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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Teruko Shimizu (female)
'Chokubaku'  2.6 km from the hypocenter / 12 years old at the time / current resident of Nagasaki

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
On August 9, 1945, it was a hot sweltering day. At the end of the Pacific War and when defeat seemed inevitable, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and the war ended with disastrous consequences. "Flash" and "boom" . . . a blinding flash and tremendous blast scorched the town and destroyed buildings and roads, and tens of thousands of people died. At that time, my house was located near the present Economics Department of Nagasaki University in Katafuchi-machi, which was 2.6 km [1.6 miles] from the hypocenter. My family had just come back to Nagasaki, which was my father's hometown, a year earlier from China after my father died.

At first, we thought an incendiary bomb had been dropped on our house. My mother, younger brother and I rushed into the shelter. There we saw many people trying to escape from the bomb. They were shaking with fear. By the time the sun became flaming red, wounded people, with their faces and hair scorched, were coming towards us over Mt. Konpira from the Urakami area. When I saw these people I wanted to cover my eyes and knew we had lost the war. Since then, Japan has made a remarkable recovery. Nowadays we can't find a trace of the devastation.

Recently, we hear voices of people from all over the world calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. However, it is regrettable that China has carried out an underground nuclear test. France has also carried out many nuclear bomb tests at Mururoa Atoll. We must raise our voices; we have to abolish nuclear weapons, which can wipe out all humankind on earth.

We don't want future generations to know the misery of war. In the 60 years since the war, we have survived strong and tough. I wonder how bomb survivors and people in the world would face 11:02 a.m. on August 9 this year. That day, this year, especially, has a sobering effect on me. I hope peace will prevail on earth forever, and pray for the victims on this, the 60th year after the A-bombing.

I feel glad that my humble words have been accepted. Sixty-five years after the war, now I am 77 years old but never forget that day. In 1957, an atomic bomb survivor's health handbook which also serves as proof of exposure/victim of the A-bomb was issued to me by the city as the first case from the special zone. I have suffered from many illnesses but thanks to the handbook, I don't have to pay any medical bills. My mother never received the handbook, and she died in 1971.

My address at the time of the exposure: 934 Katafuchi-machi, Nagasaki. The present house number is slightly different.