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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Syu Nakayama (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 21 years old at the time / current resident of Hyogo
11149

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
At that time, I was a university student, mobilized to the Mitsubishi Shipyard in Nagasaki. I was assigned to the section of the shipyards outfitting commercial vessels. I didn't experience the A-bomb directly. On August 9, the day the bomb was dropped, I was returning from a job at the naval arsenal at Sasebo. Around 8 a.m. I boarded a train for Nagasaki. En route, the train underwent an air raid and was strafed by American fighter planes until we escaped into a tunnel. Around 1 p.m. the train came to a complete halt at Isahaya and we formed groups of 4 or 5 people and walked along the train tracks to Nagasaki. We met freight trains coming from Nagasaki, full of injured people with extensive burns. Their faces, necks, arms and chests were scorched dark red and their skin was peeled and hanging down. Shocked as we were to see such devastation, we pressed on for Nagasaki.

We reached the city around 7 p.m. and found it a burned plain strewn with dead and injured beyond count. There was nothing I could do for them so I returned to the military housing that was located on a small wooded hill in Kosuge-machi. The damage to the shipyard was minimal and everyone (15 of us) returned safely. The next morning, I took the first boat (for commuters) to report on the trip to Sasebo and to deliver the blueprints, but my workplace was no more. Immediately, rescue squads were formed and I was assigned to one and we went into the city.

Though we were called rescue squads, we had no medicine and could only carry corpses to the collection point and report the names and addresses of the casualties. When I look back now, I have great regret that I couldn't do anything for the injured. The injured who could still speak were screaming for water. We were told that giving them water was bad for their burns and would kill them instantly, but when I think about it now, I regret not giving them water. We were told to report only the identities of the casualties who were connected with Mitsubishi and I think this is the same attitude Mitsubishi has at present. (Things have not changed.)

One thing I can never forget from this horrible disaster is when I saw a child in an air raid shelter, clinging to its dead mother who was already beginning to decompose. Also, it was sad to see big horses that used to pull carts fallen and lying dead in the streets. I may be an animal lover, but I felt the foolish and cruel nature of humans.

I hear there is an Atomic Bomb Museum in the U.S. where they display the actual airplane used in the bombing and models of the atomic bombs that were used. The statement there praises the use of the atomic bombs for shortening the war and ensuring that the number of casualties (for both Japan and the U.S.) would be less than it would have been otherwise. I think this was true but only because the Japanese military was dominated by self-serving and foolish leaders who put themselves before the people. But I also feel angry that the Americans don't try to educate people about the horror of the atomic bombs and of the enormity of their sin.

P.S. A JR train was involved in an accident yesterday. I think that the way of thinking of the top executives of JR and of the top leaders of the Imperial Army are very much the same.
I have written what I think. Please excuse me for rambling. I pray for peace for the victims of the atomic bomb, who died in front of my eyes.
(2005)

I've heard that the U.S., Russia and other nations, including even North Korea, currently possess some tens of thousands of atomic bombs among them. None of them have less explosive power than the ones used 65 years ago. In fact, they are all more powerful today, I imagine. If they are used in a war, there won't be anything but destruction of the Earth. Unless we all work together toward the total abolition of nuclear arms, there is no future for the Earth, humankind or any other living thing.
(2010)