The text area starts here.

  • Before reading this site

Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Hisao Matsuo (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.1 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Nagasaki

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
1. My family of five died all at once. I wish for peace and an end to conflict.
(In 2005)

My Hibaku Experience: An Unforgettable Scene

I am now 82 years old. It's been 65 years and there are so many things that I can only faintly recall. I lost five family members to the A-bomb, three of whom were never found. Even now the scenes are clearly burned into my eyes as though it were only yesterday.

August 9, 1945 was a beautiful day. After finishing my breakfast I said goodbye to my mother and left home. When I had been walking for one or two minutes I heard my mother call my name, asking "Are you coming home tonight?" She had come out from the house and was standing in the street.
At that time I was working at the Mitsubishi Arms Factory, Ohashi Plant, located about 1200 meters away from the hypocenter. I made parts for aerial torpedoes. I told my mother that I wasn't coming home because I had air-strike duty that night. Her smiling face gave way to a lonely expression; feeling strange, I headed to the plant. At this point I had no idea I would never see her again. But she must have felt something. I will never forget the sight of her: her premonition that this was goodbye, the final appearance and conversation she left me with.

I arrived at the plant and after completing our morning radio exercises we started working. Around lunch time a lady came to collect my meal coupon for dinner. I handed her the coupon and started chatting with the workers next to me, when all of a sudden there was an intense light, like the flash of a camera, and a loud noise. Wondering if something had exploded, I turned around and saw a sea of flame outside. This is all I can remember.
For a moment I lay there unconscious. Then I came to feeling like my body had been flung onto the ground in the explosion. Just as I thought I'd try to get up, the team leader started shouting, making sure everyone was all right. I answered that I was. When I stood up I realized that everything had changed drastically. The roof had been blown away and the steel beams and columns were bent. The sun appeared, dull and red, behind a swirling haze of dust and debris. I was dumfounded: what could have caused such damage? I gathered with my colleagues around the team leader. While discussing the situation someone pointed out that it would be dangerous if the plant were to catch fire, so we decided to quickly evacuate. It wasn't easy, but we eventually got out by doing our best to climb over and under the layers of wreckage. There was nothing left standing outside. All the buildings had been destroyed.

I left the plant and made my way home. I saw railroad tracks beyond some rice fields so I ran towards them along the path. I got to the stone wall surrounding the tracks and climbed up on top. Standing there looking towards the center of the city I could see something like white smoke rising from the railroad ties. While running along the train tracks trying to figure out the meaning of this disaster, I stepped on a nail with my left foot. I hadn't noticed until then that I was barefoot. I examined the smoke coming out of the ties, but it just continued smoldering. I kept on towards home. When I came to the area around Iwaya Bridge (located in Ohbashi-machi), I heard someone calling me. I asked if there was something I could do. The person asked me to help pull someone out of a collapsed house. I peered inside and saw a woman, and after a while we managed to help her get out of there. She seemed to be fine. There were no more flames in the area.