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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Torao Takemoto (male)
'Chokubaku'  1 km from the hypocenter / 14 years old at the time / current resident of Chiba

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
A colleague, who was exposed to radiation just next to me on that day in 1945, passed away last summer. This news came by letter from his wife. Through the former Nagasaki Prefecture Keiho Junior High School, I was told that he died from A-bomb related illnesses. I'm so terrified and can't help thinking that I could be next.
Like me, he was riddled with cancer caused by radiation exposure for the rest of his life: in the stomach, intestines, bladder, prostate, gall bladder, and testicles. I myself underwent an endoscopy several times for recurring gastric ulcers and intestinal polyps, and have had the prostate, gall bladder and testicles removed due to cancer.

My thoughts 60 years since the atomic bombing in Nagasaki

It has been 60 years since that day. I have become weak, both mentally and physically, and even my memory is fading.
Nevertheless, every year when summer comes, I remember some scenes that I witnessed that day.
I described them on one occasion saying that,it was "as if I had witnessed the cries from hell itself."

At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, the dropping of an atomic bomb, which is often onomatopoetically called "Pika-don," exposed the innocent citizens of Nagasaki to a scene of carnage that was totally unimaginable in this world.
Having spent the night in a cave-shaped air-raid shelter in Takenokubo, I got out of Nagasaki the following day. For two days following the bombing, I witnessed the hell in a city that had become like a wasteland, with dead bodies heaped everywhere. I described the scene in my previous memoir titled Hibaku Jisso [A True Story of the Atomic Bombing], and I still remember it vividly.
However, I can no longer bare to describe it.
After I got out of Nagasaki, I walked around 100 kilometers [62 miles] to return to the island where my parents had been waiting for me.
However, my health deteriorated soon after I arrived. For the next three months, I hovered between life and death, apparently due to acute radiation poisoning.

Ever since, for half a century, I've always felt that being an A-bomb victim was a taboo.
The worst part of it all was constant fear about my health condition. In fact, I went through serious illnesses many times, including cancer, and still suffer daily.
It's incomprehensible that I'm still alive despite experiencing such a horrific event. Now I would like to "reopen my memory box."

On that day, the bomber flying above Kokura redirected its course to head to Nagasaki, and the bomb was dropped and exploded 500 meters [about 550 yards,or 1/3 mile] up in the air in Matsuyama, which is located at the center of the Nagasaki-Urakami Basin.
At that moment, I was in front of an air-raid shelter in a former mass evacuation area in Takenokubo, about 900 meters [0.6 mile] southwest from the hypocenter.
I and my colleague Mr. Sugiyama, ware behind a wooden board that was leaning against a three-wheeled car, and just about to open a lunch box that Mrs. Fukuda, who ran the guest house, cordially prepared for us.

It is said that the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was made from plutonium-239, and that it was slightly larger and more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima.
The power of the atomic bomb is mainly released in three ways: heat, blast wave and radiation.
The atomic bomb utilizes energy produced by the collision of atomic nuclei. The total energy emitted at the time of the explosion was 20 trillion calories [about 84 terajoules]. A third of the energy consists of heat, and the temperature at the hypocenter can easily exceed 1500°C [about 2700°F] a point at which iron begins to melt. The temperature at the hypocenter is estimated to have been 3000 to 4000°C[about 5400 to 7200°F], and people who were outside are said to have been vaporized in an instant. Those who were several kilometeres away were also exposed to rays of light and suffered burns.