The villager's note and testimony / People of Hesaka village

3. My Job in the Village Office Back Then

I was working in the public office then. As soon as I finished preparing to go out to the office and went outside, something flashed brightly in the sky. So I rushed back into my house, and a big blast came at the same time. As I looked around, I found that the ceiling had curled up, the shoji (sliding paper doors) had fallen down, and that all of the shoji frames on the south side of the house were blown away. My grandmother was knitting something on the porch, and her right hand had small blisters.

Just when I was about to clean up the mess in my house, there was a call from the public office.

On my way to the public office I saw a person, whose clothes (kimono) were terribly torn and whose hair burned, drinking water from the ditch of the rice field. A lot of people had already crowded near the public office, and I had to step over people who had fallen over to get there.

At the time, the public office was next to the elementary school. There was a sweet-potato field around the edge of the schoolyard, where a lot of people were rolling about there, saying, “Water! Water!”

Immediately, we started registering people's information under the willow tree. We recorded their addresses, names, and ages. We accepted anybody who could talk. It continued until about 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. on August 6. I was working so desperately that I didn't notice the heat, and before I knew it, my head became hot. There was a terrible stench from the people who came that afternoon, and for many of them, the skin of their hands and lips was hanging from their bodies. People with torn and dangling clothes came one after another. As soon as they reached the school, they laid themselves down all over the place.

I looked after two probationary officers and six soldiers in my house. From the next day, I continued to work in the office while taking care of them, serving their breakfast and lunch, and nursing the patients.

For a few days from August 7, I recorded the names of those lying in the school who had not finished the registration yet, and I made the rounds. There was a person running around in the classroom, saying, “Kill Me. Kill me. ” Everyone said, “Give me some water, ” but I didn't because we were not allowed to give them water. A farmer came to apply cucumber juice to the injured people. I asked two boys who were not injured so badly if they had come with their parents. They said they had come with someone they didn't know, but they disappeared before we knew it. Registries were useful because there were many people who came to look for their relatives within the city.

One of the patients in my home (one of the probationary officers) could not eat by himself because of his serious injury, so I helped him out. Every day I helped him change his clothes. It was difficult to take off his clothes because they stuck to his skin, so I solved the problem by wetting it with hydrogen peroxide.

At that time, the Women's Association quickly mobilized all their members, helped supply food and took care of the injured.(speech)

Toyono Shimoda (ex-village official)