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The A-Bomb that I experienced

 

http://dianediana.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/time-mag-red.jpg?w=500&h=660

 

Hi guys,

 

As you know, on the morning of August 6, 1945, at 8:15 am, the United States Army Air Forces dropped the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, the “Fat Man” bomb another nuclear bomb exploded at Nagasaki.

 

This is a report I got when I was in Hiroshima at the Memorial Hall. It is the stories of those who were there when the atomic bomb (A-Bomb) exploded.

 

 

The A-Bomb that I experienced

 

Tiyi2 0597

 

 

How we were in those days?

 

My family numbered five; my parents and three sons. I was the youngest of the three brothers and I was born in 1929, and I was 16 years old at the time of bombing. We ran a small stationary and tobacco store at the east-side of Hiroshima City, but we didn't have anything to sell any more except for some rationed tobacco because of the war in those days.

 

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My father was a salaried man and used to work in an insurance company and mother was at home. The New Year of 1945 was not a happy one for us three, Dad, Mom, and me. My brothers were navy officers away at war. Most of the big cities had already been bombed, burnt, and destroyed one by one. Dad had been ill since the preceding year, 1944. as doctors had run out of medicine, his illness was getting worse, and was becoming weaker and weaker. In March, we decided to evacuate to Father's home village in the country, about 40 kilometers north-east of the city. Father's condition was already at its worst when we arrived at the old house in the country, and he died on April 16, 1945 not knowing that the war was coming to the end soon, only four months after that, and his two sons would come home safely again.

 

I graduated from the middle school in March, passed the entrance exam to the Hiroshima Technical College, and entered the college in april. But new students still had to continue working in a factory being mobilized until the end of July. From the 1st of August, however, we were told to come to school for brief schooling, and we began to commute to school from our dorm near Hiroshima station by street-car. We were bombed 6 days after that.

 

Though I can't remember Mom complaining anything in those days, she must have had terrible time about the family. She just believed in Amida Buddha’s salvation and used to say prayers to Amida Buddha over and over in a small voice. She had understood the world to be the place in which there is nothing we can really rely upon. Now I can imagine how sad and helpless she must have been, but I was too young to sense her distress. She cultivated small fields around the house and she was waiting for me, the only son who had been left in Hiroshima.

 

Anyway each of these five of my family was in his or her own place being controlled by fate. Dad wasn't alive any more, Mom was in the country, and two brothers were in the war, and I was at school in Hiroshima.

 

 

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Fright of Death

 

August 6th was a quiet morning on the campus regular classes at school had started from the 1st of August, and we the first grade students of Hiroshima National technical College were enjoying the brief campus life, which any student in peace time would experience as matter of course. We were to be mobilized to work in a factory again soon after the brief schooling was over probably from the middle of August.

 

All the first grade students were staying at the dormitory of the factory in the east side of the city, and used to commute to school by street-car in those days. The life at the dorm was not easy. Food was so scare and we were always hungry. We young boys, however, were not bothered so much by the poor conditions.

 

In the morning of August 6th, it was such a sunny beautiful weather, which predicted another hot summer day. “Was the warning of alert announced? I am not sure if we heard the siren, I said to myself. Even the math lecture, which had usually been boring class to me, was felt fresh that morning, and I was studying hard. The class started at 8:00 sharp. If school had started at 8:30, I might have been in the street-car and broiled.

 

My seat was at the extreme front row beside the window facing to the south. The teacher was explaining a difficult question on differential and integral calculus. I happened to look out the window, and saw two B-29 bombers flying very high above the sky. They were shining silver-white brightly and were just as above the sky. They were shining silver-white brightly and were just as beautiful as ice cakes. “What? We didn't hear the air.raid alarm? Is it that only two B-29 bombers aren't a big problem any more? It is true that they have already bombed so many cities in Japan and they are so familiar to us these days, isn't it? I said to myself.

 

It was at the next moment that an orange red flash jumped into my eyes and a kind of hot searing heat shock wave blew into my face. I can remember a pine tree beside the window silhouetted against the orange red world like the sunset. At the same time, I had jumped under my desk, pressing my ears with both thumbs and my eyes with the other fingers unconsciously because we had been told to do so in the case of bombing those days.

 

Then I heard the huge noise of the blast; I still have no idea if it was the sound of the bomb explosion or of the collapsing buildings. Perhaps it was both. Real dark, pitch black world! Crawling around on the floor in the darkness like a blind, I found of my both hands, head, shirt, and trousers all stained with blood. Chanting Buddhist prayers, 'Amitabha Buddha,' honestly I thought of death and Mom, and was so frightened to death.

