Nagasaki survivor, Toyomi Hashimoto

Uploaded by SGIVideosOnline on 11.07.2011

My child came home shouting, "Look! Planes are coming!"
The moment he had entered the house
there was a flash of light and a big "Boom!"
The next thing I remember
was the sound of people shouting,
"Hurry! Fire! Get out of there right away or you'll die in the flames! Run!"
I saw the fire was approaching
but I was trapped under the collapsed house and could not move.
I had to push my belly against a sharp nail in order to escape.
It was terribly painful.
I found my son Takashi lying unconscious.
The pretty yellow clothes I had put on him were covered in blood.
It was a sore sight to see.
He was in terrible condition and looked like he was dead. Using the light of a candle
my husband and I pulled out the shards of broken glass piercing my son's body.
Despite my own pain, I was too concerned about my son's condition
to worry about myself.
In the middle of the night, I heard my son say "Mom." I was so happy that he was alive.
The longest day ended and the following day dawned.
People in search of their missing children and families were turning over corpses,
examining them to see if they were their missing loved ones, crying,
"No, it's not this one and it's not that one either! It's impossible to tell."
The faces of the corpses were burned. They were disfigured and unidentifiable.
Even if one tried to identify the bodies through what they were wearing
their clothing was charred and beyond recognition.
What I saw was a living hell. It was beyond words to describe.
Even after 60 years, I can still recall the scene so vividly.
2 or 3 days after the bombing
I started to bleed from my gums
and my hair started to fall out in clumps.
I couldn't believe it...
My hair was clotted with dirt and blood.
I couldn't wash my hair. If I tried to comb my hair, then it would just fall out.
My neighbors came to confirm that I was alive.
They were happy to see that I had survived and encouraged me to take heart.
But they died one after another, over a period of about a month.
We would set up a pyre near the air-raid shelter to cremate their bodies.
The ashes would be left there, and whenever we had to get water from the well
we would have to walk among the remains to get there.
We were appalled by the stench.
Since there were so many corpses in our neighborhood,
we had to cremate their bodies every day.
My vertigo was caused by leukopenia, a low white blood cell count.
My cell count was only two-thirds of what it should be.
Due to the leukopenia, I was chronically ill.
Nevertheless, I had to work.
My fourth son, who was born in 1952
had some problem with his eyes.
He was diagnosed as having glioma, a type of cancer.
I was told that glioma patients' bodies gradually deteriorate
while their heads begin to swell.
Eventually, they die in writhing agony.
When my fifth son was born after I lost my fourth son,
I thought to myself that my dead son was reborn in the form of this boy. I was so happy.
But then again, this boy also had a problem with his eyes.
He was also diagnosed with glioma.
I thought, "Why me? Why is this happening again?"
I really felt a surge of strong rage toward the atomic bomb.
If only they hadn't dropped the bomb this would never have happened.
According to the doctor
the incidence of cancer is more than double among [hibakusha].
I went to the US to attend the UN General Assembly in 1982.
On that occasion
scientists who had participated in the Manhattan Project came to see us.
They asked us if we held a grudge against them and the US
for developing and using the A-bombs.
I said, "Yes. In the beginning I did.
I held a deep grudge for having been forced to live a life of hell.
I thought my grudge would last forever.
Now, however, what I really want, rather than holding a grudge,
is that no more people, including the people in the US,
have to go through what I experienced."
I told them I would continue to speak up and share my firsthand experience
of the horror of atomic bombs with as many people as possible.
I go to elementary schools to share my firsthand experience
as an A-bomb survivor with children.
After my talks, they send me letters, words of encouragement, their determinations
and paper cranes they have made as symbols of peace.
Such responses have encouraged me to continue my efforts.
As long as I live, I will dedicate my life to sharing my experiences as a [hibakusha]
and to speaking out against the use of atomic bombs
so that there will never be a third time that they are used.
I am resolved to live out my life to the fullest because I believe that is my mission in life.