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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Tomie Miura (female)
'Chokubaku'  / 14 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.
Right after graduating from a higher elementary school, I joined Mitsubishi Electronics in Nagasaki. At the time (of the atomic bombing), I was oiling a lathe with an older colleague on the other side. Before I knew it, I was lying face down in total darkness. The moment I thought, "Oh no, what do I do now?!" there was a flash of light along with an eerie sound. It felt like being inside a flame.

I was totally disoriented and I couldn't see anything. The only thing that I could think to do was to flee toward someplace where I could sense other people about. Just then, I faintly heard the words, "Everyone evacuate. Everyone evacuate." At that moment, when I could not even let out a whisper, those words felt holier than the words of God. They still cross my mind even now. I don't know what happened after that, but someone came to my aid by pulling me out of there. That person saved my life. As I huddled in a daze inside an air raid shelter, some people were carried in through the entryway as people were shouting things like, "This person is badly injured!" That's when I thought, "How did I ever manage to be carried in here?"

When the air raid alert was called off, everything had been destroyed by the blast and nothing was left. I hurried home with my friends. There were no boats leaving Asahikawa Pier. We turned back to Mizunose Pier and got on board a boat there. We were really frightened as we waited for the boat to set off. We got to the big levee, and found that the area around the Prefectural Office was in flames so we had to take a roundabout way to get home. Our dormitory had been destroyed, so we evacuated into the mountains. We got some rice balls that were being distributed, and we were treated for burns at a hospital near the mountain. We spent two nights on the mountain, and in the early morning, as the sun came up in the eastern sky, we hurried home.

We had to look out for B-29s along our long walk home. We walked in some wooden clogs and straw sandals we found along the way. We followed a procession of people and finally reached Isahaya Station. A Shimabara Railway train just happened to be there. I got on board just as I was, without any money, and went home. After some time, I visited Nagasaki with three of my colleagues. Looking down from the train window at Nagasaki and Urakami, red twisted ruins of metal frames were all over the place. I thought that maybe I was looking at the munitions factory. My classmates, who had been assigned to work at the munitions factory, died then at the tender age of fourteen or fifteen. I feel terribly sorry for them.

The scene of the scorched earth, stretching as far as the eye could see, was truly awful. Even now, sixty years after the fact, I can forget nothing from that time.

I call for an abolition of nuclear weapons. We must never have another war. I was 3.5 kilometers [2.2 miles] from ground zero in Nagasaki. At the time of the atomic bombing, I was fourteen years old.