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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yasuo Oni (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 19 years old at the time / current resident of Mie

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. 1. Things I still can't forget
A short conversation I had on a rescue truck with a lovely girl who seemed to be a mobilized student is still vivid in my memory. She looked frail, but I was impressed by her classy way of speaking. Recognizing me as a soldier, she asked me, "Excuse me, Sir. Do you suppose I can survive this?" All I could say to encourage her was "Hang in there, dear. I'm sure you will be all right."

I couldn't hold back my tears when I saw what was left of an elementary school. There were many charred bodies on the grounds of Fukuro-machi Elementary School. All the pupils, who had been standing in straight lines, were killed, as well as their teachers, on the spot due to heat rays and the bomb blast while they had the morning meeting in the schoolyard. The lines were broken up. Some children's remains were facing each other as if their last action was to offer comfort. The scene showed how much they were terrified by the bombing. Especially the bodies of younger kids, in first or second grade, reminded me how much they missed their parents at that horrible moment.

I didn't accommodate the request of severely injured people who desperately implored me for water. Although I had to follow my superior's instructions not to give them water, this incident still haunts me. I cannot forgive myself even now for not giving water to them. ( Most people in Hiroshima believed that the injured would soon die the moment they drank water.)

2. My feelings towards the victims of the A-bomb
Boys and girls aged 14 or 15 seemed to be killed on the spot while they were marching in four lines towards munitions factories. Those mobilized students were falling on top of one another like ninepins or toppling dominoes. The terror and mortification they must have felt at the last moment are beyond words. I just pray for their souls from the bottom of my heart, saying "Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat this evil." following the words engraved on the monument in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

3. What I would like to tell the younger generations
We are still not free from the terror of nuclear weapons. There are countries like North Korea that continue to threaten the world, Japan included, by producing and possessing nuclear weapons. We the A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have become old. In order to continue making the appeal, "No more Hiroshima and Nagasaki," after we are gone, I do hope that the younger generations will share our determination to make the world non-nuclear and peaceful. We shouldn't have any victims in the 21st century. As one of the dying breed of people that experienced a nuclear bombing, I would like our successors to realize the necessity of telling the world about the loss and damage we endured due to the bombings. When I am reminded that this year is the 60th anniversary of the bombing, I can't help beseeching young people to advance the task of making the world nonnuclear.

I also hope younger people understand that there should be a clearer clause in the A-bomb victims' relief law to stipulate the compensation for victims by the state. I would like them to understand the necessity of reforming the radiation sickness certification system so that more victims will be entitled to receive benefits.

I hope the younger generation will make every effort to realize everlasting peace in this world, as called for in President Obama's speech in Prague, so that our descendants will have no fear of nuclear weapons. I also wish them to protect article nine of the Japanese constitution, which prohibits any act of war by the state, decisively from an intention to revise it for the worse.