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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Sueji Suzuki (male)
'Chokubaku'  2.1 km from the hypocenter / 16 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.
Declaration on the 60th Anniversary of the Exposure to the Atomic Bomb
We, people of Japan, have experienced great suffering from atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, carpet bombing, and the lethal dust of radioactive fallout.
In one of the student mobilization programs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was exposed to the atomic bomb on August 9th, 1945. It has been sixty years since the day when fifty-four students in my school were killed in a moment. For three days, I transported my classmates suffering from burns and wounds to the train station and cremated those who had died. Many of my friends suffered serious injuries, and even those who were not wounded became victims to cancer. Half of my classmates from that day have died and are long gone.

Today I am 76 years old. Those among us who have survived till now have to go through painful treatment in our daily lives from the two or three illnesses that we carry. We must protect not just human beings but all living plants and animals who call this planet home. Atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, chemical weapons, biological weapons, neutron weapons and all weapons of mass destruction must be banned and eliminated.

Those who use the above-mentioned weapons commit the greatest crimes against humanity, and I believe possession of such weapons alone deserves severe penalties.

I appeal to the wisdom of humanity and anticipate the decisions of governments and the United Nations.

From "The Exposure to the Atomic Bomb and My Life"

1. The Three Days after Exposure to the Atomic Bomb
August 9, 1945: Day One
The skies of Nagasaki were blue and clear, and the green mountains and hills were spread out below them. I was working at the Mitsubishi Weaponry Manufacture's tunnel factory, spinning a drum.

Then there was a flash. It was around 11 o'clock in the morning.

The rock wall of the underground factory flashed, lighting up the room like mid-day, and fuses in the machines threw sparks and blew up. Then everything went pitch black. A few seconds later:


I was blown off my feet by the thundering noise and tremendous blast of the explosion, almost thrown into a milling machine.

"They dropped a bomb close by!"
"They might attack us again!"
Somebody was shouting in a loud voice.
Then there was darkness and an eerie silence. I held my breath. From far away I heard an orderly shouting far away.

"All students in training need to go immediately to the school!"

This brought me back to my senses and I felt around for about ten meters [3.3 feet, or 11 yards]in the darkness to find my way out. When I got outside, not a single building stood near the entrance. The sky was dark as if the sun was setting and from every place I could see black smoke was puffing out, while the ground was burning with red flames.

A grotesque scene appeared before me, a mother and child. The mother's chest and back were bare; she was somehow carrying her child on her back with mere strings. Their faces were so blackened and swollen by burns that I couldn't even distinguish eyes, mouths, or noses. Hair, burned to a crisp and skin, peeling and festering from burns. The roads were seas of blazing fire as flames spread between burning factory buildings. We couldn't use the roads so we crossed the stream and walked on the paths in the rice paddies.

All the grass and rice stalks were burned and looked like dead leaves. I saw a horse lying next to the road, covered in blood, its eyes glazed as it lost its strength. When we finally managed to climb up the path on the slope of the hill, we saw all four of the two-story dormitory buildings engulfed in flames. Black smoke was rising from them as high as the heavens. When the four or five of us students reached the school,

"Students who can move, come with me."

It was Mr. M, carrying a Japanese sword on his back, shouting in a loud voice. He looked desperate. We followed without a word and followed after him to the concrete-rebar building that was the main school building. All of the windows were blown out, leaving only the wooden frames. Inside the school, the hallways and classrooms were filled with rubble, making it difficult to walk through. The teacher found the emergency pails and strictly ordered us:

"Divide up and go to each floor to stop the fire before it spreads to the school's main building."

I was assigned to the biology classroom on the third floor. The fire spread and chased us, through the music room, art room, judo and kendo gyms, getting within a few meters to the main building. Some of the flames were higher than ten meters [about 33 feet, or 11 yards].

I desperately grabbed and got rid of anything flammable in the room like the curtains, loose papers, and black-out drapes that were scattered around the windows. The flames crawled up the walls and reached the ceiling, white smoke started rising from the wooden window frames. I threw the water over them quickly before they burst into flames. Getting and moving the water from the hallway was another difficulty. My head and face were overheating from the high temperature of the heat, and when it became difficult to breathe, I poured the water over my head to keep struggling. I was lucky there weren't many window frames in that room.

I think it took more than half an hour to extinguish the fire. We got another order before receiving the confirmation signal that the fire was no longer spreading:

"Go bring aid to the injured in the shelters on the mountain."