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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Mitsuko Ohata (female)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 20 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. I will tell you about what happened in those days. At that time, I was twenty years old and was working as a clerk and a distributor at Yano Town Hall. When the atomic bomb explosion was heard, I hurriedly crawled under the desk. The blast was so deafening that it felt as if the bomb had been dropped right next to me. There was a flash of light and it got dark. What we all saw in the sky, as it is called now, was the atomic cloud. Many victims soon arrived by trucks. Some looked so horrible that it is impossible for me to describe. They were burnt, naked, their skins hung down, and their lips were swollen. They just looked like ghosts. The local elementary school was turned into a first-aid station. All the town hall workers were called out and under the mayor's leadership, they carried the unspeakably miserable victims one after another to the first aid station. The hectic situation of nursing the victims continued for nearly two months.

All the classrooms were used as sickrooms. In reality, there was no medicine for proper treatment. They were laid down in rows like dried sardines. We put the plates containing cooking oil beside their heads, and wiped their wounds with a small quantity of cotton dipped in it -- there was nothing else we could do. People passed away one after another. I cannot forget a middle school student screaming, "I'll defeat the U.S. when I grow up." He eventually died crying his parents' names. There was not enough food and I barely distributed rice balls and boiled potatoes every day. It was also a nuisance to dispose of excrement. It was really pitiful to see the victims' burnt wounds into which maggots gnawed. At that time, ice-cream cake shops stopped making cakes, and only produced ice for satisfying the injured persons' thirst. Some people carried ice for the wounded, while others rubbed oil on their bodies. A hectic two months passed by like that. Some victims slowly lost their voices and passed away at last. We had no choice but to burn their bodies at the schoolyard.

When I entered the classroom, the smell of the decaying flesh was so terrible I thought I also might die by breathing it. My father, older brother and younger brother were exposed to radiation when the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. My father worked at the branch office of the public works section in the Hiroshima Prefectural Office the Atomic Bomb Memorial Dome is on the site now. He had been charged with the work of evacuating buildings at Takeya Elementary School. As he was working there at the time of the bombing, he narrowly survived. But he passed away about ten years later. My older brother had been sick throughout his life and died. Only my younger brother is in good health. He moved to Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and has been involved in the antinuclear group "Shimonoseki City Gathering of Showing 10-feet Films." He is 76 years old now.

I cannot write everything I want to say. I really think it was a wrong war provoked by Japanese government. I tell about it to my children and grandchildren at all times. I keep crying out that atomic bomb must not be used and war should never happen again. Innumerable number of lives were lost in that war. No matter what I say, it will never be enough to describe the cruelty of the war.