JAPANESE

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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Meikichi Nagayama (male)
'Chokubaku'  3.3 km from the hypocenter / 2 years old at the time / current resident of Saitama
303

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
August 9, two minutes past eleven in the morning -- never in my life will I forget the exact moment that bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Now, at the age of sixty-four -- even after having left bombed-out Nagasaki fifty years before -- I continue to face the direction of where Nagasaki is located, every year at that exact time, and offer a minute of silent prayer.

Barely a child of three, I don't personally remember that period of time, but I can imagine how horrific the situation must have been from the stories my mother had passed along to me. Having not returned when he should have, my father's disappearance was a stark reality connected with the dropping of the atomic bomb that my mother had to accept. With her acceptance, she began a life of hardship in which she had a mother, two daughters (my older sisters) and her only son, me, to take care of.

At Oura Junior High School, all the students had to undergo an annual blood test (under the guise of the Atomic Bomb Disease Examination). They would take our blood, put it in test tubes and check the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Among those tested, there was one test tube that showed severe ESR. We heard that the person later died of radiation sickness.

Fortunately, at the moment the atomic bomb was dropped, my mother had taken me into our house and even at the age of sixty-seven, I don't have any symptoms of radiation sickness. Regarding the atomic bombs dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, I can only say that it was destiny. I believe that my life until now is also a matter of fate. The people of the world understand enough of the horrors of nuclear weapons. I believe that even if there are people who continue to make these weapons, there is no one foolish enough to use them.
(2010)