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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Noboru Sasaura (male)
'Chokubaku'  4.8 km from the hypocenter / 10 years old at the time / current resident of Tokyo

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
I was age 9 and living in a place about 4.8 km [3 miles] north of the hypocenter when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. My relatives were living in the city of Nagasaki, so they were all instantly annihilated. My father said that he and some other people went to their relatives' home to search for the remains of their families, but they couldn't find anything left.

I had a lot of siblings. On that day (August 9, 1945), my younger brother had gone out to cut bamboo with my father. I was on a wooden floor in our house with my mother, my baby sister and other siblings.

Just as my mother had said that something was falling from the sky, there was a flash and a loud explosion. Our sliding doors were blown to pieces by a ferocious blast of wind, and inside the house we could barely see because of all the dirt and dust. Then my older brother asked me to come with him to look for explosive material that may have been remaining inside our house, but we didn't find anything. We then decided to go next door to look for explosives, but we didn't find anything there either.

Meanwhile heavy dark smoke had started to pour in from the city of Nagasaki moving in the direction of Kawahira City (located about 5 km [3.1 miles] northeast of the hypocenter). I don't remember how many days the smoke lasted.

After the bombing, our elementary school became a shelter for refugees and a center for disaster relief.

It seems as though students between the ages of 14 and 15 must have been drafted to care for the victims. I still remember what my sister told me. The victims, who were terribly burned by radiation, all cried out for water; so she would give them with some, but they would die as soon as they finished drinking. My sister, who was 15 years old at that time, was not sure whether she should give them water or not. Since victims of the bomb were dying every day, there were cremations taking place continuously, day and night, at a site located about 600 meters [656.2 yards or 0.4 mile] east of our house. I don't remember how many days those cremations went on for back then. My older brother of 81 years and my older sister of 75 years might remember that period better.

When I was about 11 years old, I passed the hypocenter with my brother. I remember I saw a horse's bones by the roadside, a chimney broken apart and only a half of torii (archway on the path to a Shinto shrine) left standing. I will never forget the sad sight of Urakami Cathedral, located about 500 meters [547 yards or 0.3 mile] northeast of the hypocenter, with fallen spires that were reduced to a hollow shell of rubble. Also, I saw that Mitsubishi Seiki Mfg. Co. had been completely demolished.

This is my mother's story. I also witnessed this. One of my big brothers -- my mother's second oldest son -- had a coworker whose back had been terribly burned by the atomic explosion, so she took charge of nursing him. Since mercurochrome was the only medicine we had, however, my mother made a burn dressing by grating potatoes, and she applied this to the burn. She changed this dressing every day to relieve the pain. Discharge from the burn went all the way through two futon mats, and even made the tatami mat underneath it wet. If this co-worker is still alive, he would be about 78 years old now.

If you would like to interview someone else, I think my older brother and sister would be helpful, because they helped care for bomb victims. They remember those days very well.

How many years have passed since we insisted on the abolition of nuclear weapons? Everyone in the world must pledge to eliminate nuclear weapons, and then move into action on getting rid of them as soon as possible. The earth belongs not only to humankind but also to animals and plants. Besides, it seems to me that military force is often used to take advantage in foreign affairs nowadays.

I'd like to ask leaders from each country, as fellow citizens of the earth, to promote good diplomacy with dignity.