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Kayano's Summer (Supplementary explanation) > japanese
Kayano's Summer
(Supplementary explanation)

① Kayano’s family

From right: Midori (her mother), Kayano, Makoto (her brother), and Dr. Nagai (her father)

Kayano was born on August 18, 1941 in Ueno-machi, Nagasaki City.
There were five members in her family: herself, her father, her mother, her elder brother named Makoto (age 10 at the time of the A-bombing), and her grandmother. Kayano’s father was Takashi Nagai, a doctor who worked at the Physical Rehabilitation Department (present radiology department) of Nagasaki Medical College (now the Nagasaki University School of Medicine). Dr. Nagai was found to be suffering from leukemia, due to occupational exposure to a large dose of radiation from the X-ray examinations and other similar activities he had been engaged in for many years; he was thought to have only three years to live. After experiencing the A-bomb disaster, he wrote many books, including “The Bells of Nagasaki (Nagasaki no Kane),” which disseminated the actual situation of A-bombed Nagasaki to people around the world. Kayano’s mother, Midori, was from a traditional and devout Catholic family. She was very hard working and particularly good at needlework. The atomic bomb, dropped on August 9, transformed the life of this close family.

What is an Atomic Bomb?

Dr. Nagai’s Activities to Relieve A-bomb Victims

House in Koba, to which Kayano (pictured second from right) and her brother Makoto had been evacuated for safety. In front of the house is her father, Dr. Nagai, with a bandage around his head.

Kayano’s father, Dr. Takashi Nagai, was in the main building of the Nagasaki Medical College Hospital, only 700 meters from the hypocenter, when an atomic bomb was dropped over Nagasaki. He saw a blinding flash of light and was swept away by a ferocious blast.
(From “The Bells of Nagasaki”)
“And before my eyes the flash of blinding light took place. It was like a thunderbolt in a clear sky. A bomb must have fallen at the very entrance to the university, I thought. I immediately tried to throw myself to the ground, but before I could do so, the glass of windows smashed in and a frightening blast of wind swept me off my feet into the air―my eyes wide open. Pieces of broken glass came in like leaves blown off a tree in a whirlwind.”

Dr. Nagai suffered numerous cuts on the right side of his body, as a result of flying splinters of glass. He received a deep cut on his right temple, above his right eye and around his right ear, which caused heavy bleeding.

Nevertheless, together with other surviving doctors and nurses, Dr. Nagai devoted his time to treating the injured and other victims. Three days later, when relief activities were caught up for the time being, he finally returned home. In the ruins of the house he found his wife, who had died and become soft ashes, and her rosary and chain.

The next day, Dr. Nagai went to a house in Koba, a rural region to which his children had been evacuated and where they waited for him, to establish the headquarters of a rescue group that came with him from the hospital.

Subsequent Story

Kayano’s family. She is pouring spiced sake into a cup for her father, to celebrate the New Year.

In the following year, as his leukemia worsened, Dr. Nagai became bed-ridden. Even in such a condition, he continued to write, to make a living and to tell people around the world about the horrors of the atomic bomb. Kayano’s elder brother Makoto, was living in a boarding house to attend a national elementary school in Omura City. In 1948 a house was built for Kayano’s family, with donations from Catholics. The tiny house comprised a two-tatami mat room (about four square meters in area) and a corridor with a boarded floor. The house was named Nyokodo (As Yourself Hermitage), after the Christian maxim "Love others as you love yourself.” In the house, Kayano lived with her father and elder brother, who was then enrolled in a junior high school in Nagasaki.

At Nyokodo, Dr. Nagai continued his efforts to encourage people, especially children, who had experienced the shock of the A-bomb experience. For example, with royalties from his book he erected a memorial “Anokora no Hi (Children’s Memorial)” in memory of the children killed by the atomic bomb. Dr. Nagai also helped establish a children’s private library, called “Uchira no Honbako (Our Book Case).”As well, he bought cherry seedlings and had them planted at nearby schools, so as to regenerate the atomic wasteland of Urakami into a district where beautiful flowers bloom. However, he passed away at the age of 43, in 1951.

Although his two young children had lost their parents, they were brought up with love and care by Dr. Nagai’s younger brother and his wife, as well as the other people around them. Makoto later grew up to become a journalist and Kayano grew up to become a teacher, carrying out the intentions of their deceased father and mother.

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