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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Takashi Nakata (male)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 18 years old at the time / current resident of Ishikawa

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. The A-bomb (Sixty Years After)

I still remember, when the A-bomb exploded: that heavy sound reverberating through to the very centre of my head, the strange, all pink-colored light that was completely different from a regular bomb, making it impossible to see anything. What was this? I wondered if a gas tank in Hiroshima might have blown up. I knew and was very used to the regular blasts, bombs and the like. I could escape them by distinguishing the strength of their sounds. And if I knew what the target was, I would never be wrong, so I was able to work on with peace of mind even if the attack was close. After this one, there was nothing, it was so strange, that there was only one blast...

Around noon of that day, I went to the center of Hiroshima to do rescue work. Although it might have given me the worst radiation exposure, not taking off my hat and jacket for several days, I am glad it prevented me from being covered with radioactive fallout. But, just as they said, babies born within fifteen years after their parents' exposure to the A-bomb would not survive, indeed, three of mine did pass away. I lost hope in life. But my doctor offered words of encouragement. Believing it was definitely possible to have healthy children after sixteen years or more. One of my children born after that period has survived to this day. Though I have anxieties, I now feel I have some hope in my life, however tenuous. The babies of hibakusha are said to be born handicapped, without fingers, for generations. The father-in-law of my own daughter, in fact, checked the fingers of her baby when it was born. I understood his feelings, and I was so relieved, I also shed tears of joy…

Even though the use of weapons of mass destruction such as poison gas and the like was internationally banned, why did they use the A-bomb? I think the "might makes right" principle had a big part to play. I want superpowers like the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to take the lead to eliminate these weapons internationally, and to scrap them in their own countries as well. I know there are a few troublesome countries, but I believe that we can get somewhere if we apply international pressure. Even if these attempts fail, we should take a strong stand, and not shrink from applying sanctions.

I think America is the strongest country in the world now. I want it to show leadership, and set a good example to the world. It should take action to save the world, and not make shameful excuses, like it did in rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, saying that it wasn't consistent with its own interests.

When the A-bomb hit, there were hardly any dead bodies on the streets, even though it was commuting time. I suppose most people were alive for a while, and were running to places where they could find water. The river was filled with corpses, many with their eyeballs protruding for 2 cm or so. From what is known, it seems they might have remained alive for about twenty or 30 minutes. I can't find words to express the cruel and pitiful nature of it. My wish is that this kind of thing never be repeated.

It is true that Japan is the only nation that has suffered the A-bomb. But Russia is a good example of a country that has suffered damage from its own nuclear power facilities.

Damage arises as a consequence of having nuclear capability. Fortunately, now, Japan and America have a friendly relationship. I hope we can abolish nuclear capabilities through proper dialogue between us, for the world, and for Japan.

With anything, it's no easy task to agree on a solution. But if we leave things as they are, no agreement will ever be reached. It's important to make an effort to solve the problem steadily, step by step. Everyone needs to want a non-nuclear world. It's difficult to reform a foolish son, but it will be much more hopeless if we neglect him. We need to be patient in addressing the problem. This won't be easy, given conflicting international trends, and even the current situation today.

Please tackle this difficult problem with caution.

I had applied to become one of the eighteen to twenty year old military cadets, had passed the exam, and ended up being at a place about 5 km from the A-bomb blast site in Hiroshima. At the time, our military unit was outwardly unhurt, and closest to the blast site, so we were roped into the disposal of dead bodies.