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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Echiyo Fukagata (female)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 11 years old at the time / current resident of Fukuoka

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
When the plane was zooming over towards us, my two little brothers were playing outside, so I told them, "Come on, we need to get back in the house." Just when I stood up, there was a big flash, and instantly the house collapsed, crushing me under the rubble.

A cow that weighed about 100 kilograms [220 pounds] had ended up on top of the stuff that was over me. (Between the cowshed and our room there had been about a ten tatami-mat shed) There was nobody around who could deal with the cow just then. When my grandmother got back from the field, she helped drag me out. My legs, which had been stuck under some timber, hurt for a while after I got out, but I wasn't seriously injured.

Grandma said, "Your old granny has been injured, too," so I had a look at her and discovered she had been badly burned. The skin on her back had been so severely scalded that it had peeled away and and was hanging down from her body. She passed away from her injuries on the 12th.

My thirteen-year-old cousin was also crushed under the house. The side of her abdomen was split open, revealing her intestines. She died on the 11th. I also had another cousin, this one 6 years old at that time, who was badly burned, like my grandmother. She was taken to a hospital right away, so I wasn't able to see her. She died about a month later.

My aunt originally had no external wounds, but around October her hair began to fall out. She suffered from diarrhea, and purple spots began to appear on her skin, so she said, "Am I going to die?" We moved her into a 3-tatami-mat shack, where I looked after her by feeding her. She died one day while she was eating. Around that time it was being said that such symptoms -hair loss, diarrhea, and the appearance of purple spots - would lead to death. A couple of years after this my uncle and one of my younger brothers died of cancer.

Two or three weeks after the atom bomb was dropped, I climbed up a hill with a view of Urakami Catholic Church. Everything was ash-colored, and as far as I could see, there was nothing remaining to obstruct the view. I can clearly recall the horrible sight even now.

After that, I went with my father to Dejima to the army outpost to get military supplies, and we had to go together through the main area where the Atom bomb had struck. Father told me that if I wanted to see what people became after they died, then I could have a look. There was a metal helmet with a skull inside it. I was eleven years old, and at first I couldn't force myself to look at it, but when we were on our way home, what he said was still on my mind, so I took just a glance through half-opened eyes.

We had a lot of rain after that. Everywhere the layer of ash was washed away, and therefore a large number of skeletons became exposed to the open air.

There is so much more that I want to write about, but it is really hard to put it all together. This time I just wrote down what came to my mind.

Our family had been evacuated to Nagasaki because our house had been burnt down in the Great Fukuoka Air Raid on June 19th, and we had no house to live in.