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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Sumio Nakashima (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. This is a weapon that should never be used on this earth. It will lead to the extinction of mankind. The long flow of Hibakusha drifting along National Route No.2 from Ohsu District eastward is a scene that haunts me often even now.

On August 6, 1945. I was working as an engineer at the Hiroshima Branch of the Japan Steel Industry (Niho-machi, Hiroshima City). On that day, at about 7:00 a.m., after finishing my night shift, I left my work-place, going out from the main gate towards the Japan Railways Kokutetsu Kaidashi Station and was waited on the platform for my train.

A few minutes later, I was beaten down onto the surface of the platform. Then I rose up and looked around and found so many people groaning, crying for help. It was a hell on earth. When I looked toward the west, I saw an orange mushroom cloud rising, booming. Roof tiles were swelling and I could not keep my eyes open because of the cloud of dust, possibly soot or smoke.

In those days, I used to commute, sometimes from the dormitory in Funakoshi and sometimes from my parents' home (in the present Mihara City) for food. As I thought the train would not come, I went back to the dormitory and was thinking about my future life from that day onwards… But then we got orders that those who were not hurt must go to Hiroshima for rescue work. We immediately got on the cart of the company truck and headed westward all the way along National Route No. 2, and arrived at the company dormitory about one kilometer from Hiroshima Station. However, everybody had already gone to work and the only person there was a woman in charge of the kitchen. The dormitory building made of bricks was completely destroyed. The woman said that the atomic bomb had hit the brick building. Some said that it had hit Hiroshima Station, too, while others said that it hit the Fukuya Department Store in Hachobori. Everybody thought that a bomb had dropped somewhere nearby himself or herself.

As we were moving westward on the truck, Route No. 2 was full of A-Bomb victims heading for nowhere, only following the person ahead with ragged, torn clothes, faces dark with sweat and soot and with absent-minded looks. If I had been less lucky, I could have been among them, too. Everybody had wondered why the air raids were not hitting Hiroshima, but this military city had been saved to be the target of the atomic bomb.

65 years after that day…
Atomic bomb flash and bomb shell blast
Endless mushroom clouds
Enormous procession of refugees,
The corpses left on the side of the road
All those will never disappear from my mind as long as I live…

p.s. The next day, August 7, I went to look for my brother, who had been working at Hiroshima Station, and a friend of mine, working at a department store in Hatchobori, to inquire after them.