Photo/Illutration Shoichi Shimoe lost his parents and younger sister in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima when he was 4. The photo was taken in Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture, on November 13. (Photo by Yuhei Kyono)

Mr. Shoichi Shimoe, now 82, was exposed to the atomic bomb at a kindergarten in Hiroshima City when he was 4. He was left alone as he lost his parents and his younger sister in the attack. Their remains have never been found. Only photographs can remind him of his family.

He has only fragments of memories of the days before the bombing. But he vividly remembers the days after the bombing.

Mr. Shimoe spent several days at a farmhouse in the suburbs, where he arrived after walking through the rubble. From the home of his mothers family in Yamaguchi Prefecture, he walked to his relatives’ home in Mihara City along railroad tracks. On his way there, he gazed enviously at construction workers eating rice balls and they gave him one. He still remembers how it tasted.

However, most memories of his family only come from stories told by other people. A sense of loss has never left him over the deaths of his loved ones when he was young. When he learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened using nuclear weapons, he emphasizes, “I never want children of today to experience what I went through.”

(This article was written by Yuhei Kyono.)

Visit The Asahi Shimbun’s “Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha” website to read the original article about Shoichi Shimoe, “Precious Pictures--Thinking of My Family.”

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Shoichi Shimoe when he was 4 years old

Editor’s note: Amid growing concerns that Russia might use nuclear weapons following its invasion of Ukraine, the first meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for a World without Nuclear Weapons was held in Hiroshima on December 10 and 11. Experts from both nuclear states and non-nuclear states brought together wisdom beyond their countries’ respective positions.

Hibakusha atomic bomb survivors are deeply troubled by the current severe situation surrounding nuclear weapons. They lost their families and friends in an instant and have suffered from diseases for many years. Based on such experiences, hibakusha are trying to convey the horrors of nuclear weapons.

In “So tell me… about Hiroshima,” a series of stories running in The Asahi Shimbun’s Hiroshima edition, many survivors recount their experiences. Asahi Shimbun reporters recently met with some of them to hear what they think and feel. Their words from the recent interviews are posted along with previous articles.