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From Asahi Shimbun

Notes from Nagasaki

"Notes from Nagasaki" started with the August 2008 issue of the Nagasaki Edition of The Asahi Shimbun. The articles are short, about a page each, and run from a few to more than ten days successively while painting a picture of the lives of each person featured. There hasn't been a day without an article being published and the series continues to this day. The articles have been formatted and published as two paperbacks entitled "Notes from Nagasaki - Stories of A-bomb survivors interviewed by young reporters" and "Prayer - Notes from Nagasaki Vol. 2"(both published by Asahi Shimbun Publications). We have included contents of this website from these books, and toward 70th years from the atomic-bombing, we are adding contents from the recent newspaper articles. Please read them. The ages and affiliations used are those from when the article was originally published.

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    Longing to Wear High Heels   -Etsuko Obata (born 1928)

    Ms. Etsuko Obata, age 79, of Jouei-machi in Nagasaki, was sitting in a wheelchair. As she lifted her long skirt, it was possible to see that her right leg had been deformed into the shape of a chevron, with the muscle of the thigh hollowed out and the skin tautened. Her many surgeries had left a large scar from knee to thigh on her left leg. "I can't wear slacks, because everyone would be shocked by the shape of this leg," she said, smiling, though I was left speechless.……

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    The Cremation of Two Young Girls in Their Best Kimonos  -Hiroshi Matsuzoe (born 1930)

    [In prayer for the souls of girls who died of exposure to the A-bomb, a 106-year-old mother folds paper cranes. The cranes were placed at statues of the girls in kimonos.]
    Six paper cranes were delivered to the statues of two girls who were cremated dressed in their best kimonos. Both girls had died from exposure to the A-bomb. The paper cranes were folded by Shina (106), the mother of Minako Fukutome (then age 9), one of the two girls. Shina made the cranes with her prayers for comforting the souls of the victims and for peace. A ceremony to comfort the souls was held on August 8th in front of the statues of the girls in a garden on top of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. ……

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    "The Gift of Life": A One Man Show  -Tsukasa Watanabe (born 1932)

    "Grandpa, tell me the story." Upon this request from his granddaughter, a man begins to talk about a summer 60 years earlier. The opening of the monologue, "The Gift of Life," starts in this way. Standing on stage is Mr. Tsukasa Watanabe (76), a retired teacher from the city of Nagasaki and the main character of the monologue, which is based on his own experiences. He reenacts what happened to him when he experienced the bombing of Nagasaki at the age of thirteen, and how it impacted the man he has become today. Most members of the audience are junior high school and high school students who have come to Nagasaki on school trips.……

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    Shared Gifts, Roughly Discarded  -Chiyono Yoneda (born 1926)

    The reporter interviewed an elderly lady, Ms. Chiyono Yoneda (81) of Yokohama, a Nagasaki A-bomb survivor, along with some third-year students at a Tokyo junior high school.
    Ms. Yoneda shared a number of her experiences such as serious burn injuries that still remain on her back, a suicide attempt, and relatives dying one by one in front of her. In the middle of her long story, she touched upon a matter that occurred soon after she relocated to Tokyo when her husband's job moved there. ……

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    From Brazil to Japan  -Yoshitaka Sameshima (born 1928)

    Where air raid shelters once lined the hillside there was now a residential area, and in the area that had been the hypocenter, where uncountable victims had suffered, tall buildings now stood. The only thing that still appeared as it had those many years ago was the ridge of the hill. ……

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    A-bomb Victims in South Korea  -Jeong Tae-Hong (born 1931)

    In December 2008, I visited the Korea Atomic Bomb Victim Association, and met about 30 Korean A-bomb victims. Of them, Jeong Tae-Hong was the only one who was exposed to the bomb in Nagasaki.
    He returned to Korea in 1946, a year after the bomb hit. He only learned about the Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificate in 1995, more than half a century later. He read an article about the Korea Atomic Bomb Victim Association, and tracked down its address. Coincidentally, a man who lived next door happened to be a victim of the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima. ……

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    A Mobile Medical Team  -Kin'ichiro Hamasato (born 1924)

    In Nagasaki, just after the atomic bombing, there were medical students who organized a mobile medical team and went into the burned-out ruins of the city.
    Dr. Kin'ichiro Hamasato (84), a resident of Tateyama 4-chome, Nagasaki City, was one of them. He was a student of Dr. Takashi Nagai (1908-51), the physician and author who devoted himself to the treatment of the A-bomb victims although he himself was one of them. Dr. Hamasato currently serves on the board of the "Nagasaki Nyoko-no-kai," a non-profit organization established to remember and honor Dr. Nagai. ……

