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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Masayo Yasumoto (female)
'Chokubaku'  4.2 km from the hypocenter / 20 years old at the time / current resident of Kagoshima

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
The U.S. President's speech in April 2009 stressed the need for eradication of nuclear weapons, and the entire world must focus its attention on this. My experience described below with the A-bombing must be known to the public and I strongly wish that all nuclear weapons are banished from this world, as soon as possible.

At 11:02 a.m., August 9, 1945, just one A-bomb instantaneously burned down Nagasaki, reducing it to ashes. That day, my father went to work and didn't come home. My mother had died when I was in the sixth grade in elementary school.

We were a family of four: father, stepmother, my sister and me. My sister came home safely that day. I had been working as an inspector for the Mitsubishi Arms Factory Morimachi Plant. Since the war situation had escalated, part of the factory had moved to Himi Tunnel in Hongouchi-machi where I was working. Therefore, I wasn't killed by the bombing but blown away by the terrific blast. If I had been working at the Morimachi Plant, I wouldn't be living today.

When my father didn't come home, I went to the Nagasaki train station with a canteen on my shoulder and a towel around my neck. Yet, I couldn't go to the Urakami area, the hypocenter, because I was only a youngster and not brave enough to step out into such a tragic scene. My legs were shaking with fear, so I came back home that day. Three days after the huge fire was put out, I set out on the trip again, from Nagasaki Station to the Urakami area, carrying my canteen and towel. I covered my mouth with a wet towel while walking along and accidentally stepped on legs and arms of the dead. Being so startled, I apologized to them in my mind. Arriving in Urakami, I found layers of dead people on the Urakami River bank and saw half of the river water covered with dead bodies. A mother was crazily calling her child's name. After seeing so many dead people, I finally reached Matsuyama-machi, the location of the factory where my father used to work. It happened to be the hypocenter and I saw nothing but charred round things, which were apparently heads without bodies or legs, just lying around here and there. I couldn't even cry as I was completely stunned just standing there. I couldn't identify my father's head, so I left there. Later on, I knew that the only survivor was the factory manager, who had been attending a meeting at the city hall, while the situation of all other workers was grim. One week after the A-bombing, I went to the main factory at Mori-machi to help the survivors of the A-bombing. The people injured were lying in rows there. I was surprised to recognize a person who was totally bandaged, with only his eyes wide open and visible. It happened to be Mr. Mori, the product finishers' foreman of the factory. A man lying on a straw mat called me and faintly said, "Lady, water…..water!" So I tried to give him some water, but the person in charge there stopped me, saying, "If you do so, he will die." So I had to leave him, but felt so sorry for him. When I came back the next day, he was covered with a mat which meant he had passed away. I still regret and feel that I should have given him some water, because he had to die anyway.

Even those who survived soon lost their hair or developed scars on their bodies, and many passed away, one after another. The dead bodies were disfigured, with peeling skin showing from their sleeves and trousers, and were terribly swollen up. The burns and gashes on survivors' bodies were covered with swarming maggots, but medicine wasn't available for treatment. Our last resort was to remove the maggots with tweezers and then spread the burns and gashes with talcum powder.