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'The letters from the Hibakusha'
(5) Letter from Kazue Inoue
Mrs Inoue was 16 years old and was working in a factory 1.5km from hypocenter when the Nagasaki bomb exploded. She married a man who was not a Hibakusha, and they had two daughters. The second daughter died of aplastic anaemia (bone-marrow disease) at the age of eight, and on one occasion a year after the event Mrs Inoue's husband blamed her. She later discovered that her husband was having an affair and that he had a child by that relationship. They remained married until her husband's death in 2007, and she still thinks that he was a good man. Mrs Inoue's younger sister, Mrs Toyoko Abe, married in the 1960's with the assistance of a go-between who did not tell the bridegroom's family that Toyoko was a Hibakusha. When the husband's parents found out about her background, she was ordered to abort the baby that she was carrying, and was later sent back home. Mrs Inoue and her sister both live in Tokyo. This is Mrs Inoue's letter to her younger sister.
When the summer comes, I think a lot about the past sixty-five years, since the time when the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki on August 9. In recent years, I have thought about it more because of the decline in your health, and I wonder if this is caused by the long-term mental and physical strains that your body has suffered. Having said that, we are still alive in our seventy's and eighty's, so we should respect our doctors' opinions and the way that they have looked after our health. As a family who experienced the atomic bomb, I can say that it was horrendous. However, this was the evil weapon that made the Japanese politicians decide to surrender. With no mercy shown we, the victims of the bomb, became the human shield that prevented our country from suffering further tragedies. This was our achievement and it should, at the very least, give us some comfort. And yet, the Hibakusha have been discriminated against when they married because it was thought that they would influence the genes of their children.
Having always loved reading, I still buy books about the war, and I keep reading them. I have read about the anguish of the conscientious officer who had to order his troop to fight to the last man; the distress of the sensitive young man who was ordered to decapitate a captured young enemy soldier; and the family-loving young man who had to deliberately crash his aeroplane and die in his teen's. Also, about the people who decided to surrender to the American invaders because it was the right thing to do to avoid further loss of life. History shows that in wartime decent behaviour had to confront harsh reality, and I am moved by the fact that in such horrific situations there were the people who retained their sense of judgement and humanity even though they were punished for it.
We once were a family of nice people, but five of us were killed by the bomb and there are only three of us left. Please contact me at any time if there is anything that worries or troubles you about your life or your illness. After the war I suffered from neurosis and my body has deteriorated, but I am strong and I have the wisdom that I gained from the long life that I have lived.