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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Takashi Kumaki (male)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Saitama

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. At the age of 15 years, I joined the Naval Submarine School in January 1945 and studied there until June. The air raids had intensified, and we moved from our school in Otake City to the deep mountainous area in Ohno, where we underwent specialized training.

The dreadful flash, loud sound, and strong blast we experienced when the atomic-bomb exploded that morning, were completely beyond our imagination. It was something we had never experienced in the past. Various rumors circulated, and it was an awful situation.

At 1 pm, we were ordered to assemble and leave for Hiroshima to help with the rescue operations. We rushed to the Ohnoura National School. The school, crammed with atomic-bomb victims lying on the floor with hardly any space to step on, was filled with an intense smell. The burns and wounds, caused by exposure to the atomic-bomb radiation, had disintegrated and the bodies were swollen up. It was something one could not imagine in this world. It was a hell.

I spent nearly two hours with a six year old girl who got lost from her parents. But there were no medicines, bandage, or gauze for treating the wound, and all I could do was to just be near her. The only thing possible was to soak the rags, brought by the village women's association, in creosote and apply it on the wound which looked like rotten seaweed.

We could not rest even for a while, and were extremely busy removing and incinerating the corpses. One after the other, the atomic-bomb victims were brought in by trucks and boats. Screams and cries filled the air. It was such an unworldly situation. We took turns and continued with the relief activities until the war ended.

The war comrades continue to meet for an annual reunion, but almost half of our colleagues and teachers have passed away by now. It is our request to pass on these memories to the next generation. We really miss our comrades.