Hiroshima survivor, Michiyo Yoshimoto

Uploaded by SGIVideosOnline on 20.06.2011

Early in the morning of August 7,
I went with doctors toward the bombing site.
As far as the eye could see, the fields had been reduced to ruins.
There wasn't a single living person around.
On both sides of the road there were corpses that hadn't even been covered.
They were just lying there naked.
Remains of their clothing were stripped to shreds.
The bodies on the ground...
You couldn't tell if they were men or women.
There were many people like this lying about.
We were told to go to an air-raid shelter to treat the wounded and incapacitated people there.
We went around attending to those with serious wounds
and brought with us bandages and zinc ointment.
A lot of people took refuge at the air-raid shelter
and you could hear people saying "Please give me water" or
"Please tell my family I'm here."
I must have been asked by hundreds of people.
For 3 days there was nothing to eat.
There were maybe 1 or 2 rice balls distributed to each person.
The rice balls were covered with flies from the place where they were being made.
The number of flies was unbelievable!
I was given a dry biscuit and I ate it but then I got thirsty.
I was told you mustn't drink the water.
Of course, at first, we knew we shouldn't drink it
but I was desperate and I thought I'd die from thirst.
I thought, if I was going to die anyway, I'd rather drink. First one person drank
and then everyone started drinking.
Rumor had it that [hibakusha] couldn't have babies
or that their babies would be born with birth defects.
There were stories of mysterious diseases they suffered from.
It sounded awful.
People said, "Grass wouldn't even grow after the bombings.
How, then, could a [hibakusha] expect to bear children?"
I developed anemia and experienced dizzy spells.
When I'd wake up in the morning I'd be dizzy, unable to stand.
If I went shopping for even a short while, I'd suddenly fall over.
I couldn't tell anyone about my illnesses
If I exerted myself, I'd collapse.
Treatment didn't make any difference.
Even if there'd been any medicine to treat the effects of the A-bomb
I thought there was no chance of being cured
and that it wasn't worth asking for it if I'd be discriminated against as a result.
My youth was spent in the depths of suffering.
It was like crawling about the abyss of hell.
I even began to think about committing suicide.
This was around 1954.
About 10 days out of the month I visit A-bomb survivors in my local community.
There are close to 90 [hibakusha] in the city where I live.
About half the survivors are bedridden waiting for help.
If they ask for something, or if there is anything I can do to help
I am more than happy to do my best to support them.
It keeps me pretty busy, but I find it very fulfilling.