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"Grandpa! Your leg! What happened?"


I started to think of writing about my life a decade ago, when I was settling down. My life became a little stable, and I wanted to tell my children how I lived. It was too hard to speak to them about my life. Children should be allowed to judge their parents after the parents die. Therefore, I wanted to leave them documented material for judging me.

A human being cannot live alone. We need a community. A lot of people hesitate to write an autobiography because the document may hurt others. Many Hibakusha also think that way. It is very hard for us to describe how we have been alienated, and how miserably we have lived.

I have had that problem since I started to write about myself. In 1995, the first personal story of me was published, as one chapter in a book from a Hibakusha organization. I chose to write only what happened to myself. I did not write in detail about how I felt.

I resumed writing about myself. It was difficult to decide what to write about and how to describe it. I often felt ashamed and miserable, remembering troubles and conflicts. "Should I continue, or should I stop?" I wondered many times.

One day, in a TV commercial slip, a movie director said, "People are impressed when they hear someone talking deep from their heart." I was motivated again.

I was digging out almost everything from the bottom of my heart. I hope children understand how such an insignificant man lived and how war brings misery.

"You remember such things unbelievably well." my brother commented. For me, it is difficult to forget about what happened, as I seldom felt peaceful in my life. While I wrote, I cried for many times. I sometimes had to look in a dictionary because I did not know proper Kanji (Chinese and Japanese characters, ideographs). I began to feel happy when I saw that I was quite successfully expressing what I had felt deep in my heart.

Over 180 pages of manuscript! It was amazing. I did not know that I was capable of writing such a document. In my heart, I gave myself a big hand.

Another remarkable change in me was that I began to have the will to live longer. Before I started to write, I thought I would die anytime, as I almost had died a few times before. One day, I told my son about that. The following day, he bought me a puppy and told me to take it for a walk every day. It was during the summer heat. Now it is getting colder and the dog has grown bigger.

The 15-year-long war that Japan fought should not be kept under the covers of books. I wanted to help young people learn about the war and atomic bombs. I felt my legs shake when I lectured before university students. I am not good at writing. Writing a short letter is quite a burden. But I spoke and wrote about myself. On August 1, 1996, I published 1000 copies of my autobiography at my own expense.

On Sunday August 4, my daughter Takae visited me and said, "I can't read the book without crying." I was surprised and I felt I was rewarded. My daughter cannot easily express herself. I appreciated her comment. I hope my book means something to my children.

After being hit by the bomb at 4 years and 8 months of age, I had to live my life as a Hibakusha. I had to overcome a lot of difficulties. I do not want sympathy or comfort. I hope to keep telling people, through this book, that I never want to see a new victim of a nuclear attack on the earth.

We cannot think about real peace on earth until nuclear weapons are eliminated. May networks grow among people to retain and restore the beauty of the earth for long into the future!

I thank Mr. Ishida, Mr. Hamatani and all those who helped and supported me in writing this book.