The villager's note and testimony / The Concerned People at the Hesaka Branch Military Hospital of Hiroshima First Military Hospital
1. The Concerned People at the Hesaka Branch Military Hospital of Hiroshima First Military Hospital after the A-bombing
I was evacuated to Hesaka Branch Military Hospital, which was established in Hesaka Elementary School, on August 3, 1945. The war was close to the final stage. The attacks were getting more and more intensive and everyday life was very hard because of the lack of equipment in rural areas.
In the daytime we gave treatment to the injured soldiers and at night we stayed separately at local houses in the neighborhood.
In the morning of that day, August 6, we went to school together as usual, saying, “It's going to be hot today, too. ” I reached school, cleaned and was about to step into the room at 8:15. Just then I heard a big bang. It got abnormally light around and a flash appeared. I heard glass breaking and someone screaming. Not knowing what happened, I lay down on the spot.
We were frightened, wondering what had happened. Everyone got pale and our feet were shaking. Medics told us to go out to see what had happened and we heard voices saying, “Look at that! Over there. ” In that direction we saw the sky over Hiroshima flaming red, and something like a cloud was expanding in a weird form, rising up to heaven.
“Serious! A bomb must have been dropped.” We went back to the room; however, we were all upset and could do nothing. About 30 minutes later, a large number of heavily burned people came toward us one after another.
With their hair frizzled and skin peeled, they looked inhuman and terrible. How could we, who had to accept a swelling number of such people, describe our feelings? We were at a loss what to say. The terror was overwhelming.
People were standing on the grounds, groaning or crying, “Please give me water. Please.” It was like a picture of hell.
As ordered by medics, we pitched tents, carried desks out and began to treat those people. We didn't have enough medicine, so it was just temporary treatment, but we were absorbed in taking care of them. People were flooding in so that no space was left in the grounds to walk through. Crying or groaning, one, two, and then, many people began to collapse there. Around evening, those dead bodies were piled up with the help of villagers and cremated at the nearby mountain behind the school. Over the night the sky in Hesaka was wrapped with the black smoke. Such a situation continued day after day.
I don't know how many thousands of people evacuated to Hesaka. A quiet village suddenly got crowded and busy and all villagers worked hard for those people.
The heat of that August was severe. There was no sign of getting cool. Every night we went to bed exhausted. The smoke in the sky never cleared, the smell of corpses deprived us of our appetite and everyone became haggard day by day. It was not until the Bon Festival (August 15), and the day the war came to an end, that we had fewer patients and recovered our calmness.
Now 31 years later, the town of Hesaka has grown, I can't find the signs of those disastrous days anywhere. They are only our memories of the experiences we had at that time. Many victims are sleeping in the nearby mountain behind the school. I feel like praying for their souls when I'm there, feeling as if they are still looking at the present Hesaka. (memoir)
Sumako Kawamoto (Nurse at the Hesaka Branch of Military Hospital)