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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Ryuichi Tsubouchi (male)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Gifu

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I was working as a medical orderly at Kure Naval Hospital when we heard that a strange bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima. A party was quickly sent out from the hospital to investigate, I heard, mobilizing trucks, sailors and nurses to set up a temporary first-aid station at the Hiroshima East Parade Ground.

From the next day a flood of bomb victims poured into the hospital, if you can call it a hospital. With many of the wards already destroyed by previous bombing, I can clearly remember that the remaining wards, underground passages, corridors and the passage to the X-ray room were all filled with stretchers, where patients were being treated. Whenever you passed through, they would start groaning, and grab at your ankles. Anyway, without enough drugs available, many of them died.

Every day my co-workers were busy cremating bodies, day after day. The place really felt more like a war zone than a hospital. After the dropping of the bomb, everyone at the Kure hospital, all the orderlies and nurses, got thoroughly sick of seeing atomic burns. We were sent out in turn to the first aid stations in Hiroshima, but when my day came round the road was flooded so I helped with the endless rush of casualties at the hospital.

We have to get rid of these horrible atomic weapons, whatever it takes, and pray for peace. Personally, I'm thankful that I've survived in spite of having some physical problems. The long-term effects I was warned about at first have not come about, and I'm so happy to have lived sixty years after the war.

On August 6, 1945, I had just started work in the X-ray darkroom when a shout came down the speaking tube, "Hiroshima's powder magazine has blown up!" I looked through the window to see something like a pale pink thunder cloud rising into Hiroshima's blue sky. My superior and I rushed to the roof of Ward 4 and it was clear that this was something out of the ordinary. We went back to the X-ray room to get a black and white camera and a tripod; at that same time, two or three hundred thousand people in Hiroshima must have been dragged into hell.

Soon after that, the Kure hospital received an order to go into Hiroshima to investigate the after-effects of the bombing. Our section chief, Mr. Ikawa, took a non-commissioned officer and two others into the city. From what I heard, the photographic paper they took with them all became exposed, indicating a dangerous level of radiation, which they duly reported. In a flash, the A-bomb kills and wounds huge numbers of people quite indiscriminately. I just want to see a world where nuclear weapons will never be used again.