JAPANESE

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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Seii Fujita (male)
'Tainai hibaku'  / current resident of Saitama
2161

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. As I was exposed to radiation in the womb, I didn't have the direct experience of the A-bombing. Therefore, most of the story about it I heard from my mother. My father didn't tell me about his experiences at all, and my mother told me what little I know.

1. The Beginning of my story Though the date of my birth is recorded as April 11th, 1946 on the census register, I heard that I was actually born in March. As I was exposed to radiation in the womb, I think I belong to a much younger age bracket of those who experienced the A-bombing. As the number of A-bomb survivors in Nagasaki and Hirosima decreases, I imagine the newspapers will soon report, "The last A-bomb survivor has died ", when he or she who is the last person bearing the A-bomb Survivor Health Book dies. Therefore, until I die, I continue to tell my story as long as I can, though I have little to tell.

2. What happened right after the explosion most of this is what I heard from my mother.

My mother was exposed to the A-bombing explosion near the Takano Brige tram stop in Ote-machi when she was going from her house in Usita-machi to Eba-machi by tram the Hiroshima Electric Railways. With a roaring sound, the tram was overturned and she fainted away for a moment. It was pitch-dark all around when she regained consciousness. As the A-bomb was dropped on a summer's morning, it was hardly possible that she was in the total pitch darkness. I guess she momentarily lost sight by a flash of blinding light.

After crawling out of the tram with great difficulty, she walked toward Eba-machi. After a few days, she went back home to Ushita-machi. But my father was in Ujina when the A-bomb hit and didn't return home for a week. There was no contact from him and nobody knew where he was during the week.

After coming back home to Ushita-machi, my father lay in bed with a high fever of over 40°C (104.0°F). Neighbors died in quick succession. One day, a neighbor four doors away died. Then, neighbors died one by one in the following nights, a neighbor three doors away, a neighbor two doors away, and a neighbor next door. Nobody knew why they died in succession in that order. My mother and father thought, "Maybe we are next." Fortunately, my father had a narrow escape from death. The reason why he survived may have been his location when the A-bomb exploded. He was on the safe side of a big wall facing away from the blast at the very moment of the explosion. Those who were on the other side of the wall were all dead. Thanks to having been sheltered, my mother inside the tram and my father protected by the wall, neither had any burns or keloid scars. As for our house in Ushita-machi, the roofing tiles were blown away, so my parents had to put up an umbrella inside the house when it rained.

My father passed away in February 2008 at the age of ninety. He was a city employee. During his career, he stayed in bed all day long on Sundays. He was practically confined to bed from the age of around seventy after retirement.

3. About ABCC (Atomic-Bomb Casualty Commision)

When I was in Elementary School, a car was sent from the ABCC to pick me up but I didn't know the reason why. Nobody could get a ride in a car at that time. Back in those days, nobody could take a taxi, either. The ABCC sent a big station wagon to pick up, not my father and mother, but me, an elementary school boy. I wondered many times why it was me, not any of my classmates, who was being picked up.
I had not heard much about exposure to radiation either before that or thereafter. However, whether willing or not, I was anxious about it. I don't remember how many times I went to the ABCC before I was in junior high school. I think I had learned to say No after entering high school. One of my elementary school classmates had microcephaly. I thought I had the same kind of disease. I don't know what became of him.

4. When I was a junior high school teacher I made it my mission to talk about my experience, although I had little to say yet I took every opportunity to tell it. Looking back, I should have done better. I wonder whether I effectively conveyed my experience to my listeners.

5. The birth of my first boy I had a first child after I married.

I had been secretly worried whether or not he or she would be born with physical and mental defects. Therefore, when he came out with white skin, I said in my mind, "Oh my!" I remember that I was relieved to find that it was due to the fat attached to the body and he was normal after taking a newborn baby's first bath. I suppose this shows that I always had the thought of the A-bomb in the back of my mind.

When I don't feel well even if it is not serious, The ominous question "Is this because...?" looms in my mind.

6. Closing the story

The big difference between the nuclear bombs and the coventional bombs is that, once you are exposed to radiation, even if currently you don't have any health problems and nothing ever happens, you always worry that something will happen to your health in the future. And this unease continues throughout your life.
(2010)