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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Shohachi Hamada (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.8 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.
In those days, I boarded at the place of my aunt, the late Setsu Aochi, at 75-42 Ofunagura-machi in Nagasaki. I was a student of the business section of Keiho prefectural middle school. Having received student mobilization orders, I worked for Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing Company. My job was checking the material for one part of Navy torpedoes. We would measure each piece to see whether they had been cut according to the drafting. I busily checked hundreds of them a day. As I recall, I went to school instead on August 8, 1945. Regardless of holidays, Sundays, or workdays, all students were instructed to report to school on the eighth of each month to commemorate the start of the US-Japan war in order to boost our morale. At the morning assembly the principal read aloud the imperial rescript announcing the war.

After that, we members of the Patriotic Volunteer Corps trained until after lunchtime under the military officer assigned to our school. I left school at 3 p.m. that day for my parents' place in Teguma. The following morning on the 9th, I rose at 6:30 and headed for the steelworks. Hearing an air raid alert on the way, I killed time awhile in the mountains. Then I resumed my walk, wishing for a prompt all clear. When I reached Ohashi, the alert was lifted. So I got on the streetcar and went as far as to the Urakami Railroad Station stop through Iwakawa-machi. I was about to enter the gate of the steelworks, but a guard cautioned me.

I was not allowed to enter, and all students had been ordered to wait in air raid shelters. It was past ten o'clock. I decided to go to my aunt's home in Ofunagura-machi and walked away from the Urakami Station stop. On arriving at her house, I cooled a towel in cold water in the kitchen and was starting to dry my upper body, drippy with summer perspiration. Just then I heard a radio broadcast: "The Western District Army announces that two middle-size enemy bombers are flying westward over Amakusa in Kagoshima prefecture. Nagasaki area citizens should keep strict guard." I started hearing the roar of planes. Covering my ears, I ducked down under the concrete sink. With a thousand rays of light, the ground rumbled as if to shatter heaven and earth. When I opened my eyes, the world was pitch dark. For fifteen or so seconds, I had no idea of the situation. But light gradually shone from beneath as time went by. The neighborhood was filled with voices calling one another's name to make certain of their safety. Fortunately, my aunt was unhurt, protected in the bathtub she was then washing. We removed the debris and went outside right away. What we saw suggested a scene after an earthquake. Roof tiles and doors, among other objects, were totally destroyed.