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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Shizuko Osajima (female)
'Chokubaku'  1 km from the hypocenter / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Saitama

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
1. August 9th was a calm day with fair skies, so our task for the day was digging an air-raid shelter. That day was my turn for meal duty. Although it was a little early for lunch, I decided it would be better to go ahead and get the boxed lunches for all of us from the Army Provisions Depot, while no air raids were going on. The moment I entered the Depot, a soundless white light flashed and a heap of rubble fell on top of me, trapping and burying me alive while I was still standing. Dust and smoke filled the area, and oxygen was reduced to nothing; I couldn't breathe and it was too painful to speak. Unable to call for help, I was wondering what was going on when some of the debris over my head was blown off with a noisy gust of powerful wind. I thought someone had come to rescue me, but there was no one around. I peeped through a crevice. The scene outside was a bleak and strange town painted in Indian ink, through which I could not find my way. The shortage of oxygen had made my face go round, caused my arms to swell, and had given my head a bloated appearance. Since that time I have been suffering from an incurable illness, so that my memory of that moment still haunts me even today.

2. My dormitory was the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard Komaba Girls' Dormitory, located in the heart of the area directly impacted by the atomic bomb (in front of the Matsuyama-machi streetcar stop). My companions and I had left our hometowns in Kagoshima, Shikoku,Tsushima Island, Isahaya, the Shimabara peninsula (me) and the Goto archipelago and had come up to Nagasaki to join the wartime corps of women volunteer workers and to live in this dormitory together. Sixty years have passed since then, and I wish I could see them again now.

3. Although there are many frightening things in life such as earthquakes, fires, robbers, an atomic bomb is different because it changes the human body. If dying finishes us off, it is meant to end, but some victims linger on and suffer. They can not die even though they wish they could. I have had enough of being in a body that won't let me work even though I long to. Survivors, me included, should be the last people with such damaged bodies. I do hope that the age of our grandchildren shall be peaceful, and they will be healthy and sound.