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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Keiko Murayama (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 6 years old at the time / current resident of Kanagawa

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
When the Atomic-bomb struck Nagasaki on August 9, I happened to be away from the city. At the time my family was living with my father's parents in the Shimochikugo section of Nagasaki. That day, however, my mother took me, aged six, and my three-month-old brother to Mie, Shimabara City, about 25 kilometers east of Nagasaki. We went there for reasons that are long forgotten due to the terrible events that soon unfolded. The next morning we found it impossible to return to Nagasaki because the train service had been disrupted. When we went to the station again on August 11, we were told that the train would take us as far as Michino-o Station, but no further. The three of us took the train.

We got off the train at Michino-o Station, which was about 3.5 kilometers north of the hypocenter. Our home was about the same distance south of where the bomb detonated. Soon after we left the station, we found many people lying in a nearby vacant lot, with bandages all over, weakly moaning, "Water, water, please." Their groaning was so heartbreaking that their voices still ring in my ears. We walked past what was left of Nagasaki Station and still went on walking. I don't remember how long it took us to get home, but I will never forget what I saw along the way. Among the ruins of the fire, there were many charred bodies in every possible posture, some still standing, others lying down or sitting up. In a perverse way, they all looked like dolls. Buildings here and there were still smoldering. A terrible stench filled the air. It was hell on earth.

My mother and I were relieved to see not only her parents but also my father's were alive and doing well, although the houses both completely burned down. Sadly, my maternal grandparents' good health was short-lived. They both died of A-bomb disease that year; my grandmother in October and grandfather in December. Many friends and neighbors suffered similar fates. Some years passed, but the A-bomb disease continued striking even those who returned to Nagasaki two days after the bombing. My mother and brother both contracted cancer. Mother succumbed at a too-young 61. Even worse, my brother died at the age of fifteen, without seeing a lot of the world. I was lucky by comparison. Though I suffered from painful diarrhea for several months, I was spared from death. Somehow I think I was destined to continue living, so that I can describe what I experienced, witnessed and felt in Nagasaki during that horrible time.

Hopefully, by doing so, I can help convince others to agree with my stance that we should never use nuclear weapons ever again regardless of the situation.