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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Kazuya Saita (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 14 years old at the time / current resident of Fukuoka

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
August 9 had been a hot day at the workshop since morning, and we had stripped to the waist while helping our group leader get everything done. We were told to get to work on painting Ship No. 51, and I had just started to put on a tunic when there was a radiance as if a high voltage current from a glowing light had shorted out, quickly followed by a blast that pulverized glass. About that time a line of black cloud rose up from the Urakami area, the upper part of it spreading out as it took on a mushroom shape. Its color changed from red, to black and then to purple as it expanded, gradually spreading out to cover the sky before it disappeared.

At the time of the blast, there had been a man taking pictures on the roof of the administration building. I'm sure the photo of the mushroom cloud we sometimes find in records was taken at that time.

As people from Nagasaki were notified they could go home, I got off at Umegasaki, passed Nagasaki Station. and went along the side of the road up to the cannery in Yachiyo-machi. There I saw a drum had exploded and been thrown high up into the air. On the right, there was a crushed gas tank, and for the first time I saw a dead young man lying beside a utility pole on the roadside.

I turned back because Takara-machi and Zenza-machi were on fire, and I couldn't go any further. I passed through Nishiyama via Ogawa-machi from Ippongi on the way home, and as I went, I saw one wounded person after another. I saw a burnt person whose skin was peeling away from his body and hanging down, and people with blood pouring out of them collapsed under the shade of trees. They asked me to give them some water. I didn't have any water, and I had heard drinking water would kill people in their condition, so I said, "I can't help," as I passed them by. When I got to Urakami Hospital Number 1, I saw a boy lying on the ground. There was something snow-white, like tofu, next to him. When I had a closer look, I realized the skull was split open and the boy's brains were coming out. In Ueno-machi there was something black in an elongated, rounded shape rolling around in the field. I wondered what it was and found it was a pumpkin which had its vine burned away so that only the fruit itself was left.

When I got close to home, I found that our neighbor, Mrs. Watanabe, had died trying to keep the fire from spreading by soaking futons in a fire cistern. Mrs. Fukusako, our next door neighbor, had burned to death with her three children. My classmate Yamada, wearing gaiters wrapped around his legs, had been carbonized like coal. After that many people had gone to Mitsuyamamachi because of the seasonably high water at the Oohashi dam, and they had died there pleading for water. On the way American military planes scattered many fliers.

On August 10, I went to a place where the wounded were being cared for in Akasako as well as a shelter at Shinkozen Elementary School and other places in order to search for my father, but I couldn't find him.

And on the way back I ran into a younger boy from school, Katsumi Hasegawa. He was crying because both of his parents had died, and so we looked for his parents' remains in his house near the hypocenter. The search was in vain, however, because there was nothing at the burnt-out ruins of the bombing. After that he went to Saga, and a few months later I heard he had died of radiation sickness. I went around Hamaguchi and Matsuyama-machi looking for my father but there weren't any clues to his whereabouts. On the 12th I was told by Mr. Yamaguchi that my father was looking for me. In the afternoon I was able to meet up with him. On the way I had a lot of trouble, because on this third day after the bombing the road was filled with a great number of dead horses and cows, which were the main means of transportation in those days. The putrid stench of the decaying bodies was really horrible, and as the streets of that time were not as wide as they are today, they were blocked by the legs of the animals pointing up into the air.

At night the bodies of the victims glowed with a blue light because of the phosphorous. I wondered what life would be like afterwards for the hibakusha who had lost everyone in their families.

14 years and 11 months old when he was experienced the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.