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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Mutsuko Kondo (female)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 16 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. At the time I was a student at the Shobara vocational school in my home town located in an internal region about ninety kilometers north-east of Hiroshima city center. In one of our classrooms, a kind of military command post probably called Hiba Unit was set up, and, in my faint memory, someone seeming to be the commander showed up everyday, together with robust veterans in military uniforms.

A day or two after the nuclear bomb attack on Hiroshima, I was passing by a classroom and saw a paper bag with other items on a makeshift altar in the room. I could not make out what it meant immediately, as I was a small child, but the commander, with a sad face, pointed at the paper bag and said, "In this bag are fingers of one of our men who went to Hiroshima and encountered the A-bomb explosion. We picked up his fingers and brought them back. He likely went there just to die."

In the morning, one or two days later, our dormitory master called and told us to meet the sufferers of the A-bomb attack at the Shohara station. I went there with my dorm mates and teachers. Many A-bomb survivors had been carried there by an extra train. We saw unimaginable and horrifying sights in the trains, including people unable to move, and with burns all over their bodies. And we heard their moans.

They were accommodated in elementary schools or hospitals. We, the upper-grade dorm students, formed teams of two and went to an elementary school to assist with medical care being offered there. I still remember that many bodies were incinerated in the garbage burning lots every day.

Since we had been hearing the news of successive victories of the Japanese armies on the radio every day, Japan's defeat in the war was unthinkable for us.

I pray that such an atrocity never happens again. I wish that our younger generations learn how foolish wars are and take action as citizens to make better decisions. I wish for one day when the world becomes one. These days we often hear many people saying, "Japan will deteriorate," but it is we ourselves who determine whether our lives will be enriched or ruined. I also hope that we will not make the same mistakes again, and that we will not have to live our lives with regret in the future.

While writing this, my feelings went out of control, which resulted in my illegible scribble. I beg your patience to decipher my writing.