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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Takako Honda (female)
'Chokubaku'  4 km from the hypocenter / 10 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.
My father was the Director of Nagasaki Medical College Hospital and also the obstetrician-gynecologist there. He was a strict man, but very gentle. He died when I was ten years old. Mr. Nagai wrote about my father in his book "Nagasaki no Kane (1)" (The Church Bell at Nagasaki) which portrays the sadness of Nagasaki during the Second World War.

On that day of bombing, I didn't go to school, a national elementary school, despite a school day during summer vacation, because the school was a long way from our house.

My mother and sister stayed at Takahira-machi. At the moment of the gigantic flash, I threw myself face down on the tatami mat while covering my eyes and ears with my hands, but the explosion spun my body 180 degrees. At that horrible moment, I fainted. After a few minutes of blackness, I noticed many tatami mats sprinkled with broken pieces of glass scattered around me. It was so terrible that I was mute.

The Nagasaki Shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was burning red. People were running up to the hills, their bodies bleeding. Then followed the "Black Rain" that contained radioactivity.

On or about August 25, the neighborhood association told the women and children to leave; to put distance between themselves and the city. The association warned that American soldiers were coming from the sea. So the women wore as many clothes as they could, took as many belongings as possible, and plodded to the train station. Many, stunned by it all, stopped and squatted down on the ground on their way there.

I took the train to Gunma Prefecture where my mother was born. Because there were so many people at the station, I had to climb in through the carriage window. I took with me my father's ashes. He had been cremated by my mother. Even now, I cannot forget that day. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I think of how happy we would have been without the atomic bomb disaster. I cannot talk about it without tears. I think we are victims of the war, and I hate August because it reminds me of that day when we were attacked by the men who dropped the atomic bomb in Nagasaki.

To my sorrow, my mother died two years ago. She was 96 years old and had had a very hard time.

The number of "hibakusha" has been progressively shrinking. There are now less people who can tell us about their experiences. I am worried and feel sorry that their memories will fade.

(1): The book says that the church bell at the re-constructed Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki, continues to ring out for peace throughout the world.