Foreword

Monument of the A-bombed Teachers and Students of National Elementary Schools

Floating Lantern” is a collection of the notes and memorandums written by the bereaved family members of the A-bombed teachers and students. It was compiled taking the opportunity of erecting a memorial, “Monument of the A-bombed Teachers and Students of National Elementary Schools” to mark 25th anniversary of the A-bombing (unveiled on August 4, 1971).


  Daytime population of Hiroshima city in those days, 1945, was considered around 400,000, which consisted of soldiers, commuting workers and mobilized volunteer laborers for the house demolition from the outskirts of the city as well as the Hiroshima citizens. August 6, 1945, at 8:15 an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, which deprived the lives of 140,000, about one third of the 400,000 by the end of that year and destroyed the lives of those left behind. Among the dead were about 2,000 students and 200 teachers of National Elementary Schools.

  In those days many of the fourth, fifth and sixth graders were made to evacuate in groups, leaving their parents, to the outskirts of the city in order to escape from the intensifying air raids on the mainland. Therefore, the children having left in the city were mostly the third graders and younger including babies and toddlers. These young schoolchildren went to school, but, instead of studying, helped grow vegetables using the school ground. Food shortage was that serious. On August 6, they left home for school with vivacious good-bye, “Ittekima...su”. They got to school, and then the A-bomb exploded.

  This collection is a cry of the parents who could never again see their loved ones who had left home cheerfully. Why did these young children have to be sacrificed? Did these children deserve this? It may be some politicians who started war, and all the adults may have been guilty for not having done their best to keep it from happening, but certainly not children.
  They were the innocent children with empty stomach, and they had been told to endure the shortage of everything until victory. They would see off soldiers to the war with cheers,“banzai”. They had been taught about the virtue of dying for the nation. And, they were burned in the red-hot heat and died. 

  There never disappears war zones on earth, and those sacrificed are always young children. We, HIROSHIMA SPEAKS OUT would feel rewarded if the readers of these notes would vow never to become war advocates. War deprives innocent little lives and war produces parents in grief and despair at the loss of their loved ones.

  In order to have many people read these notes, we have decided to make CD and distribute. Along with the “Floating Lantern”, we included the reality of the A-bombing. Much credit goes to World Friendship Center Translator's class members who did the translation as well as Hiroshima Memorial Museum, Hiroshima Council for Counter-measures against Atomic-bomb Diseases and Yoshito Matsushige for providing the pictures and photos.

   “Floating Lantern
Hiroshima Speaks Out
Michiko Hamai




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