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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Genji Yamaguchi (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 18 years old at the time / current resident of Wakayama

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
I will never forget the moment when I was struck by the flash and the blast during my work as a mobilized student at the torpedo production plant, or "the tunnel factory" as we called it. I collapsed and was in a state of shock for some time with no idea what was going on. Upon receiving a request for rescue of classmates, I went out of the tunnel with my friends and took a look from the top of the hill. I found the city of Nagasaki covered with flames. Who started saying it is unknown to me, but I heard some shout, "A new-model bomb!"
We headed for the school dormitory while encouraging injured friends. When we arrived there, I was stunned by the horrible sight. School friends had gathered there, their entire faces swollen from burns including eyes, noses and lips. They were looking like monsters, and I couldn't tell who was who until I asked their names. The wooden dormitory building had been crushed and was in flames.
Instantly, teachers and students together started rescue operations. The slightly injured laid the seriously injured on makeshift stretchers of wooden boards and carried them to relief trains waiting between stations, or all the way to a station. On the way we saw an endless procession of crowds of injured people with their hair in disarray and their burned skin showing from their torn shirts. Ghostlike, they were walking weakly toward a relief train. The area around the station was filled with painful-looking hibakusha who hardly looked like humans, waiting for the train.
I heard people groaning "Give me water" ― all around me. When no more space was left to carry in the injured, we started transporting them to a distant elementary school. Some died before reaching there. After three days of rescue activity, I went home and the war was over.

Twenty days after the bombing, I developed a high fever, which continued for a long time. I was ill with symptoms of the radiation disease. The only medical treatment I could turn to was vitamin C injections administered by the doctor of my home village. I lay flat in bed for approximately one half year. I returned to school after one year of absence.
I no longer have the impulse I used to have to cover my eyes and ears with my hands when lightning flashes. But each year as the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings returns, I recall my firsthand experience in all its vividness. I tell myself I should never approve of the A-bomb and strengthen my wish for peace. (April 4, 2005)

The place of exposure to radiation: Mitsubishi Arms Factory's Second Machinery Plant, nicknamed the Tunnel Factory, in Sumiyoshi-machi, Nagasaki.
On August 7, 2008, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation ) broadcast a program titled "Buried Arms Factory: Testimony of the Torpedo Factory Exposed to Radiation in Nagasaki." This program presented the tragic state of the Tunnel Factory after the A-bomb, incorporating files possessed by NARA (United States National Archives and Records Administration) that documented the interior and the exterior of the Tunnel Factory two months after its exposure to radiation. The program showed the present state of the Tunnel Factory as well. Today four of the six tunnels are buried. The city of Nagasaki plans to restore the remaining two tunnels and open them to the public as buildings hit by the A-bomb. (I was exposed to radiation near the center of the third tunnel from the right.)
The distance from the hypocenter: 2.3 km [1.4 miles].
The place of entry into the city immediately after the bombing for three days of rescue activity: Nishi-Urakami Yono-go, now Showa-machi, Nagasaki, near the Nagasaki Higher School of Education.
The distance from the hypocenter: 1.8 km [1.1 miles]. Recognized as A-bomb disease patient by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, December 19 2008.