 

 

I was not sure how much time had passed by ______ one or two minutes or longer?----,but gradually dim light came in among the debris. Very fortunately, my seat was very close to the door, and the staircase of this old-fashioned strong wooden building was still all right. Small cuts on my head and several spots of my body were still bleeding a little, but they were not serious. I noticed that they were all small cuts caused by tiny pieces of the broken windowpanes. I didn't feel much pain any more. Was I so frustrated and tense? Maybe. Anyway how lucky I was! Then I felt that I could survive.

 

The situation just after the bombing has been already been told a lot by many people______ how the casualties were and how the whole city had been destroyed, etc. When we were bombed in the classroom, I was sure that one bomb must have been dropped beside me, just beside the window. How should I have known anything about such a monstrous bomb those days/ Everyone felt like that, _____ I later learned it.

 

When I could sneak out of the building, somehow going down the staircase, however, I was horrified to see so many wounded students sitting and lying on the grass or the ground, and all the buildings had been smashed so badly. I was bewildered how only one bomb could give us such a heavy damage in a moment. My nerve might have been a little paralyzed then, and I wasn't shocked to see those numerous wounded people any more.

 

One of my friends leaned on my shoulder for help. He also had several cuts, which I cannot remember exactly now, but one deep cut above his right eye is still in my memory. I bandaged his head with a towel and thought of taking him to the Red Cross Hospital near our school, say, about 300 meters up to the North. Later I knew that our school had been just 2 kilometers to the South of the hypocenter.

 

 

When we started to walk out of the school gate slowly, again I was shocked to see all those severely destroyed houses and a great many injured people ______ mostly burnt people who looked like smoked and broiled pigs. I cannot remember them crying or sobbing. Their faces were all damaged, swollen up, and disfigured so badly. Without exceptions, they had thrust out their both arms. Perhaps so that the wound would not touch their bodies. Their smoked bodies had swollen and the skin was nearly peeling off. All of them were marching along the street-car railroad from the center of the city toward the south where fires had not come yet. Such processions of ghosts toward the suburbs were seen everywhere in the city all day long. Among them I can never forget a girl-conductor of the street-car, whose clothes were almost burned off leaving some small pieces of signed pants and her ticket-bag hanging from her fore waist. She was also heavily burned as others, and was walking slowly. She must have been one of the mobilized schoolgirls _____ about 15 or 16 years old ____, and might have been dead in a few days after that. Even for me, who was such a young and thoughtless boy, it was such a painful incident to see those helpless children wandering about in the dead street.

 

 

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The Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital, which became well-known as one of the few remaining buildings later, was also in real chaos. Doors and windows had been blown off leaving twisted frames only, wounded soldiers who had once been sent back from the front were heavily injured again, and a few doctors and nurses, who had also been injured, were trying to treat hundreds of people coming into the hospital with little ambulance medicine. I thought that we would have to wait for a long time. Not being sure if they could give sufficient treatment for my friend, I decided to take him back to school. When we came back near the school, an army rescue truck came across Miyuki-bashi Bridge. This one might have been the first rescue vehicle from the army transportation corps in Ujina harbor district, and my friend was really lucky to get on this car then. Later I learned that he was sent to Ninoshima Island, which is about 2 kilometers from the harbor, and could survive.

 

 

Hiroshima A-Bomb

 

What a Weapon?

 

When I came into the school gate, I found that the situation there was getting worse with a great number of miserable people everywhere. Though we students in better conditions were told to work for restoration, I was very weary of the happenings that morning, and decided to escape. With some books, notebooks, and the valuable lunch under my arms, I went out of the gate. I still can't remember where and when I ate lunch that day.

 

 

When I crossed the bridge named Miyuki-bashi, there were a lot of people crowding around the faucet near a police station and drinking water line. It was quite lucky that the water supply was still all right for a while right there. At that time, most of the wounded people there were young schoolboys and girls who had made narrow escape from the center of the city. They had been mobilized to work demolishing houses and setting aside logs, beams, and roof-tiles in order to make empty space to prevent fire by bombings. Most of them were smoked, burnt, bare-footed, with messy hair. When I remember these young boys and girls ____ 12 or 13 years old, 7th grade equivalent kids____ these days, I cannot stop to draw tears. If they had been born today, they could have had better future. Why were they to be tortured in a brutal way like that?

