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For Those Who Pray for Peace
With God's Grace
- Fusako Nobe (maiden name, Fujiwara)
52nd Graduating Class of Hiroshima Jogakuin High School before the war
Residing in Chofu City, Tokyo
The morning of August 6, I left for school, relieved the air raid warning was lifted. That was the last time I saw my home in Teppo-cho. Although I was a college student I had been working at the factory as a Mobilization Workforce Student. On August 1 we were given permission to start school again and I had begun studying. The morning service on August 6 had just finished and the piano played in the background as the students exited the Assembly Hall. I was walking towards my classroom when I saw people meandering about in a blue light that resembled a gas flame. Then I suffered a blow to my head and went unconscious.
When I came to, I was trapped under the building. I looked around and saw people covered in blood. Some were calling for their mother. I didn't know what had happened, and for a while I stayed there in astonishment. My classmates were calling out words of encouragement toward each other. Then I noticed sunlight shining through a hole about the size of my body. I gathered all of my strength to crawl out and found myself standing on top of the roof that had fallen flat on the ground. I stepped over fences and clung to telephone poles and finally came to the road. I heard a voice say, "Escape, hurry," so I quickly walked to Sentei Garden (Shukkeien). We were all walking in bewilderment.
I heard a cry, "Somebody please help. My child is trapped under the house," but we walked by them in silence. "The fire is approaching, hurry up", somebody yelled. Pushed by the wave of people, I arrived at the riverbank of the Ota River in Hakushima-cho. The row of houses along the river had caught fire and the flames were coming closer. Masses of injured people were being brought to the area. The riverbank was filled with people whose skin was dangling from their hands. People's backs were split open, revealing what looked like the inside of a pomegranate. A soldier ordered me to help him take care of the injured. The people's faces were swelling and they cried, "It's hot, so hot." Some dove into the river and floated away. I was bleeding from the back of my ear and my neck was becoming stiff. Thankfully I was with my best friend, who kept encouraging me.
I spent the night at the riverbank. The city was engulfed in red flames and looked like a giant campfire, except in this fire I could see silhouettes of people burning. The next day, not knowing whether any of my family members survived, I headed for my home with my best friend. When I arrived I saw my house had burned to the ground. I found a concrete surface and used a broken piece of roof shingle to write, "Fusako is well." Nobody was around, not even the cat. I found ashy remains of a mother and child on the side of the street. Another mother in a fire cistern clutched her child close to her body. Their skin was pink like a boiled octopus.
Not having a place to stay, I went to the house of my friend's relatives in the countryside. We walked for about ten kilometers. We passed by a grade school full of injured people. I could hear them say, "Water, please," from behind the burned masks of their swollen faces. It was like hell on earth.
Once I reached the house in the countryside, I fell fast asleep, exhausted and battered. I didn't have any other family and didn't know what to do. About a week later the Geibi Line opened so I took a train to Yoshida-cho of Takata-gun, and went to the home of an acquaintance. We had always planned to go there in an emergency. To my surprise, all of my family was there, and they greeted me with tears of joy.
The misfortune that was brought by the atomic bomb does not end there. When we moved to the home of my father's family in Shimane prefecture, my father, mother, and sister died within ten days. Their hair fell out and their bodies rotted alive. At a glance you couldn't tell that there was anything wrong, but their insides were being torn apart by radiation. By God's grace I am still living today. For that, I am very grateful.
…76 years old