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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Seiichiro Baba (male)
'Chokubaku'  3.4 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Nagasaki

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
I was exposed to the atomic bomb 60 years ago, when I was in the fourth year of middle school. (Under the old system there were five years in middle school, but it had been shortened to four years due to the intensity of the Pacific War, so at that time I was in the highest grade.)

At the time, I had been assigned to the Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing plant by the student mobilization program. U.S. Air Force raids were very intense in those days, and when the air raid alert sounded I went to the Civil Defense Unit in my local area. On August 9th, I and several other students as well as people from the Civil Defense Unit were in the local Akunoura Elementary School schoolyard. When the air raid alert was cancelled and changed to a cautionary alert, a U.S. airplane appeared and dropped something like a fire balloon. We watched it and wondered what was happening. All of a sudden, it flashed. I instinctively ducked down on the spot, and in the following moment ran to a nearby air raid shelter. There was a tremendous booming sound a moment later. After a short while I timidly raised my head and looked out of the shelter. I saw that the walls of the school playground, about three kilometers [about 1.9 miles] away, had collapsed, and in the direction of Urakami a mushroom-shaped cloud was billowing.

On the next day, August 10th, I went to my school, the prefectural Keiho Middle School, and gathered the skeletal remains of my teachers and schoolmates. The school was in the Urakami area, at ground zero, and had not burned but had been utterly demolished. Many of my classmates were in the factory I had been assigned to and died there when it was destroyed.

The road home from school, particularly in Urakami, was a living hell on earth. Some people had been reduced to bones; others were burned all over their bodies but were still alive and begging for help and for water; some staggered along, dazed and still burning. It was a hot summer day and flies gathered on people who were still alive but too weak to drive them off. I saw a burned horse just standing there. Foul odors filled the air. Nagasaki burned like the midday sun all through the night.

Along with many of my classmates, I had been assigned by the student mobilization program to the Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing plant. On August 9th I happened to be at my local elementary school with people from the Civil Defense Unit. I would guess that at 11:02 a.m., when they were killed, my friends at the factory were eating their box lunches. Many teachers and younger students died at the middle school as well. And many later became ill with A-bomb disease. Their hair fell out, their gums bled, spots covered their bodies, and they died. I will never forget the suffering they endured.

I would like to say to the younger generation who have never experienced war:

War is evil. Modern war increasingly resembles a game, but for those who actually go through it, it is hell on earth. It will bring pain not only to you, but also to your friends, relatives and descendants. One must make every effort to prevent it.