From "Children of Hiroshima"


Introduction

Children of Hiroshima: An Appeal from the Children of Hiroshima wascompiled by Professor Arata Osada (1887-1961) and published in 1951.He experienced the A-Bomb. He was appointed the president of the HiroshimaUniversity of Humanities and Science in 1945 and retired thepresidency in 1949. The book is a collection of stories written bychildren who experienced the A-Bomb and has been translated intoEnglish, French, German and so on.

In his preface of the book, Professor Osada wrote:

There is a branch office of the Osaka Bank about five hundred yardsaway from the center of the explosion....If you look at it, you willfind it encloses a dark silhouette of a man printed on the stone walland the steps. Upon these steps at the moment of the blast, a manmust have been sitting, perhaps with an elbow on one knee and one handsupporting his chin, in an attitude of deep thought. The powerfulaction of the radioactive waves "printed" the outline of this man onthe wall, marking the moment of his death. The dark silhouette isgradually disappearing and, as time passes, memories of that tragictime will gradually be forgotten. But the shadows will never liftfrom the hearts of the people of Hiroshima who lost their parents,brothers and sisters and friends. Though they smile cheerfully inanswer to inquiries after them from sympathizers and even appearcarefree at times, the agony remains profound and lasting.

He also wrote:

It is my purpose here to present to the public a collection of essayswritten by boys and girls who were living in Hiroshima at the time theatom bomb fell. The essays are accounts relating their personalexperiences at the time.

Due to the space limitation, we present only selectedparagraphs and stories from the book. We hope this provides readers witha brief idea of what children felt and thought fifty years ago.We thank Dr. Jun Murai, a grandson of Professor Osada, for hisefforts and cooperation to make this happen.


Keiko Sasaki

6 years old in 1945

She (Grandmother) heard from a man who escaped from Hiroshimathat the city was completely destroyed by the bomb. When she heard that, she went to Hiroshima right away. Whenshe came back after a week, I asked "Where's Mother?"

"I brought her on my back" was the answer.

I was very happy and shouted, "Mummy!" But when Ilooked closely, I saw she was only carrying a rucksack. I wasdisappointed. My sister and our neighbors began to cry. Icouldn't understand why. Then my grandmother put the rucksackdown and took some bones out of it and showed them toeverybody. There were my mother's gold tooth and a piece ofher elbow bone. I still didn't understand.


Kimiko Takai

6th grade girl(5 years old at the time)

I shiver whenever I think of August 6, 1945, the day whenHiroshima was destroyed in just a few minutes.

I and a friend were playing at a neighbor's house when Iheard the roar of an airplane.

"It's an airplane," I said. Right then, there was aflash. I was so afraid that I hung on to the next-door lady, but she was more scared than I was. She shook me loose and threw her arms around her husband. Then she took a cloth band out of a drawer and tied it around her waist. After that, she and her husband ran out of the house.

My playmate Tatsuko and I didn't know what to do. Suddenly, it got dark and something began to drop from the ceiling. We were so frightened that we just hung on to each other with our eyes wide open. It got lighter and lighter and after a while I heard Tatsuko's mother calling for her. She sounded very worried.

She took Tatsuko with her and I was left alone. I started to cry. A neighbor with dirt all over her face came out of the wreckage and said, "Don't cry. Your mother is near by."

She ran off, too, and I was alone again. A little later, I heard my sister's voice through my sobs. I Iistened carefully. I could hear her calling, "Kimiko! Kimiko!" with all her might. I was so glad that my eyes got full of tears. My mother came, too.

"Oh, Kimiko, I'm so glad to find you. And now your sister. Where could she be? I hope she hasn't been burned. Maybe, she's already dead," my mother said.

But we couldn't waste time. We were scared and wanted to get to a safe place.

