JAPANESE

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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

KT (male)
'Kenshin'  / 10 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo
9188

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. Text; Extracts from my personal experiences of the A-bomb in Hiroshima

On the morning of August 6, 1945, it was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky. At the time, I was in the fifth grade of elementary school. Two years previously, all members of my family had evacuated from Midori-machi, 3 km south of the hypocenter, to Ishiuchi, Saeki District, 6 km west as the crow flies from Midori-machi. There was no doctor in the village we moved to. The mayor of the village persuaded my parents, both doctors, to move to the village by saying that they would not have to worry about food. Our family had four poorly-fed children, so my parents jumped at the mayor's offer. They agreed to cross two mountains to move to that lonely village.

Lessons began at eight in the morning in the classroom on the second floor. After fifteen minutes, the hustle and bustle of pupils finally subsided. The dazzling summer sunshine streamed through the window on the eastern side of the classroom facing the playground.

Suddenly, a blinding flash several times stronger than sunlight spread through the classroom penetrating into our eyes. I ran up anxiously to the window side to find out if an incendiary bomb had been dropped and the school building had caught fire. When I saw that nothing was amiss, I went back to my desk with an easy mind.

Then, a few seconds later, came an unbelievable blast, breaking windowpanes into shards of glass. At the same time, the blast rocked the school building for several minutes with an intensity of approximately five on the Japanese six-point earthquake scale used at the time.

Pieces of broken glass, large and small, were embedded in the faces of pupils sitting near the window. Their faces were dripping with blood. The screaming voice of the classroom teacher, his face frozen in fear of impending death, echoed through the classroom. The scene was a living hell, full of people crying and screaming in agony.

For quite some time the two-storied wooden school building had been in danger of collapse. To prevent the building from falling down, it was supported externally by bamboo poles on both right and left sides. The school building was so shabby that it was nicknamed the "tsuppari school". (Tsuppari means "to support something" in the Hiroshima dialect.) The shaking was so powerful that I thought the building would collapse and that I would be buried and die squashed beneath it.