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"Grandpa! Your leg! What happened?"

Some unforgettable people

Every year, I received a New Year greeting card from the master of Morishima Barbers' in Osaka, where I had worked from 1967 until I came back to Nagasaki in 1968. I had not written him back, partly because I could not tell him how I lived in those days. I did not want him to worry about me.

In the latter part of December 1993, Mr. Tanoue, with whom I had worked at Morishita's, called me on the phone to inform me of Mrs. Morishita's death. As Mrs. Morishita had been so very kind to me and my family, I wanted to go and comfort Mr. Morishita. The end of the year was the busiest time. Finally, I made my way to Osaka on October 13, 1994, for the first time in 30 long years.

In the Buddhist altar I found several mortuary tablets, one for each person who had died. One was for Mrs. Morishima. There were 4 more. Mr. Morishima explained who the 4 others were. I remembered all of them. I apologized for my long silence with tears in my eyes.

When I worked with Mr. Morishima, there were 7 people working together. On that night, 6 of us gathered, to drink together again. All of us had gotten old, but 30 years seemed quite short. I stayed at Mr. Tanoue's that night.

Mr. Fukuchi, a graduate of Hitotsubashi, visited me at the end of that year. He was going to get married and wanted me to attend the wedding reception. I accepted. Later, he told me that the party would take place in Tokyo. I was a little troubled, but I was happy to attend the party wherever it was held. We had watched "Gekko no Natsu," a sad movie about Kamikaze suicidal attackers. After the movie, I remember hearing him say, "If I hadn't taken part in the study about Hibakusha, my life would have been very different. In those days, I was not sure what I should do in the future. After seeing Hibakusha, I became much more serious about my life. I donated my first 'bonus' to a Hibakushas' association."

I heard similar stories elsewhere.

I wonder how younger people understand how Hibakusha live.

I sometimes am stunned by another Hibakusha's story. For example, Sumiteru Taniguchi once told me that gaining one kilogram of weight meant sleepless nights with severe pain in his back. If he gets fat, his back, which is covered with keloid scars, hurts all through the night. It is hard for me to imagine how hard his life is. I admire his strong will.

Mr. Fukuchi's wedding ceremony was nice. I also enjoyed cherry blossoms on the Hitotsubashi University campus, and had a drink with Mr. Hamatani and Mr. Ishida. I am happy that I have such nice friends.