As we walked along, we saw soldiers with bloated stomachs floating down the river. They probably had to dive into the river to get away from the flames. A little father on, we saw many dead people piled up at the side of the road. As we walked on, my father saw a woman whose leg was caught under a large timber. She couldn't get free so he shouted for help but no one came. Everyone was too busy trying to get away to pay any attention to anyone else. Finally, my father shouted angrily, "Aren't any of you Japanese?" Then he got the woman loose by sawing off her leg with a rusty, old saw.

Further on, we saw a man who must have been burned to death while he was walking.

Mother said that she couldn't go any further and told us to go on without her. She sat down to rest but we couldn't go on by ourselves, leaving her behind. Then she scooped up a handful of muddy water from the roadside and drank it. This must have made her feel better because she got up and joined us again.

As we got to the countryside, farmers stared at us in amazement and asked us what had happened. When we passed farm houses, people would come out and give us rice balls to eat, or ask us whether we would like to wash our faces.

We stayed with our relatives for about a month.

After we arrived, Mother complained that her back hurt. I looked at her back and found a piece of glass about 3/4 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches long stuck in it. It had gone in quite deep because she had been carrying my brother on her back. We went to see a doctor and learned that we had been rather lucky. Many people had died and hundreds had been injured.

From the next day, Father went out looking for my sister. The bomb had exploded over Aioi Bridge, near the Hiroshima post office where my sister worked. She must have died without time to call for her mother or even to say, "Oh!" My uncle and aunt had gone to a place near the post office to collect some manure that day and both were killed. Their ashes were brought back to us, though. Not even my sister's ashes have come back to us.

All but one of the workers at the post office was killed. He picked up the remains of the other workers and then took a little of the ashes to each of the dead persons' families. We put the ashes before God and prayed that my sister would rest in peace.


Yasuo Fujita

5 years old in 1945

The saddest thing for me was that I lost my brother, sisterand grandmother.

My grandmother was folding up some quilts and things andwhen the house fell she was caught under many beams. Shescreamed for help but the beams were too heavy for my fatherto lift alone.

They brought our sister to us about three daysafter the bombing but she had lost so much blood that she died two dayslater.

My brother was missing for about four months. Then one day, we heard they had found him but when we went to take a look all we saw was some buttons lying here and there.


Masatada Asaeda

3rd Grade Student in 1945

When we were playing in the school ground, an airplanecame, but we kept on playing, only saying "Why did they givethe all-clear?" All of a sudden, there was something like lightening and I covered my face with my hands. When I openedmy eyes and looked around, it was dark and I couldn't see anything. While I was feeling around in the darkness, it becamelight. I was thinking of going home, and I found that all thehouses around me had been destroyed and fires were burninghere and there.

I started running home, crying and calling, "Mother! Mother!"But I couldn't tell where my house had been.I just went around this way and that, and then I heard my sistercalling my name.I was shocked when I saw her, because she was stained with blood all over.I looked at myself; the skin of both my arms and feet had peeled away andwas hanging off.I didn't know what all this meant, and I was frightened, so I burst into tears.Meanwhile, Mother had crawled out from the pile of tiles and dragged anovercoat and Father's cloak out of a trunk and wrapped us in them.

We spent the night in Yasu Shrine in Gion.Because of their burns, everyone was crying for water all night.The next morning, we were taken by truck to a Buddhist temple in Kabe.That night, my sister died. How can I describe Mother's grief?How can I describe the horrible scenes I saw in the temple then?Who can imagine the miseries we went through except those who were there themselves?It is entirely beyond my power to put the terrible sight into words.Countless people suffering from burns and wounds, groaning with pain, their bodiescovered with maggots, and dying in delirium, one after another.It was hell on earth.


Yasuko Moritaki

4th grade in 1945

World War I was supposed to be a war to end all wars, but all it did was bring about World War II.

The vast amount of money which is being spent on the production of arms should be used for the recovery of the nations of the world and the advancement of civilization. If weapons are used again, more innocent people's lives will be lost and cultures destroyed.

More and more testing and production of atom bombs is going on in countries where people are crying, 'No more Hiroshimas.'