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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Kanae Watanabe (female)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 18 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. Those strange scenes from the morning of August 6 keep appearing in my head even now. The huge black mushroom cloud appeared mysteriously.

At the time, I was a student at State Youth School of Education in Yoshida-cho, where the castle of the feudal lord Motonari Mohri was once located. On that day, just when I got to school, I heard a rumbling sound of explosions from the schoolyard, and saw a huge black mushroom cloud appearing between the mountains. Among ourselves, we said, "What happened!?," "Maybe it's around the Neno area since we had heard about construction of an airport there?" There was also a lot of confusion in the classroom then.

In the afternoon, female students were called out to take care of injured people at Yoshida Girls' School. We went there without knowing what it was all about. We treated the injured persons lying on the ground with antiseptic as we had been instructed by the doctors. There were a lot of injured people, and more people were being brought in one after another. Mats were laid out in the hallway, and people lay down or sat hugging their knees on the mats, all worn out. We tiptoed among them and kept treating them with antiseptic.

Strange smells coming from those people and their horrible looks with their skin stripped off and sagging, everything was so horrible and shocking it can't be described in words. They could hardly breathe, and some lost consciousness shortly after. A baby was crying and looking for its mother's breast, but she was already dead. It was a living hell, indeed. Dead bodies were being carried out in back of the school building and cremated.

On the next day, the 7th, we heard that a B-29 bomber had dropped an atomic bomb, and that it was something really serious because the entire city had been destroyed.

I remember that our task was over in a week. It hurts when I think about how many people actually survived among the people I had treated.

Now, over 60 years have past since then. The city of Hiroshima has been reconstructed dramatically, as if nothing had ever happened. But we have to keep in mind that the recovery has come at the expense of numerous precious lives, indiscriminate destruction and loss of property, and extraordinary efforts by those who survived the war. I hope that as many people as possible will learn, feel, and truly recognize this fact. I strongly hope the next generation especially makes efforts to realize a nuclear free world for everyone's peace and comfort.