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'What Happened On This Date'
Did the sun explode? - Nagasaki 8/9 Recreated
(August 9, 2005, The Asahi Shimbun Newspaper Morning Edition)
For those who survived, a "city of death." Burning feet. Groans and charred bodies.
Those who survived fled a city of death.
Susumu Nishiyama (77, Minami Ward, Fukuoka) was 3.5 kilometers away from the hypocenter. He went to a factory near the hypocenter as part of a rescue team. A horse raised its head out of the rubble and rolled its eyes at him. Charred human bodies nearby seemed to be those of a mother and child. "The soles of my feet were burning. Children were lying around with their hands covering their eyes as if they were playing hide-and-seek."
Kazuko Hirata (76, Shinkamigoto-cho, Nagasaki Prefecture) had been mobilized to work at the Ohashi factory. She survived thanks to a gap in the rubble. Numerous people were writhing in agony outside the silent factory. She described the hellish scene. "Human beings came crawling one after another, just as if someone had poured hot water over maggots."
Factory worker Sadao Miyazaki (77, Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture) was at the Mitsubishi steel mill near the Urakami station when the bomb was dropped. He ran to the mountain. When he looked up at the sky, "In the black sky only the sun could be seen floating like a burning red circle."
Shizue Jinno (73, Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture) was playing near the air raid shelter in Takenokubo-machi. "The sound of the B-29 was getting louder and louder. The moment I ran into the shelter, there was a blast." Her mother arrived as well, covered in soot. Her two-year-old sister was scared of her mother, who was calling her name trying to breast-feed her, and wouldn't approach her.
Hitoshi Kamikawa (70 years old, Nishi Ward, Fukuoka) was near his house in Inasa-machi, Nagasaki City when the bomb was dropped. An alarm bell rang for an air raid, so he took his five-year-old sister by the hand and ran towards a shelter about 150 meters away. Immediately after the flash, he hid under the shade of a pomelo tree. He had released his sister's hand because of the blast and now she was under bricks and rubble.
Isamu Inoue (74, Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture) evacuated to a shelter near a city business school. There was a man there banging his head repeatedly against the wall. He kept saying deliriously, "Get stuffed Roosevelt (the President at the outbreak of the war)."
Walking from the Kawaminami Shipyard to his house near the hypocenter, Kazuya Saita (74, Chikuzen-machi, Fukuoka Prefecture) witnessed one after another the ruins left by the atomic bombing. At a canning plant, an oil drum exploded into the air. In a field, black round objects were lying everywhere. They were pumpkins burnt with their stems and leaves.
People wandering around on the charred landscape. A four-year-old child…"I want a drink of water."
Survivors of the atomic bombing were wandering around the charred landscape asking for water.
The house of Shouo Michigami (76, Minami Ward, Nagoya) (see map 16) was about 500 meters away from the hypocenter. In the morning of August 9, he had gone to a friend's house about three kilometers away to get a ticket. When he returned two and a half hours later his house had collapsed. His four-year-old brother died saying, "I want a drink of water." His mother and sister died under the collapsed house. His eleven-year-old brother and his father had gone out together. Both went missing.
Yoshiyuki Toyota (77, Adachi Ward, Tokyo) was at the Ohashi factory when the atomic bomb was dropped. He was taken to the Omura Navy Hospital about twenty kilometers away.
"I was told that they had prepared some clean water so I drank a mugful. When I woke up they told me, 'You survived, but everyone else is in the truck outside. They've drunk their last cup of water.'" One woman (76) was told by a man passing by, "You shouldn't drink water, because it's a new type of bomb."
Yasuto Fukushima (76, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture) collected bodies near the Sumiyoshi tunnel factory in Sumiyoshi-machi, Nagasaki. "Burnt parts had fallen off and the bright red internal organs were protruding. We boiled water from a well to drink, but when the water level fell, we found dead bodies in the well."
Working at the prefectural government, Tsuneo Okahashi (80, Isogo Ward, Yokohama) was in the secretariat office on the second floor of the government office building. Top officials, including Governor Wakamatsu Nagano, were at the Air Defense Headquarters at Tateyama, Nagasaki.
The following day, Okahashi walked to Urakami, the hypocenter. There were dead bodies and wounded people lying on the banks of the river. "Please give me water." "Please give me water." There was nothing he could do. An old man muttered to himself, "This is hell."
The first-aid station was crowded with atomic bomb victims. Perhaps from the patient's bodily fluids, not only the futon but also the tatami mat beneath was wet.
