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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Takeshi Nakadaira (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 19 years old at the time / current resident of Nagano

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. On August 6, 1945, around 10 a.m., I entered the city of Hiroshima to stand guard. When I reached the foot of Mount Hijiyama, I encountered disastrous (devastating might be a better word) scenes. There, I saw numerous naked A-bomb victims, whose skin, scalded dark red, as virtually in shreds and tatters. I assumed they fled in groups from the disaster. They were crammed together and left on the floor, just waiting for death to come. The next morning on August 7, they were gathered in huge piles and cremated. We stayed by a riverside of Enkogawa River, about one kilometer further until August 15. The Kyobashigawa River, although there was only a little water flow, was filled with quite a number of floating dead bodies for many days. It was as if one could cross the river by walking on them. I still recall the scene. From August 10 onward, I engaged myself in the cremation of the countless victims who died in the shelter. Sometimes I had to lift them with my bare hands. These scenes will stay in my memory for the rest of my life.
Why on earth should they have to suffer such fate, I wondered. For the sake of what? For the sake of whom? By that time, Japan must have had no power left to carry on the war. It is my firm belief that the Japanese people were made to sacrifice their lives for nuclear war strategy.
Amid the Great Depression early in the Showa era, Japan was in the depths of poverty and financial ruin. Under the pretext of helping itself out of such difficulties, Japan dared to invade Northeastern China (Manchuria). The military gained power, and their unchallenged control led Japan into the Sino-Japanese war, then the Greater East Asian War, and finally to the miserable end: unconditional surrender after considerable sacrifices. A war may be started in the name of peace and justice, but no war can bring forth peace in its true sense.
Learning a lesson from the past, we must not commit any more mistakes. The useless expansion of armaments can only bring about mutual distrust and provoke unhappy hostilities.

I feel that these days the issue of military bases in Japan is part of a political battle, in which the three nonnuclear principles are seen as an obstacle. Can you think of any country other than Japan that accommodates so many foreign military bases in its territory? In any emergency, such a country will be an immediate target of attack. In order to compensate the deceased for their sacrifices, I hope the government of Japan can eliminate nuclear weapons and reduce its number of military bases as soon as possible.