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

8. August 6 in Hesaka

On the day of the A-bombing, I said good-bye to my husband who commuted in an overcrowded train as usual. After I washed the dishes, I went out to the west veranda to go to the bathroom. I saw a big crimson ball in the west that I had never seen before. As soon as I said to my 5-year-old daughter, “Come here now, you can see a beautiful ball, ” everything went black. When I came to myself, I stood in the center of the eight tatami-mat room.

Chests, a cupboard and a dressing table fell down and the glass fit into paper doors burst into fragments. Even heavy tatami mats were pushed up and there was no place to step.

Fortunately my three-year-old boy was not hurt, probably because he was sleeping. Soon I shouldered him and began to clean up my house. But I didn't know where to start. I couldn't concentrate on cleaning and went to the town office to make a phone call to ask my husband to come home as early as possible. But the deputy mayor said that telephone lines were dead. I gave up and went home. I managed to clear up the mess in one room and make room for a rest.

When I happened to look out, my husband was there. His head was tied up with bandages and his white shirt and trousers were covered with blood. He stood straight and stiff. He said he felt terrible pain if he bent even slightly. I immediately laid out the bedding, held him in my arms and helped him lie down on it. He couldn't move and became bedridden.

Meanwhile, two soldiers asked me to give them a place to rest and sat on the veranda. Their faces were swollen red. It was so pitiful that I couldn't look squarely at them. Even now my husband and I regret that we didn't ask their names.

As Hesaka Elementary School was a temporary Military Hospital at that time, many A-bombed people walked there slowly in a procession from Hiroshima. I went to the elementary school to tell a doctor my husband's condition and ask him for treatment. But there were long lines of people waiting for treatment, and I didn't know when I could see a doctor. I couldn't wait for such a long time and came home.

Many people were lying on the scorched school grounds here and there. When I passed them, one of them asked me to make a shade for him. Even now I don't know where I got it from, but I brought one wooden door and made it stand with two sticks at both edges so that he would not catch the sun directly.

Nobody talked and it was quiet. An old man and a lady who seemed to be his daughter-in-law walked wearily holding a dead baby. They didn't exchange words with each other and just moved forward like sleepwalkers.

Every day, I heard from Mrs. Oka, in whose house we had stayed to escape air raids, that a soldier in this house died and another one in that house died. Firewood for cremations was allocated to farmers, but not to us, evacuated non-farmers.

At Mr. Oka's house, they worried about their two children who had not come home since they went to school in the morning. When they came back late in the evening, they looked relieved. (memoir)

Shizuka Harada