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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Noriko Nakata (female)
'Chokubaku'  3 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Kumamoto

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
The one thing in my life that I will never forget is the date August 9, 1945 (Showa 20). On this day, I was dispatched to the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard as a mobilized student. After the A-bomb fell this, too, was over, and the four of us, my mother, younger brother, younger sister and I, returned to Kumamoto, the hometown of my father, as if fleeing the war's end. This, also, was by order of the military headquarters. As soon as we arrived in Kumamoto, my mother and I developed a feverish illness as a result of our exposure to the A-bomb, and the villagers were fearful that we had brought some kind of awful disease with us from Nagasaki. My mother passed away in little more than a month. Thanks to my father's care I was saved, but because of the aftereffects of the feverish disease, I became unable to bend my left hip joint. I was then hospitalized in Nagasaki for six months, but since they were unable to find the cause, I went to an orthopedist in Yamaga, Kumamoto Prefecture. The doctor said that my hip joint had melded to another bone because of the feverish disease, and although they operated on my hip joint and ground down the bone, my left hip joint still failed to bend. Even to this day, I can't sit without using a chair.

When I was young my body was limber so I could get by. But nowadays, I've gotten older, and I feel very tired because the burden on my right leg is so heavy.

And I mutter, if only there had been no war and the A-bomb had not been dropped, my body would not have become like this. I think about this all the time.

After the atomic bomb fell, my father went every day from the shipyard to the center of the city to collect dead bodies and this took days. He was as healthy and strong as the next man, but afterwards he began falling down at work in the company. He retired and went back to Kumamoto, but died 10 years later.

Three years ago in December when I was 78 years old, even though I lived in a pretty small room, because my left leg was bad, I began to trip over little things and I fell, which resulted in fractures to my left femur and neck. I was then operated on and hospitalized for five and a half months before I was released from the hospital. I underwent rehabilitation while doing household chores in my home, and I'm doing well now.

However, until I became well, it was really hard. Fortunately, I was never confined to my bed, and now I can do all the household chores and look after my husband, who has dementia.

I was exposed to the A-bomb at Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard Akunoura Plant, 3.5 km[2.2 miles] from the hypocenter.