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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Yoshimi Yamauchi (male)
'Chokubaku'  3 km from the hypocenter / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Fukuoka

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
Our house was about 550 meters [602 yards, or 0.3 mile] from ground zero and everyone in my family perished. At the time my father (44 years old), mother (40), aunt (my mother's sister, 34) and her child (Chieko, 3) were in the house. When I returned there on August 10, everything had burned down and there was no knowing whether my family members were dead or alive. I was 15 and totally at a loss what to do. I sent a postcard by express mail to an uncle (my mother's younger brother) in Imari and asked if he could have a look at the burned-out site. With an adult's judgment, he concluded that they had all died. My mother and the young girl were found as nothing but bones in the middle of what had been our house. My father and my aunt had been upstairs and blasted out of the house and their bodies were found in the street, scorched black. As I look back, I still wonder if my uncle could have been wrong. Could it really have happened? But everyone who saw the two carbonized bodies in the middle of the street told me it did happen. I felt no sadness. I could not cry.

As I wrote in my recollections, I am still horrified by the depth of the crime that the dropping of the bomb represented. When I first saw a dead body I was shocked and petrified with terror, but I remained in that hellish world day in and day out and came to see the corpses just as objects. My senses were paralyzed. Something happens to a person's mental condition. I have been telling children that this is the reality of war and the horror of war.

We should never let future generations go through this horrific experience of ours. In spite of the fifty years of our campaign for total abolition of nuclear weapons, the world is now traveling the path of war. The more than 140,000 precious lives in Hiroshima and over 70,000 lives in Nagasaki must not be allowed to have been lost for nothing. However, the sixty years of peace we have had since have allowed people to overlook that this could happen again. My remaining years are short, and I only pray something like that will never be repeated.

Sixty-five years have passed since the day I experienced Hell. I have been blessed with a life twice as long as my mother's. Five years ago, I cried when I read my book of remembrances. At the time I was serving as Chairman of the Fukuoka City Association of A-Bomb Survivors and passionate about the abolition of nuclear weapons, but now I no longer have that passion. That this could happen to someone even with experiences such as mine makes me feel the difficulty of conveying my message to younger generations and also feel disappointed.

Please lend us the power of the mass media. This is my last wish.