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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Atsushi Koide (male)
'Tainai hibaku'  / current resident of Nagano

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. I am an in-utero survivor. So it's needless to say that my father and mother were also A-bomb victims.
My family was exposed to the A-bomb in Hiroshima and moved to Nagano Prefecture - where my father's parental home was - at the end of the war.

My father, a soldier who passed away three years ago at the age of 82, suffered from a circulatory disease. Because the hospital where he was treated was located in a rural area, it was not possible to link his cause of death to his exposure to the A-bomb.

From the end of the war, my father went through hardships for nearly 20 years and carried all the burden by himself, such as the social sanctions imposed on him because he was a career soldier, the loss of all of his property in the A-bomb blast, and the support he had to give to all his family members -- elderly parents, a grandmother, three unmarried brothers, a sister, my big brother, my little sister and me.

Even as a child, all this was deeply imprinted on my memory and still remains in my mind. I remember him farming which he had never done before in his tattered clothes, smiling and telling me that he was a very lucky person. He probably hung on to his life by taking pride in having graduated from a military academy pride that he could only show to his son since public opinion held the military responsible for taking part in the war. While he felt that responsibility, he held a grudge against the US for dropping the A-Bomb on his country. On the other hand, I am impressed by the fact that my mother, who originally came from a wealthy dentist's family, endured this harsh reality so well. I was too little at that time to recall details, but a reporter from a local newspaper came to our house, took pictures of us, and wrote an article about how well we were doing.

It was not until 35 years after our exposure to the A-bomb that we received the A-bomb Survivor Health Book. The reason for this delay was because any acquaintances who might have witnessed and testified to our exposure to the A-bomb were scattered all over the place on that day.

It happened accidentally. One of my father's fellow soldiers contacted us all of a sudden and we asked him to testify to our exposure to the A-bomb in Hiroshima. Finally the A-bomb Survivor Health Book came into our hands.

Although in my everyday life I am eager for my work and hobbies and almost forget my exposure to the A-bomb, I always feel some uneasiness about my health. I feel uncomfortable when I see the notice of the A-bomb survivors' medical examinations or when the day of complete physical checkup comes near. I once had the A-bomb survivors' medical examination, but I thought the number of items on the checklist were not enough. So I regularly have independent complete physical checkups.

I am rather young among all the A-bomb survivors. If my mother had been more severely exposed to the A-bomb, I wouldn't have been born and might have set off on a journey to the other side. I am trying to think that I am also a lucky person.

Thankfully, things have gotten easier for us financially. But A-bomb survivors get older every day and 60 years' time makes our memories and interest fade. Improving such laws as the A-bomb Victims Relief Law for overseas A-bomb victims is urgent. Otherwise we are all going to die soon. In our present society, a mountain of problems is piling up. Time never solves anything. Maybe this is the work of politics. Who will solve these problems other than politicians?

Now I am going to put down my pen. I am expecting this project to bring about some change. I pay my respects to all the news reporters in charge. Thank you for your time.

Five years have passed since I replied to the questionnaire about my A-bomb experience. My mother passed away in February last year. The number of A-bomb survivors is steadily decreasing. I'd like to cooperate to the best of my ability by leaving messages for future generations.