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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yoshinori Arima (male)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 20 years old at the time / current resident of Kagoshima
3187

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. This is the 60th year since the Atomic Bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, destroying everything in its path.

At the time, I was working at the Iwakuni Navy hospital. The morning after the bomb was dropped, we split into two rescue teams. One was comprised of 30 army officers, army surgeons and nurses who went to Hiroshima to retrieve the wounded. The other team was to wait and receive patients in the hospital. At around 10:30 that evening, tens of injured people, covered with blankets, arrived at the station by train. I went to the station again and again to bring patients back to the hospital.

It was very hot and humid in the mid-summer. There were hundreds of patients, and all of them had burns. All the rooms, and even the corridors and aisles were full. Some of the patients' bodies were partly exposed, revealing broken blisters. Some patients' hair fell out. Others smelt of burnt flesh. Among the severely burnt patients, some that had been able to go to the restroom without any assistance in the morning were dead by the early evening. We just could not find any way to save their lives.

We had to cremate the dead bodies everyday. The number of bodies was far beyond the capacity of the public crematories. We dug shallow holes in several places in the hospital field and made firewood racks on which the bodies were burnt. I remember that when the situation was at its worst, up to 10 bodies were burnt everyday for about a week. The fierce summer sunlight and the strong smell of burning bodies, is something that, even after 60 years, I can never forget. The tragic scene still appears vividly and haunts my dreams.

The most heartbreaking memories are the cries of aged parents or grandparents, who with heavy steps came to hospital to get their child's remains. "I shouldn't have let you go!" they cried out, knocking their heads in grief onto the remains of the child's head and collapsing into tears. I am awoken from sad dreams by these voices.

Every August I recall the metallic sound of the bomb, and the lightning-like light under which many people died. I was 20 years old then and today I stand at 80 years old. Like the proverb, "I'm still useful here for the sake of others", I will spread the message of renouncing war to the next generation. I pledge: "Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil".
(2005)