JAPANESE

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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Katsue Jitsumoto (male)
'Chokubaku'  4 km from the hypocenter / current resident of Kanagawa
4620

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
Appeal for peace
When I was ten, I went to Inasa Elementary School and I always carried a gas mask and an air raid hood. Every day at school we were taught how to signal with a flag and to immediately lay face down on the ground covering our ears in the event of an air raid evacuation or if a bomb was dropped.

I felt that this training, as well as air raid warnings, often left us with little time for learning.

My family moved to Yoriai-machi, 4 km [2.5 miles] away from the bombed area, when I was in the 4th grade. On August 9, when the air raid warning had been lifted and I was playing in the lane, I saw something like a parachute fall then I heard a big "bang" accompanied by a pink and blue flash. I dropped to the ground, covering my eyes and ears with my hands as I was told at school. Soon I realized I was unhurt. My parents told me that the tatami mats lifted up in the blast and I remember a cushion drying in the sun on the roof had caught fire and was smoldering.

B-29 bombers came flying over from the surrounding mountains. They were so high that the anti-aircraft artillery could not reach them. I found it mortifying even though I was only a child. I shiver with fear when I recall low-flying planes, chasing people and spraying them with machine gun fire. The next day my parents and I went to our old house in Inasa. Everywhere we looked there were corpses strewn about Nagasaki Station square. I still remember the eeriness of the piles of burning bodies, the smoke and the stench. The steel frames of the Mitsubishi dockyard were twisted like candy, glass had melted and people were like shapes seared onto stones. For more than a week, the town of Nagasaki was a burning sea.
(2010)