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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Kayoko Hayashi (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 11 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
11703

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I go to a traditional Japanese painting class once a week. My painting teacher was born in April 1945, and exposed to the A-bomb in Hiroshima in August, but has never mentioned anything about it, nor has she been able to step into the area around the A-bomb Dome for sketching. Please understand that there are still people like my teacher who never again want to come in contact with anything related to the A-bomb.

I was a sixth grader in a national elementary school in present-day Kurazako, Kita Hiroshima-cho. August 6 was just another school day since there was no summer vacation that year. I saw the A-bomb cloud through my classroom window. There was an announcement saying, "Mitsubishi Works in Gion present-day Asaminami-ku in Hiroshima was bombed...," and the pupils left school for home right after that in groups. That evening, I saw burned paper trash and various other burned things flying over us.

Several days later, around the time of the Bon Festival after the ceremony for the end of the war, we were informed that my two elder sisters had been injured due to exposure to the A-bomb and were in the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital. My father and I went to see them, carrying on our backs rice balls and other foodstuffs made by my mother. We managed to enter the city since I remember the bus was available up to Yokogawa, a gateway point to the city.

Upon entering the city, I was surprised because there was unbelievably nothing left there. Although it was quite a distance to walk from Yokogawa to the Red Cross Hospital in Sendamachi, it seemed very close for me on that day. What I saw was shocking--nothing but a burned field of ruins. I walked with my father, carrying the food on our backs, under the midday summer sun. I remember it as well as if it had happened yesterday.

My eldest sister was working as a curriculum coordinator at the School of Nursing attached to the Red Cross Hospital. My second elder sister was also exposed to the A-bomb since she was a student in that school. At that time, the hospital served as a military hospital, too. My eldest sister once told me that she had been pinned down by the collapsed building but was saved by some servicemen there.

What tormented my eldest sister until she died was her students' screams of "Help me, please!" which she never forgot. She always felt guilty that she couldn't do anything to save them from the approaching fire, despite the fact that she herself had six broken ribs then.
For the rest of her life, she never went into the city on August 6, the anniversary of the A-bombing.

My second-eldest sister passed away at the age of 65, my eldest sister, at the age of 70. Both of them died of cancer. I hate war...never again.
My elder brother also died in the war in March 1943. He was bombed just before landing in New Guinea. He was only 22 years old. I'm sure he must have been full of dreams and hopes....
(2010)