Kimi Fukui (82, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka) was at her nursing school in Dejima-machi, Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped. She later took care of the wounded at the emergency first-aid station set up in the Shinkozen Primary School. She heard the word "pikadon" (meaning a flash and a blast, a nickname for the atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) from her patients. "Among the faint murmurs from the crowd, like the sound of waves, this word stood out. It struck my ear and my heart like a curse."
Noboru Sasaura (70, Higashi Murayama City, Tokyo) remembers his mother taking care of a friend who had a burn on his back at home. "The only medicine we had was red tincture. She grated a potato and put it on the burn to make it feel a little better. Perhaps it was from his bodily fluids, because not only the futon, but also the tatami mat beneath was wet."
Takeshi Kojima (80, Kumamoto City) was a trainee combat medic. He took care of injured people at the Omura Navy Hospital. He was kept busy transporting the wounded, changing their clothes, nursing them, disinfecting them, and dealing with dead bodies.
In the grey city, many columns of smoke were rising from cremation.
Miyoko Yamaguchi (74, Minami Ward, Fukuoka) cremated her father, the vice principal at Zenza Primary School, in the schoolyard. They took desks and chairs from classrooms and burnt them with kerosene. On August 10, the day after the bombing, Katsumi Hisamatsu (77, Hachioji City, Tokyo) was in the third year of junior high school. He marched around the city under orders from the military. "Around thirty junior high school students were following a women's brass band. Alongside us an officer on a horse was shouting, 'The war has not ended yet. Stand up, everyone.' It was a march through a crematorium."
"Surrender immediately, or there will be more atomic bombs." A letter from American nuclear scientists inside a meteorological device.
The Radiosonde that fell to Nagasaki on a parachute at the time of the atomic bombing had a letter inserted inside. Three American physicists wrote to the Japanese physicist Dr. Ryokichi Sagane at the Tokyo Imperial University. The letter notified him of the success of the development of atomic bombs and advised Japanese leaders to surrender.
Kenzo Mashiko (82, Mito City) belonged to the twenty-first Naval Aeronautical Arsenal. He entered Nagasaki City as a member of a committee sent by the Naval Aeronautical Arsenal to review the damage. After an investigation of a week or so, he saw the letter. "When I saw the word 'atomic bomb', I thought the war was over."
The letter began with the line, "FROM: Three of your former scientific colleagues during your stay in the?United States." It was written by three scientists who built the atomic bomb in Tinian. The letter warned that an atomic bomb had been dropped in Hiroshima and that there would be another one. It ended by saying, "…unless Japan surrenders at once, this rain of atomic bombs will increase manyfold in fury."
He translated the letter and sent it to the Imperial Headquarters on August 12, emphasizing the necessity of bringing the war to a conclusion. "Since the letter could have been taken as antiwar thought given the situation of the time, I sent it at the risk of my own life."
Dr. Philip Morrison, one of the scientists who wrote the letter, gave an interview to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, "We decided to write the letter after building the atomic bomb. It was all we could do."
"Small events" that changed their lives. Still suffering from a guilty conscience.
There are examples where a very small event made the difference between life and death. Kazuto Yoshida (73, Suginami Ward, Tokyo), who was in the second year of junior high school, still suffers from a guilty conscience sixty years after the bombing.
He was waiting in line at the counter of the Nagasaki Station in order to purchase a train ticket. There were as many as 40 - 50 people in the line before him. An air-raid alarm bell rang and the people in the line scattered. About thirty minutes later, as soon as the air-raid alert was lifted, he ran to the counter. This time he was tenth in line. When he returned to his apartment with a ticket, he learnt that there had been many casualties at the station.
Immediately after the bombing he thought, "I did well to escape", but he gradually began to feel bad. "Because I slipped to the front of the line, there were some people who were killed instead of me." He has never forgotten his mortification at the thought of those who unluckily lost their lives.
"Go home and change your shoes," said a teacher to Mitsuko Nishino (76, Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture), who was at an arms factory about 1.4 kilometers away from the hypocenter. Her new pair of Japanese sandals broke in two when she rushed into a shelter after an air raid alert.
It was around ten o'clock in the morning. She walked bare foot for about an hour all the way home. The moment she put her feet into a pair of white sneakers at the entrance of her house, the surrounding area turned white. At the factory about 150 students died. She believes, "The sandals saved my life."
Until August 1 Kimie Kitano (76, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo) was working at an arms factory about 1.7 kilometers away from the hypocenter. However, her father requested the cancellation of her mobilization. She joined her elder sister in evacuating and was seven kilometers away from the hypocenter on August 9. Her father went missing. "I survived thanks to my father. I wanted to say thank you to him."
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NOTE : The death toll from the Nagasaki A-bombing was estimated to be 74,000. However, as in Hiroshima, to this day people continue to suffer and die because of the aftereffects of the A-bomb. (2011)