JAPANESE

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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Ryuzo Nakano (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.5 km from the hypocenter / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Saga
5692

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
Those days, with other students, I was ordered to work at an armory in Nagasaki. When the A-bomb was dropped, I was still sleeping in the two-story wooden dormitory after the night shift. The students and the dormitory itself were blasted away by the explosion into the nearby rice paddy. I managed to pull myself out of the rubble. Soon fires broke out everywhere. A woman, who was stuck under the debris, was burnt to death while screaming for help. Five or six classmates of mine tried to rescue her, but because of the rapid spread of the fire, they could do nothing. When we get together, we always talk about her last cry, which still rings in our ears. I'd like to stop here because there is not enough space to describe what I saw and heard at that time.

According to my wife, before we got married, some of her relatives had raised an objection to our marriage, saying that because I was a "hibakusha," or an A-bomb survivor, our children might be born with deformities. Those days, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum displayed some large pictures of deformed babies born of A-bomb survivors.

When my daughter became of marriageable age, my wife asked me not to tell anyone that I was an A-bomb victim in case people might hold it against our child. That is why I abstained from even attending gatherings of A-bomb survivors. However, since she got married and had children, I've been participating in the gatherings for the last five or six years.

A former classmate of mine collected essays on the experiences of A-bomb survivors and published a book entitled Fifty Years after Nagasaki. An elementary school principal read it and asked me to give a lecture at his school. Since then, when summer comes, I have been invited to elementary and junior high schools to give a talk about my experiences of the A-bomb disaster.

America says that they dropped the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to expedite the end of the war. There might be some truth in that, but I believe that the U.S. government wanted to test the bombs not only at the nuclear test site, but also on real human beings.

The proof is that a group of American medical staff came to Nagasaki soon after the end of the war and investigated the effects of the bomb on us survivors, but they never gave us any medical treatment.
(2005)