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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Junko Nonaka (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 7 years old at the time / current resident of Kanagawa

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. That day when it happened I was in the second grade at elementary school. Three or four hours after the bomb fell, all kinds of things (burned papers, pot covers, bunches of hair, the atomic bomb, all sorts of things) fell from high in sky. They sparkled as they fell, and they looked like beautiful flowers. When they hit the ground, everything went to hell. In the afternoon, a truckload of burn victims came home. One elderly farm woman couldn't understand what was going on. Her words, "Why did they have to get so close to the fire that they got burned so badly?" showed how little information there was.

The white flash of light came when I was playing hide-and-seek beneath the temple floor. I was surprised that the light illuminated everything under the floorboard. Such a thing--it was all too much to bear. The next day, we began to look for our uncle where he had lived (in Sakancho), but we couldn't even find his bones. It was a shame to lose someone like him. Buildings that remained standing, like elementary schools, were filled to overflowing with the injured. We spent our days looking through names on the list of the dead.

Nowadays, when nuclear tests are conducted in another country, they close off the area and do it very carefully. But back then, they just conducted the test on the city of Hiroshima - how terrible. Sometimes, there is a fear that people are gradually becoming desensitized. Nowadays, I would faint upon seeing even a single dead body, but back then, I would stride over corpses without second thought; it's hard to believe I'm the same person. How can I deal with that gap? We must understand that people change; otherwise we might lose sight of where we are heading in the future.

If we don't put this fire out while it's small, it will grow, moving humanity in the awful direction of our own extinction. We must be grateful for peace, and we must have the courage to preserve it!