue by removing the broken pieces of the building. All of the eleven girls were found, but one of them had been crushed to death in a squatting position in the lavatory. We washed her body, which was soiled with excrement, in the Ushita River, a small stream three meters [9.8 feet, or 3.2 yards] wide. We cried bitterly with the surviving girls.