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    A Graduation Ceremony for Fourteen Students  -Reiko Miyake (born 1926)

    It was mid September 1945. On the walls of the temporary shelters and utility poles remaining in the burned-out, atom-bombed fields appeared handmade bills, made on coarse paper and written with a calligraphy brush. The bills read, "All members of the student body from Shiroyama National Elementary School, let's gather at Hachiman Shrine on September 24th at 10:00 a.m." ……

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    My Little Sister Killed Herself  -Sakue Shimohira (born 1935)

    Sakue Shimohira (73) has been an A-bomb storyteller for thirty-five years. She speaks mainly to children, sometimes at three or four schools a day, about 200 times a year.
    She continues her work while caring for her husband and fellow A-bomb survivor Takatoshi (79), who suffers from hypothyroidism and kidney disease. Sakue had also suffered from repeated fibroid operations and chronic hepatitis. Yet she has been motivated by her desire to "tell the story as long as I am alive." ……

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    The Atom Bombs Were Dropped Too Late  -Ronald Scholte (born 1924)

    "The atom bombs were dropped too late." This is what Mr. Ronald Scholte, age 84, has thought ever since the war ended. He received an Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificate in March 2009, but his view has not changed. ……

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    No Information about Radiation in Okinawa  -Tsuruko Makishi (born 1924)

    She was feeling unbearably tired. Ms. Tsuruko Makishi (now 84) of Naha had been suffering from an inexplicable malaise since about 1955. When she went for a medical examination, the doctor told her scornfully, "There's nothing wrong with you. Why are you here?" ……

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    The Mushroom Cloud I Saw from a Sweet Potato Patch  -Shige Hasezaki (born 1922)

    On August 9, 1945, Shige Hasezaki, now 86, was weeding a sweet potato patch in Kamikurosaki, Kurosaki (present-day Kamikurosaki-machi, Nagasaki), about 16 kilometers [10 miles] northwest of the hypocenter. ……

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    Two Generations of Leukemia Research  -Masao Tomonaga (born 1943)

    Dr. Masao Tomonaga is a 65-year-old A-bomb survivor who retired from the Atomic Bomb Disease Institute of Nagasaki University (called "Genken") in the spring of 2009. On February 17 of that year, during his final lecture, he stated, "I had assumed that the impact from A-bomb exposure would have diminished by the time I began my research. However, A-bomb survivors are still showing symptoms of leukemia even today." ……

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    Ninety Years Old and a Witness to the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki  -Masakatsu Obata (male, born 1917)

    I had heard that there was a 90-year-old man still telling of his experience with the atom bomb, so I called on him. His name is Mr. Masakatsu Obata, and he lives in Irifune-machi, Nagasaki City. The inside of his house was decorated with a large number of origami cranes and cards with messages. He explained, "They were given to me by children who heard my story." ……

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    The Endless Ten Seconds  -Akio Sakita (male, born 1928)

    This is how Mr. Akio Sakita, a 79-year-old resident of Nagasaki, remembers the moment of the atomic bombing.
    At a local gathering with three medical students from Belarus on August 7, 2008, he started recounting it at the request of the students, who were victims of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. ……

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    Christmas in the Year of the A-Bomb  -Tomei Ozaki (male, born 1928)

    On December 24, 2008, a Christmas Mass was offered at the monastery of the Knights of the Immaculata, located at Hongochi 2-chome, Nagasaki City. After praying at the altar, Brother Tomei Ozaki (80) looked back and told the reporter, "Even in 1945, the year of the A-bombing and Japan's defeat, Christmas at this monastery was far from meager." The monastery, which had been founded by a Polish priest, received plenty of provisions from the Allied Occupation Forces, because Poland was one of the victorious nations. ……

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    Testifying about My Experience of the A-bombing to the World  -Sueko Motoyama (female, born 1930)

    Sueko Motoyama, age 78, (Atago 1-chome, Nagasaki City) went on a round-the-world trip sponsored by the international exchange NGO "Peace Boat" from September 2008 to January 2009. About 600 people joined the tour, including 100 hibakusha from Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the rest young people. At the places they visited, they took turns testifying about their A-bomb exposure experiences. ……