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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Sadao Toyota (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 25 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 I entered Hiroshima twenty-one hours after the bomb was dropped, the city area bore no resemblance to its former self. As far as the eye could see, everything had burned to the ground, with the exception of a few high-rise buildings, where only the iron frames remained. Faint smoke was drifting out of their windows.

Streetcars had burned to the ground, and scattered around the wreckage were countless bodies, charred black or half burnt, that could not be identified as male or female. As for those who were left alive and tottering about, their hair was frizzled by fire, their clothes were burned and torn, and the exposed skin of their faces, arms and legs had been so terribly scathed that it was inflamed and partly torn off. The ghastly transformation of their features was a horrible sight that is beyond description. Astonished and grief-stricken, I was momentarily stunned into silence.

On the morning of the third day or so, there was a notice posted on the iron frame of the Chugoku Shimbun [Newspaper] building, saying that a new type of bomb had been dropped. But who could have known it was an atomic bomb?!

Some people who remained unharmed on the day of the bombing worked diligently to give aid to the wounded. Ignorant of the effects of radioactivity, they devoted themselves to relief activities while breathing the poisonous "gas" without any protection. A week or so later they began to grow weak, their hair started falling out, and some also suffered bleeding from their gums, before they finally lost their lives. This I can never forget.

I firmly believe it is imperative to abolish, under any circumstances, the use of nuclear weapons as a means of war, because it will lead to the annihilation of mankind. To realize this goal, I earnestly hope that Japan, as a victim nation of nuclear weapons, will become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and powerfully promote the abolition of nuclear weapons.