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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Anonymous (male)
'Chokubaku'  2.5 km from the hypocenter / 15 years old at the time / current resident of Kumamoto
3191

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
There are things I can never forget but don't want to remember. I was a 15-year-old student. All classes were cancelled and we were drafted to work at a Mitsubishi factory. From the latter half of 1944, an increasing number of Grumman fighters took off from aircraft carriers and flew over our city, machine-gunning people and dropping small bombs. During one air raid, we lay down on the ground, but our factory supervisor was shot to death. Being 15 years of age, I was full of fight and ready for death, thinking, "If enemy planes want to come, let them come anytime." We had no freedom of speech and were always watched by the military police and the special police. From March or April in 1945, there were more and more air raids and the pace of our work suffered. I think it was in May that enemy planes dropped flyers. They said, "Japan is a good country, a country of kami (double meaning: gods and paper). It will be reduced to ashes in July and August." I hear the flyers were collected and burned, but I managed to read one.

On August 9, before the siren for an air alert could stop sounding, there was an air raid warning. Soon enemy planes flew over us, at a high altitude, perhaps 5,000 to 6,000 m[16,000 to 20,000 feet] high. The B-29 bombers looked small to our eyes. I was working with a friend on the deck of a landing craft. Looking at the enemy planes, we said to each other that they might be going to northern Kyushu. Then we saw a B-29 dropping something black.
It was hanging under a parachute and was not falling down fast, so we kept looking at it. After two or three minutes, a horrendous flash of light and heat assaulted us. I was temporarily but instantly blinded and lay down right there. When I opened my eyes, it was pitch-dark. Hurriedly we got off the landing craft and stood on the ground. There was an eardrum-breaking explosion and a terrible blast; I clung to a column. After the blast, we rushed into the air raid shelter, but it was too late. Both land and sky were as dark as night. When we received the instructions to leave the area, we went back to the dormitory.

The dormitory should have been standing on the hillside, about 2 km [1.2 miles] from the factory. It had been a plainly made two-story building and housed 6,000 students and 4,000 conscripted workers. When we got there, we found it had been reduced to rubble and uninhabitable. Taking our own belongings with us, we moved into an air raid shelter. We could not get enough food and one day went without anything to eat. On August 13, Mitsubishi announced they could no longer continue to run the factory, so we decided to return home. On that day, we left the factory and walked through the hills into the city area of Nagasaki. I don't remember how far I walked, looking for a train to catch. I walked through Hotarujaya, Hamamachi, Ohato, Nagasaki Station, Urakami, and Michi-no-o, where I was finally able to catch the train. From around Ohato, I saw charred dead bodies. Four days after the A-bomb blast, there were still several thousand dead bodies lying on the ground, and the stench of death was all over. Some charred bodies were holding dead babies.

At Nagasaki Station, the rails were badly twisted and some broken rails were pointing to the sky. The iron structure of Mitsubishi Steel Works Nagasaki Factory had totally collapsed and made a mountain of rubble. A lot of people seemed to have been killed there. Their bodies were piled up in a heap and were being cremated.

I came to Urakami, near the hypocenter, where, on both banks of the river, there was a slew of bodies of people who had been seriously burnt, had come to the river for water, and had died. Everywhere was a scene from hell.
Finally I got on the train, but I was appalled to see so many passengers with burns.

A-bomb survivors continue to carry the effects of the bomb with them. There is no "just war." Nations have their own principles and doctrines, but it is not an act of humanity to kill fellow human beings to enforce those ideas. I believe that it is the duty of us A-bomb survivors to hand down our stories of the tremendous disaster, fear, destruction, and cruelty to later generations.
(2010)