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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Fumiyo Nishida (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 17 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. With this year marking 60 years since the atomic bomb, I am collecting my memories of 60 years ago. I was seventeen at the time. It was 8:15 on August 6, 1945, Showa 20. The midsummer sun was shining. I joined the Hiroshima Army Ordinance Supply Depot and moved to the Ammunition section in Tsutsuura, Miyajima-cho. I was working there that day. After the morning assembly, no sooner had I sat down at my desk than I saw a flash of light like lightning. I said to my coworker, "What's that? A flare bomb can't be used at midday, can it?" While we were heading to a shelter, we heard a loud explosion. We rushed into the shelter as soon as possible. There were already a lot of evacuees inside.

Soon we took a break, at 10. Hiroshima was across the sea from my office. Chairs and desks had collapsed in the break room. When I looked at the left side of Tsutsumigaura, I saw a huge cloud of smoke. Smoke and clouds were gradually rising. The smoke from the explosion was huge and looked like a yellow mushroom. At that time, I heard that the U.S. had dropped a new weapon and Hiroshima had been totally destroyed. However, after that, we had no information, and evacuated while avoiding attacks from the enemy's aircraft. Hiroshima was under fire and I saw smoke and fire here and there. I was frightened by the attack aimed at us from the aircraft. After two or three days, bodies were floating on the sea. I think they couldn't help but plunge into the sea with agony, and died. Among them, I saw the body of a mother with a baby on her back, and a body which seemed like a schoolchild. It was floating toward the shore wearing only a puttee and a belt. It was too cruel for me to look at. I wanted to cover my eyes. One day, I saw a body of a horse being washed away by waves. It had a terrible odor of being decomposed. I thought in my child's heart of hearts that modern weapons were scary.

More and more sufferers and victims were brought to Miyajima, and more than 200 people were in the shrines and temples. I heard that there had been little medicine and few doctors, and some wounded people were agonizing with pain from their maggot-infested burns without being treated. I also heard that every two days the bodies were being brought across the sea by ship to Ono-machi and cremated. In the beginning, there were notices displaying names of people and shelters to which they were taken, but by the 20th more of the names were erased. They most likely had died.

I am 77 years old now. I may be becoming senile in my age, but I clearly remember this etched into my memory. I am eager to live in peace without nuclear weapons. I wish for nuclear abolition all over the world. I offer my deepest condolence to the victims of the atomic bombs.