Nagasaki survivor, Aiko Kori

Uploaded by SGIVideosOnline on 06.07.2011

I had been sent to Nagasaki to work at an arms factory.
Most of the people working there were young kids.
We were encouraging each other during one work day, saying:
"Let's work hard to win the war," and "Japan cannot lose."
Suddenly, there was a flash of light to my right.
The moment I wondered what it was, I noticed that my arm was on fire.
After a short while, there was a sound that went "Boom!"
Something fell on top of me, and I was caught under it.
People's voices could be heard groaning and crying out for help
and calling out for their mothers.
In a split second, everything fell into complete chaos and destruction
and it felt like we were in hell itself.
I was with my friend when we heard someone shouting for help.
The person was trapped from the waist down.
We tried to pull her out but her burned skin peeled off as we pulled her.
We were both in shock and, eventually, somebody told us to run to safety
and that he and his colleagues would rescue the trapped person.
We left the spot.
As I ran, I thought of my deceased mother.
I frantically ran around screaming, "Mom, mom, please help me!"
I guess I was so exhausted that I collapsed.
I don't know how long I remained unconscious.
When I opened my eyes, it was pitch dark and I couldn't figure out why.
Later, I was told that they thought I was dead
and put me with the corpses covering my body with a straw mat.
Because I felt suffocated, I gasped for air and started moving around.
That's how I escaped being cremated alive.
Someone shouted, "She's still alive," and I finally regained my senses.
My face and hair were thickly covered in blood.
No wonder people thought I was dead.
I felt pain and saw that my body was crawling with maggots.
I tried to remove them, but they stretched like elastic. I couldn't get rid of them.
I used a stone to pick maggots out of my gaping wounds. It hurt so much.
I was rescued and taken to a train station.
The place was overflowing with people who were injured by the bombing.
Many of them were in a terrible state
and looked like ghosts because their burned skin was dangling from their faces
and their hair had been burned off.
Some had been wearing hats and only the hair that had been covered remained.
They all looked like ghosts, standing in line.
I waited together with them.
A train finally arrived to evacuate us, and I was put on board.
On the train however, passengers died one after another in agony.
Everywhere you could hear people crying out for water
"Give me water," or "Water, please!"
Some shouted, "Mother! Help me!"
Just remembering it makes me cry. It was so awful.
I reached home and stayed there for 1 or 2 days before being taken to the hospital.
I suffered from terrible nausea.
It was so horrible that I couldn't eat anything. Nothing passed my lips.
I kept vomiting something dark and sticky.
Vomiting was so excruciating that I convulsed in pain.
I thought that I would have been better off had I been killed by the bomb
rather than experience this kind of pain.
I got married at the end of 1946, a year after my exposure to the A-bomb.
When I got married, I believed that I had been exposed to an ordinary bomb,
which was only bigger in size than usual
and that as long as my scars healed I would recover.
Shortly after my marriage, however,
the newspaper reported that the bomb turned out to be an atomic bomb
and that those who were exposed to it would most likely never get pregnant
or that their children would be born with birth defects.
From that day on, I was filled with anxiety
and worried about what I would do if my child was born with defects.
I determined that if that should ever happen, I would kill myself and the baby.
When I finally gave birth, my baby was born very small
and immediately got sick and was admitted to the hospital.
My mother-in-law said that since the baby would not survive
I should divorce my husband to save the family from trouble and shame.
She told everyone that I had been exposed to the A-bomb.
Neighbors treated me like a criminal, saying:
It was such a trying time.
Neighbors treated me like a criminal, saying:
"You know what? She was exposed to the A-bomb."
I had two more daughters. All of them were weak.
Especially the third, Kazumi. It was thought she would not survive.
I used to pass out and collapse suddenly.
One time, I fainted while I was going down a flight of stairs and fell down the stairway.
My anemia was so severe that I was too afraid to go out.
I was diagnosed as having leukemia,
a blood disease caused by exposure to the A-bomb.
I was told I had just 3 years to live.
Because I'd lost my own mother when I was a young child
I knew that I didn't want my children to go through the same experience
I told myself that I could not die leaving my children behind.
That was my one and only concern.
We must educate all children about the A-bomb and never let them forget the cruelty of war.
I started out by sharing my experience of the war in one classroom
and then was invited to speak in many other classrooms.
Exposure to one atomic bomb causes suffering to generations of people.
I have suffered; my children have suffered; and my grandchildren have suffered.
We have all experienced the horror of the A-bomb
as it has affected several generations of family members.
For this reason, I don't want anyone to have to go through what we did. Never again.