 

Now I can understand how those burned people wanted fresh water. It was not just because it was a very hot summer day but because they were heavily burned. Crossing the bridge, I gazed at both sides of the river, which were burning violently like burning weed of the fields in early spring. Great fires were flaring up and up! Hiroshima, the whole city was burning fiercely in flames.

 

 

All the handrail stones of that bridge had fallen toward one direction... those of the northern side were lying in line on the side-walk of the bridge, and those of the southern side had fallen straight to the bottom of the river. This phenomenon told that the shock wave must have come from one direction, from the center of the city, ____ which meant that it was not brought by numerous bombs but by a single huge one. A gigantic explosion in a moment, from one direction! My eyes were attacked by just one strong dizzy flash, and I heard just one big blast. One regular bomb can never give such a terrible damage.

 

 

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Then I remembered a piece of simple information about an atomic bomb that I had once read in a magazine for boys a couple of years before that day. The article had said something like ____ a small bomb of a match-box size could destroy even a mammoth battleship some day in the future, and its material was from atomic energy. So I understood that the U.S. Had succeeded to invent an atomic bomb, and I thought it was very hard for us to win the war. However, even if I had some knowledge then, it did not make any sense.

 

Thinking of this ans that, I was looking at the burning city where I was born and brought up, the river where I used to swim in, and the small mountain Hijiyama where I used to play, in gray huge smoke. I think that I was a little sentimental then, and I murmured, “Hiroshima is dying”. When I started to walk across the bridge, it was supposedly almost high noon.

 

 

 

 

The way out of the city

 

the buildings of the Hiroshima Tobacco Monopoly Corporation at the east side of the river were burning and the street-car road had been full of smoke when I walked through. Taking the course to the south-east district of the city, I walked around the east foot of a small hilly mountain named Hijiyama, and finally to our dorm near Hiroshima Railway Station. In these districts, some of the wooden houses had been completely destroyed while others had been half wrecked.

 

 

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I had to see another sad scene near Dambara district where my family used to live. Among the debris, there was a dusty naked baby of a baby boy abandoned carelessly beside the street. Even today, I still cannot understand why he had been left there in such a miserable way without being covered even with a blanket or some other things. Might the people have been too busy in their own business to pay attention on others? I feel so ashamed of us ____ including myself ____ who had lost some human sense or consideration to others.

 

 

When I passed by another half-destroyed police station near Taisho-Bashi bridge, a bulletin announced by Hiroshima Army Headquarter was on the board of wall. It said something like ____ “The cowardly enemy bombed the city with a certain new bomb, and we sustained some damage. You the citizens, however, should never be scared of such attacks. Final victory is in our hands. Make your resolution to fight this holy was until the last day. Japan, our country of God shall never be conquered. You must do your best for reconstruction and continue the war.”

 

I don't know how many adults believed in this announcement, but I did. In a country that is fighting a big war, young people are always taught to be courageous and to be ready to die for their country. Surely I saw the terrible damages in my eyes there, and felt it very difficult to beat the enemy that possessed such a mighty strong weapon. Stil

 

l I never thought of surrender, either. We had been educated like that.

 

The buildings of our dorm were mostly heavily damaged, and again in our room, all the ceiling and floor were broken, and futon beddings and most of my belongings were unusable. Then I took the

 

way to Kaitaichi located about 4 kilometers east of the city, two railway stations apart from Hiroshima Station. Again the road was full of the wounded people walking slowly like ghosts, sitting on a hand-cart pulled by another person, and some people lying or

 

sitting helplessly on the sidewalks.

 

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I can tell that many of those heavily burnt or bandaged people, whom I saw that day, could not live long afterward. A small pack of dried bread, which was given for emergency food at another police station, was such a delicacy to my empty stomach. I cannot remember where and when I took lunch that day. At Kaitaichi Station of the Sanyo Main Line, I had to wait in a coach for a while until the first rescue train left the station in the evening. Strange to say, I don't remember that  the coach was full of refugees. It might hve been because many of the wounded people could not reach the station so soon walking many miles. The nearest station to our house was three stations away from Kaitaichi, and I had to walk through the mountain path in the dark for a couple of miles after I got off the train.

 

You can understand how overjoyed mother was to  see us alive! The villagers and she saw a lot of miserable wounded and burnt people walking all the way into the village late that afternoon. People said that Hiroshima disappeared, with many citizens dying by the great bombing. Mother left the strong flash, saw the huge mushroom cloud rising above the mountains, and heard the big noise while she was working in the rice paddy. She believed that I too must have been killed, and thought of going to Hiroshima to look for me the next day.

