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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Tetsuo Nishimura (male)
'Chokubaku'  2.3 km from the hypocenter / 17 years old at the time / current resident of Kanagawa

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
Right after exposure to the A-bomb, I barely escaped from the debris. First, I searched for a path to get away from the hospital building destroyed by the bomb blast, and finally reached halfway up the hill behind it. I could still hear explosions in the sky above; I was so scared I forgot that my body ached all over and that my day of escape day had begun. As I started looking for safer spots, I gradually realized the situation around me. The whole city of Nagasaki, which was cone-shaped, had instantly become a sea of flames, from both the thermal flash and then from the strong bomb blast, with a wave of heat that reached almost halfway up the hills surrounding the town.

Nearly all the tree and vegetable leaves had shriveled up and even some bamboo trees had fallen. There were no words to describe such a disastrous scene. I could barely look at it with my eyes open. Everywhere, people who had narrowly escaped from the lower part of town to the foothills to escape the fire's spread were lying on the ground. Since they were lightly dressed for the hot summer season, their skin was blistered from burns all over their bodies and their hair was burned to a crisp. I saw many writhing in agony and suffering intense pain, and some who had already passed away. Everything around me had turned into hell on earth, a scene I could not dare looking at. Since what I was seeing was worse than miserable, my body kept trembling. Ever since then, those horrible scenes have never left my mind.

In my exodus, I was immersed in a black rain that I had never experienced before. The summer sun had almost set on the western horizon, To hurry back home, I decided to go back to where I was before, near the hypocenter, and return to my boardinghouse at the foot of a hill on the other side. I walked through areas where fires were nearly out. On the way down from the hills to the bridge over to the other side, there were so many corpses lying in piles. And I also saw many bodies floating in the river. "Terror" is about the only word that can truly express that whole scene.

On the bridge there were people lying about as well unable to move. They all had barely escaped from the disaster.

When I finally got back home, the sun had set below the horizon, and some remaining fires could be seen here and there around town. I had no time to feel relieved, though, because my body remained full of pain for a few days. Looking down from my boarding room on the hillside, the city of Nagasaki looked completely changed beyond all imagination. I then decided to return to my hometown as soon as possible because I thought it was worthless to keep staying in Nagasaki.

Though I'm not able to express even half of what I had experienced and seen with my own eyes, since then I have frequently suffered from some kind of collapse due to anemia, dizziness, headache and malaise.

Headaches eventually became a chronic illness for me.

Fear of the atomic bomb lies in the fact that it is a killing and wounding weapon, where even one explosion has such final and huge effects on the human race, making such a weapon extremely inhumane. Radioactive rays scattered by the explosion affects everyone throughout their lives. Therefore, I strongly urge the United Nations, which is the only organization that can be expected to act, to sign a strict treaty or some kind of international law that will prohibit any stupid actions taken by any country that would use its possession of nuclear weapons to enhance their national prestige. To accomplish this, the United Nations should reform itself by returning to its original functions, and should not join or just go along with the intentions of the few countries that have nuclear arms.