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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Mariko Iida (female)
'Chokubaku'  2.3 km from the hypocenter / 13 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.
1. I have many experiences of being A-bombed that I cannot forget even now, sixty years after the fact. I still occasionally dream about the injured and people with their entire backs burned who were carried on doors, one after another, into the Nagasaki prefectural air raid shelter (on the Tateyama side of Suwa Park) that I had fled into "that day."

That day (August 9), in the early evening, smoke started entering the Nagasaki prefectural air raid shelter. I fled to another air raid shelter, a cave on the Municipal Field. Along the way, and on the Municipal Field, there were people who had been chased out by the fire in Urakami, crossed over Konpira Hill, and finally made it out. They asked for water, and writhed in agony. There were people who were so bloated from the burns that I couldn't tell whether they were men or women. There were people whose skin had peeled off, people whose wounds opened up like pomegranates. They were virtually naked, with their clothes mostly having been burned. Without any medical help, they breathed their last right in front of me and beside me.

As for myself, our kitchen had collapsed on top of me and I was injured. I didn't have anything and I couldn't do anything to help. Even though I was just a thirteen-year-old child, I still now bear the burden of guilt about not being able to help.

2. During the war, we lacked everything, including food and clothing. We were simply told to "endure for the sake of the country." In the end, people were burned alive like leaves and died. When I think about how those people must have felt, my heart nearly bursts.

I have always thought, "We must never waste the death, the suffering, and the groans of people who died from the bomb, both in that moment and since." At the same time, we who survived, we who have been allowed to live, we must rid as quickly as possible from this world nuclear weapons and war, which do not allow humans to live like humans or die like humans.

3. We must continue to spread the truth about being A-bombed. We hibakusha must call upon the coming generations to think about what they can do to cooperate toward sharing a peaceful, equal, prosperous world without wars and nuclear weapons. That way, we may never have another hibakusha anywhere in the world.

I was atomic-bombed at 108 Tateyama-machi, Nagasaki, 2.3 kilometers [1.4 miles] from the hypocenter.