 

Having had my body washed in the tub, not knowing of tens thousands of those with no place to sleep, I fell fast asleep that night. How happy I was to have a home to go back while there were a lot of people who had no places to go that night! But I didn't care about others then. I regret that I was such an inconsiderate and selfish youngster at that time.

 

 

Fever and diarrhea

 

I did not see the most horrible scenes of the hell in the central area of the city ____ like piles and piles of bodies, floating bodies according to the tide of the rivers, cremation of bodies day after day, people who were almost dead asking for water on the floors of gyms or classrooms of the schools...etc. Fortunately our school was just a little outside of the worst area being showered by radiation, and we students were inside the building not being burned, and I myself could walk away out of the city immediately after the bombing.

 

I went back to the city to pick up some of my possessions and to visit some of our relatives in the city a few days after that. Then, there had remained nothing in the city any more. Getting off the train at Hiroshima Station in the east side of the city. Just gray ash desert! Looking to the south, I could see the islands clearly in the Seto Inland Sea. You can understand how I was shocked then.

 

For several days after August 6th, I was sick and feverish in bed. I was bothered by bloody diarrhea, which might have been good for me to let out the radioactive poison. Though it was such a ridiculous story, people said, “Don't let the burned people drink water. If you do, they will die very soon. Water isn't good for burned people.” But those wounded or burned people asked and asked for water, as you can imagine. There were some people who could not keep rejecting their strong desire for water and gave water as much as they want for the 'last water'. Later I heard that some of the burned people vomited yellowish liquid, and they were able somehow to recover. It is very strange.

 

 

My conditions ____ that I was an energetic young boy, that I was inside the building which was a little away from direct ray of radiation, and above all, that I left the city tainted with radiation immediately after the bombing, ____ all these worked in my favor. Now I understand as follows:

 

As you realize, I did not see the worst situation in the central area of the city, because the location of our school was about 2 kilometers from the center, and I was in bed for several days after I left the city. Still I could easily understand what horrible things really happened there, having seen those numerous victims and the heavy damage to Hiroshima.

 

Wounded and burned people died one after another around us after that. People who were seemingly all right after the bombing became ill suddenly and were dead without any reason being known. Some say that approximately 140,000 people were dead from that bombing by the end of that year doctors could not tell how to treat the patients. I don't think that they had enough knowledge about diseases caused by radiation then. Again I say that such an in-human bomb must never be used on any people in the world.

 

 

What life did I live after that ?

 

Being a student of the technical college, I was going to be an engineer. After the war, however, I changed my course and became a student of another normal college in another city because some reasons. My two brothers in the navy also survived and returned home safely, and were very fortunate.

 

It was in April 1949 that I became a teacher of a junior high school in Hiroshima City. Our lives were not so easy yet. I used to teach English as a foreign language because I liked English. After all, I worked at several junior high schools in Hiroshima for 40 years, and retired from being the principal of a school in the south side of the city. Though I worked at a private senior high school for more 6 years, I retired again and am living my days now.

 

Did I talk to students about the A-bomb when I was working at schools? No, not much. A lot of families in Hiroshima used to have A-bomb stories in their homes, and such topics did not seem to be so urgent to our students at school. The problems of the A-bomb or World Peace were already very familiar to them. Time has passed, however, and even the parents and relatives do not know much about the A-bomb any more. Peace education is becoming necessary for younger generations today. Survivors become older and pass away, though we still have a lot to do.

 

 

How I have been these days

 

A long time has passed since the bombing, and it is very peaceful without a war here in Japan. People of younger generations do not pay much attention to such disgusting memories of the past any more, and are just enjoying momentary pleasure and make believe happy days. It is like a cat which is taking a nap, forgetting to catch a mouse, and enjoying a warm and comfortable spring day afternoon.

 

Sure, peace is very good. Being able to live 65 years after that day, what a happy person I am! I often remember those burned young boys and girls, who were all walking slowly helplessly, and I feel that I still have a lot to do for them. Each of them must have wanted to live long and enjoy his or her happy life. It is my mission to tell more people of the world what those children wanted to say.

 

Amida Bhuddha still tells me to work hard, to talk to more people of the world about the horrible disaster happened here, and to ask them co-operation to stop another use of the bomb on earth again.

 

- END - 

 

The world will be better without nuclear bomb because it's really dangerous and can kill too many people at once.

 

Purple love,

 

Tiyi

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