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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Ryoji Matsuoka (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 27 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima
9750

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. At 8:00 in the morning on August 9th, three days after the A-bomb attack, I set out from my Hiroshima city police lodging at Nagatsuka Elementary School. As I was passing by the Sakura riverbank, I heard a woman's voice call from below: "Officer, give me water, please. Officer, give me water, please." I couldn't see a person down there, only a door panel covered with a straw mat. The voice was coming from under it. I thought she was a thirsty A-bomb victim managing to raise a final desperate scream, but I still went on to start my patrol.
When I was stationed at Shiratori, I provided passers-by with hot water. We used anything from the burned-out area. Tea and coffee cups from the kitchens of broken houses. Large pots. Water from burst water pipes collected in a bucket we found. We gathered stones to make an oven, and boiled water using wood from the remains. We couldn't get tea leaves, so we just provided plain hot water.

It was at this time, a rickshaw carrying a sergeant came by pulled by a private. I gave him some hot water. He took me into the shadows of the burned-out building and said to me, "When will I die?" His feces were green and he felt as if his internal organs had melted and would leak out from his body. I took a note of his full name and the address of his hometown because I knew that he was near death. The private took him in the rickshaw to take shelter at Yokokawa Sakura riverbank. Now I can't remember the name of his hometown (Hiba County? Sera County?), but I asked passers-by if they knew anyone from his hometown. I found a firefighter who had come to Hiroshima to help deal with the dead bodies. I gave him the memo and told him that the sergeant's days were numbered and that he was staying at the Sakura riverbank, but I don't know what happened after that.
Of all my experiences, these two sad memories still remain etched deep in my heart even now.
(2005)