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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Chikara Matsufuji (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.2 km from the hypocenter / 13 years old at the time / current resident of Tochigi

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
The unusual roar of a bomber passed above my head and there was a sudden gleam of light. Alarmed, I crunched down covering my eyes and ears with my hands. When I became conscious again, I was stuck between beams. As I somehow managed to get out, I found it was dark all over; all the houses were destroyed and flattened. I saw my little brother. I heard my sister, but she was caught under the debris. My mother, who was in the neighborhood, rushed home and rescued my sister. The left side of her back was severely burned. I was bruised on the back and had no strength in my arms, which were simply hanging down. My mother had a badly injured Achilles tendon.

Fires had started from several places. I looked for my grandmother but she was nowhere to be found. We started to run toward the graveyard on the mountainside as we felt danger approaching. On the way we saw people in the worst condition imaginable. They begged us for help but, being ourselves wounded, we couldn't give a hand. We were just running away. We could do nothing to help the small child swollen with blisters from severe burns on his whole body, rolling around on the ground in pain, screaming, " Mom, it hurts… water…"

The dusk fell. The town was an ocean of fire. We saw flames blowing out from an elementary school's windows. Next day, combat planes flew over us several times. They flew low at the level of my eyes in what looked like a victorious mood. As might have been expected, they did not harm us. On the way to the emergency clinic, there were many severely injured people on both sides of the street either getting assisted or waiting to get help. Our injuries were comparatively light.

I can't explain in words the scene of devastation. There were many dead bodies. I thought this was the end of the world. However, there were people gathering the dead and taking them away. Several days later my sister passed away. Starting around then, from symptoms of what is called "Genbaku-sho" or "A-bomb disease," those people who were fine up until then passed away one by one. My brother and I also started to show the symptoms. We moved to a house spread with tatami-mats. As he lay next to me, my brother said in agony, "Brother, I'm going first." "Mmmm...." I couldn't say anything.

Thanks to my family's dedicated care, I survived the vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, bleeding gums, and purpura. I was extremely happy the first time I could go outside, although people would avoid walking close to me as they passed. I had stones in the urinary tract again and again. I am likely to continue falling ill with high blood pressure, angina pectoris, diabetes, and stomach cancer…. However, I am determined to live not only for myself but also for the souls of the Nagasaki dead. I will do my best.