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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Sachiko Ishikuni (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. When the subject of the bomb comes up, despite the many years that have passed, memories come back, one after the other. I can only pray for those, as students we tried to help, that suffered painful deaths.

I was at the Hakushima Teishin Hospital!!! It was a graveyard. Blood dripped down white walls and handrails. The ground floor was a sea of blood. We too felt like collapsing. People were laid out on mats like fish in the market!!! No one knew where to start so we did our best to carry out the doctor's orders. It was the middle of summer, at night the sound of mosquitoes was everywhere, during the day, big black flies went from patient to patient, producing maggots, so many we couldn't remove them all. The patients could only put their hands together begging for water, water, water!!!

But the doctor stopped us from giving them even a drop. I am brought to tears thinking about this even now; so hot and painful, it must have been a living hell…It was enough to make a young girl's eyes pop out, they were such a pitiful sight.
One particular memory was of a woman with a large stomach that we thought was due to illness. Suddenly, she gave birth. She used all her strength to give birth and seemed relieved to finally see her child, but then she died. Her newborn was covered, head to toe, in spots. Seeing this, we all understood the terrible nature of nuclear weapons; it even made us think about our own marriage prospects. All across the city, there were dead bodies, burnt, stinking. It was hot, the road was gone. I walked as far as the base of Hijiyama Hill for food. There is no escaping these memories. As healthy citizens, we put our hands together in gratitude for those who died from the bomb, and we absolutely oppose nuclear weapons for the future of the world. Though my words are inadequate, I hope that you tell our story to future generations.

I have heard that among second‐generation bomb victims, one in two suffers from cancer. Because they are so advanced, I wish the medical community would do something for these people. Please abolish nuclear weapons throughout the world. As humans lucky enough to have been born in this world, we should appreciate our gift and I think living each day in peace and joy is the meaning of true happiness.
The youth, please learn the history of nuclear weapons and teach the next generation, with my hands together I beg you. My generation, you see, does not have much longer.
When I think back half a century, the terror of nuclear weapons returns and I am at a loss for words. I am eighty‐one years old; I have had two strokes, my legs and back are bad, but when I think of the A‐bomb victims, I can only feel grateful to have survived. Whatever hospital I go to, I meet former classmates, all have bad style--they walk bent over and twisted.
My sons are all secondgeneration bomb victims, who had to work hard through food shortages. My eldest son died suddenly when he was twenty‐two. My second son is still healthy but my third son is unfortunately afflicted with many cancers--the throat, lungs, and retroauricular behind-the-ear lymph node. He now receives nourishment through a hole in his stomach.
He is persevering due to medical advancements, but the joy of a family meal around the same table has been lost and the family ties are fading…I feel helpless as a parent, my son can't even enjoy a meal. It's truly pitiful.