Testimonies of the Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors

 

Desperately thirsty

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 "What on earth has happened?" said my mother, holding her baby tightly in her arms. "Is it the end of the world?" We knelt in the air-raid shelter, praying to God with all our hearts. Injured people came into the shelter one after another muttering, "Urakami is a sea of fire." What was going to become of us? Since the shelter was bad for the baby, we departed for the house of an acquaintance in Mikumi-gochi... But when we arrived in Mikumi-gochi we found that the houses in the valley had also been destroyed. Where could we go to find a house in which my mother and her newborn baby could rest? Large groups of people were huddling together, trembling in the shade of the mountain and other places. Desperately thirsty, I went to draw water but found an oil-like substance floating all over it. People told me that the oil had rained down from the sky... But I wanted a drink so badly that I gulped the water down just as it was.

Sachiko Yamaguchi
(nine years old at the time of the bombing)

 

A Sad and Final Farewell

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The faces of these two girls have been beautifully made up in preparation for their cremation.

 

My sister was trapped under the fallen house

My two-year old sister was crying hysterically, trapped under the fallen house. The beam was so heavy. The sailors tried to lift it but went away saying, "It's no use." Suddenly I saw someone running toward us. It was a woman. She was naked and her body was purple. "Mother!" Now we thought everything would be alright. Our neighbor tried to lift the beam but it did not budge. "It's impossible," he said. "There's just no helping it." He bowed deeply in apology and went away. The fires were approaching quickly. Mother's face went pale. She looked down, and my sister peered up with fear-stricken eyes. Mother scanned the beam again, then slid her shoulder under it and heaved upward with all the strength in her body. The beam rose with a crack and my sister's legs came free. But mother sank exhausted to the ground. She had been out in the field picking eggplants for lunch when the bomb exploded. Her hair was red and frizzled. Her skin was burned and festering all over her body. The skin had ripped right off the shoulder she had applied to the beam. The muscle was visible and blood was streaming out. She soon began to writhe in agony, and she died that night.

Michiko Ogino
(ten years old at the time of the bombing)