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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Nobuko Matsuzaka (female)
 25 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.
There was a bright spark I could see sparkled brightly when I was sitting down, working on my sewing machine.
Shocked, I got down from my chair. A moment later I stood up and managed to walk about 10 steps in the hallway. Then, blown off my feet by a powerful blast, I fainted. Regaining consciousness, my ears going "wow, wow" because of the pressure, I found myself buried beneath sliding screens, broken pieces from the household Shinto shrine, and other unidentifiable objects. I managed to get out from under it and open my eyes, but I had no idea what had happened.

When I stood up, I saw that blood was running down my legs and that countless pieces of broken glass had penetrated my legs, especially from my knees down. I could not pull them out by hand. I only managed to pull out two pieces using a needle and tweezers. Then, before my eyes, all the pieces of glass buried themselves into my leg muscles, where they remain to this day.

About 30 years ago, looking at my legs over and over again, it seemed that here and there there were bumps that had been puffed up by those glass pieces. It was indescribable. It made me very sad, but after a while, I don't know how long ago it was, they ceased to be visible. I wonder what happened to all those glass pieces. It hurts from time to time. I'm not sure if those old glass fragments are the reason, but it makes me irritable. I asked for an X-ray at the hospital, but I was told that glass does not show up on X-rays.

I recall the way my students at Yamasato Elementary school looked at me as they told me what they learned at Church. "Soon the world will be consumed by a sea of fire and everyone will die." The children clung on to me saying "It's scary, very scary." I could see that they were terrified. I will never forget it.

This new message was written by Nobuko Matsuzaka's oldest daughter, almost exactly as her mother told her.

I was a 2nd grade teacher at Yamasato Elementary school in Nagasaki, located near the hypocenter of the atomic bomb. It was about a year and half before the bombing.
Everyone lacked things back then. Rations and distributions from the government were minimal. Most of the students were bare-footed. The only slippers that were available were those handed out at school, and even then only a few pairs at a time were provided per classroom. Some students' grandparents made slippers out of straw, but these were hated because of the scraps they left behind as they unraveled, besides which they were uncomfortable to wear.

Even Kyushu, in the south of Japan, had snowy days in the middle of winter and could get very cold.
At the time, rain mixed with sleet had been falling continuously. It was bitterly cold. In the morning,
when my 2nd grade students arrived at school, the hallway became sopping wet. Their little hands were numb from the cold, so they couldn't fold their umbrellas properly. They got all excited and started playing around with friends and in no time there were puddles of water all over the place.

I felt so sorry, watching them walk to the classroom on the cold, wet hallways in their bare feet, so I decided to come early the next day and wait for the children at the entrance. I put down some dry cloths, and helped them fold their umbrellas one-by-one. The children walked innocently to their classroom in the same excited fashion as they had the day before.

The following day, I came to school early to help out the children again. When I arrived, what do you know, but the children, both boys and girls, were already there. They were on their hands and knees happily wiping the hallways up and down, all the way to the top grade classroom, with cloths that were presumably made by their mothers
I was so moved by this sight that I just stood there. I couldn't stop tears welling up inside me, thankful for such consideration from the children and the parents who sent them with wash cloths.
After a while, I was transferred to another small school in a remote corner of Nagasaki Prefecture. Later I found out that all the children at the previous school were lost to the atomic bomb.
I am 90 years old, but to this day, I have never forgotten that cold rainy morning.
I live in Tokyo now, far away from Nagasaki, but every cold rainy day I get choked up thinking of those lovely innocent children in Nagasaki.

I loathe the atomic bomb which instantly took away the lives of these little children.
My mind and soul cry out, "Please give back those children as they were. And please return to those precious children their future as it should have been."