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Experience of the atomic bombing:"Grandpa! Your leg! What happened?"
Resident of Nagasaki: an autobiography by Hidetaka Komine, 4 years old at the time of the bombing
Mr. Komine was born in Nagasaki in November, 1940. He was 4 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. He was 1.5 km from the center of the explosion and was outside hunting bugs at the time.
This account describes Mr. Komine's experiences from the time of the bombing up until the present. The title, "Your Leg! What happened?", comes from what his granddaughter said when she saw his leg.
Both of Mr. Komine's legs and his stomach were burned, with keloids severely disfiguring his feet. After graduating from junior high school, he was refused a job because of his exposure to the atomic bomb. He went to vocational school and became a barber, which is how he supported himself throughout his life.
While working, he became active in 'storyteller' programs that gave victims of the atomic bombing a chance to tell others, including school children, about his experience of the atomic bombing. He self-published his memoirs, "Grandpa! Your leg! What happened?" in August 1996. In December, he received an Honorable Mention from the 2nd Peace and Cooperative Journalist Fund of Japan Awards. His self-published memoir sold out, so in 1997, the Osaka publisher, Shinpu Shobo, that specialized in personal memoirs, published his work.
Translator, Seiichi Fukui of Funabashi, Chiba, took on the job of translating the memoirs into English. Mr. Fukui met Mr. Komine when he visited Nagasaki as an interpreter for an American photographer who came to take photos of the city. He agreed to help translate the memoir.
Mr. Komine also was a 'storyteller' overseas, but he never felt as if he had enough time to tell his story fully. He agreed to let us post his memoirs in full on our site, in Japanese and English, so that people all over the world could learn of his experiences.