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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Katsushi Nakahanada (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 18 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. In June 1945, during the middle of my studies, I was put to work for Japan Railways as part of the student mobilization program. Knowing little at the time, I thought that working for Japan Railways was a really important thing. I mainly worked on trains carrying coal and military equipment. In this way, unbeknown to us, nearly all of the country's students and workers were being forced to support an aggressive war, enduring grueling labor and terrible living conditions.

Life for the workers was growing worse day by day. Wartime regulations were steadily becoming stricter. Rations of food and supplies were increasingly being cut, and the food situation had greatly deteriorated. Everyday we worked soaked in sweat, carrying lunchboxes filled with wheat instead of rice.

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, an atomic bomb violently ripped through the skies above Hiroshima City, laying the city to ruins in an instant and stealing the lives of 200,000 people. The train I was riding on was stopped near Hiroshima, so I started walking back toward the city along the train tracks, arriving around 1 p.m. When I got there, I saw Hiroshima Station lying in rubble, the roof of the platform vanished, and iron beams bent like candy, lying across the tracks. Our work site was completely destroyed by fire and there wasn't a soul left. Farther off, I could hear the moaning of victims but there was nothing I could do for them.

While I was taking care of my friend's remains, I started sobbing uncontrollably at the gruesome brutality of it all. Among my friends who worked with me in the student mobilization program, there were some whose remains were never found and others who still suffer from the atomic bomb sickness.

Who did this to Hiroshima? Who stole the lives of so many and destroyed the livelihoods of even more.

That would be the American imperialists.
As one of the hibakusha, I know from experience that mere wishes or prayers won't bring about peace. Peace will only be achieved by uniting together and using all of our energy in opposing the forces that destroy peace. That is why we as hibakusha must join together with all the peace-loving people of Japan, furthermore all the peace-loving people of the world, to fight the American imperialist-led war movement. Above all else, I fervently appeal for the creation of laws to fully support the needs of the victims of the atomic bomb. Finally, I will do what little I can to help abolish nuclear warfare, eradicate nuclear weapons, and get relief for the victims of the atomic bomb.

Currently, the idea of abolishing all nuclear weapons is gaining public support around the world. However, we atomic bomb victims will never forget the misery and suffering caused by the dropping of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the American imperialists 65 years ago. Even with U.S. President Obama calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons, we atomic bomb victims must pull together with all peace-loving people of the world and do whatever it takes to make nuclear abolishment a reality.