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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Naoto Kakimoto (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.3 km from the hypocenter / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Kanagawa

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
The place of exposure to the A-bomb; At the Foundry of Nagasaki Mitsubishi Arms Factory Ohashi Plant; 1.2 km [0.75 mile] from the hypocenter
Home; 222 Hashiguchi-machi, 300 m [two city blocks] from the hypocenter
Number of family members at that time; four, my parents, elder sister and myself three died and I was the only survivor.
My father and elder sister were killed at home by the A-bomb explosion. My mother was missing.

I was directly hit by the A-bomb when I was in the fourth year of the Middle School and working at the Foundry of Mitsubishi Arms Factory Ohashi Plant in Nagasaki under the student mobilization order. Incidentally, the air force torpedoes used in the Pearl Harbor attack were manufactured in this Plant.
The plant was located 1.2 km [3/4 mile] away from the hypocenter and was completely destroyed. It was a miracle that I survived.
Between the time I escaped from the plant to when I found my way to my sister's house in Mizunoura-machi in the evening, I experienced and encountered all sorts of things that could only be described as "hell beyond all imagination".
My sister's house, located halfway up Mt. Inasa, at the back of the Nagasaki Mitsubishi Shipyard, suffered only a minor damage because it stood just behind the mountain.

Next morning my brother-in-law and I went to my house. In the burned-out ruins of my house, we found two bodies, presumably those of my father and sister, but my mother was missing.
Our house was located in Hashiguchi-machi, adjacent to Matsuyama-machi, the hypocenter, near the ascending entrance to the hill of Urakami Prison at the side of Urakami Catholic Church. It was about 300 m [0.2 mile] away from the hypocenter.
At that time my family consisted of four members, my parents, elder sister and myself - I was the only survivor.
Thereafter, until about September 20 the same year when I succumbed to the A-bomb disease, everyday from early in the morning until dusk, I searched for my mother all by myself, mainly between my house and the rice rationing center.
The rice rationing center was located 40 to 50 m [roughly a football field' s length] away from the hypocenter and I thought my mother might have been hit by the A-bomb on her way there to get rice.
I searched deep into the surrounding mountains, visited every farmer's house just outside of town, but could not find any information regarding my mother's whereabouts.
It was such a painful experience - beyond all description - to wander around every day on the hot debris of the burned field under the scorching mid-summer sun.
While searching for my mother those areas littered with debris, I fainted four times. Fortunately, I was rescued by passersby each time.
Thanks to those kind people, I am here today. They gave me encouragement and left without leaving their names.
Sixty-five years later, I still cannot forget all those things that happened during that period. Can you imagine what the A-bomb is really like, its unimaginable, destructive, killing power and immeasurable radioactive damages that have, for the past 65 years, plagued me in the form of physical illness? I have been tormented with one after another, by inscrutable maladies.
During all this time, the reigning is my intense feeling against nuclear arms.