5. Trapped under a Pillar in the A-bombing

My background

I was the only child to Kikuhei Inoshita and Tatsu who were farmers in Toyohira-cho, Yamagata-gun. My parents owned about 1.5-acre farmland. After graduating from Meirin Higher Elementary School, I started farming with my parents. At the age of 20, I got married to Jiro Shimokawa from Yoshisaka-mura, Yamagata-gun, but we lived in Misasa-cho, Hiroshima because my husband was working for Japan National Railways. Ten years later, we got divorced for some reasons and I came back to my parents' home. Four months later, I was remarried to Itsuji Tanaka from Sinichi, Yae-cho, Yamagata-gun who was brought into my family registration. He was forty years old. When married, we settled in Funairi-saiwai-cho, Hiroshima. In those days, my husband was working at a military-supply factory in Yoshijima-cho and I was a housewife. In 1941, I suffered from tuberculosis and went to Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital regularly to receive treatment. About the time I got sick, my mother came to live with us for helping us out.

The situation of the time of the A-bombing

On August 6, I was at home with Mother. At the instant of the explosion I saw a flash. Coincidentally the ceiling and the roof fell down and I was trapped under the pillar and my left elbow broke. I was clearing up the breakfast table, I remember. I noticed that the fire had already broken out around the front door. My next-door woman saw me under the pillar and pulled me out shouting, “Get out quickly, or you' ll be burned. ” With her help, I barely crawled out using my uninjured right hand. Then, what suddenly came to my mind was my mother, and I searched around for her, but couldn' t find.

That day my husband had gone to the meeting of the heads of the neighborhood association instead of going to work. On his way home after the meeting, he saw a flash. When he came to the corner near my house, an electric pole fell on him. Being trapped under the pole, he was seriously burned his waist down. When I saw the skins of his upper legs hanging down, I was so shocked I covered my eyes with my hands. He went into our broken house and managed to find some clothes to put on. He decided to remain in our neighborhood. I, with my neighbors, headed for Eba-machi having forgotten the neighborhood agreement that we should evacuate to Kusatsu-machi in case of emergency.

When we arrived in Eba-machi, oily black rain began to fall. We needed to escape the rain and tried to get into the air-raid shelter, but it was filled with soldiers leaving no room for us. We had no other way but to leave, and turned back to Funairi-cho. On the way I ran into my mother I had been so worried about. The flesh of the lower part of her ankle exposed, with the skin peeled toward the toes. I took her home where I joined my husband who was with other neighbors. Then, about thirty of us started to head for Koi-machi. All the bridges on the way had fallen down, so we crossed the river in a boat and contrived to reach Koi-machi. That night we all slept on the nearby melon field together.

My life after being A-bombed

The following day, August 7, we had a discussion around 7 o' clock in the morning and decided that each of us should go visit each own relative. My husband, Mother and myself decided to go to Yae-cho, Yamagata-gun. We walked to Mitaki-cho, then took a Kabe line train to Imuro and again walked to Imuro Elementary School. The school had been used as the quarters for soldiers, but we were allowed to stay there two nights. On the third morning we came across our acquaintance from Yae-cho who happened to pass nearby. Since my husband and my mother could hardly walk due to the injuries incurred in the bombing, we asked the person to get back to Yae-cho and hire a horse carriage for my husband and mother. Thus, we could get to my husband' s brother' s house in Yae-cho and stayed there.

As we could not stay there long, we needed to find a place to move in. We rented two rooms at the rear part of a big house which was owned by an elderly couple in Tokaichi, Yae-cho. The housing problem was solved now. The next problem was food, but the sister-in-law was very kind and brought us rice and barley while we were living there, three months. One month later Mother died at the age of 65.  Then we were requested to leave by the house owner and moved to live in a back room on the second floor of the nearby inn. However, again, after a year we were told to move out. Then we rented a two-storied next door house where an old woman was living alone. We lived there for more than thirty years.

Thanks to good medical care, my husband recovered and worked for Yae Health Center for eight years. After that he switched to the job in Yae Post Office where he worked the rest of his life.

Three years after I began to live in that house, I started farming, renting a 1,000 square meter paddy field near our house and continued farming until 1975. After my husband died, I continued the farming by myself until my physical condition allowed no more. Then, I came to live on welfare. When my rented house was put up for sale, I was compelled to leave.

About the time when I entered the nursing home

Now that I needed to find a place to live in, I consulted my relatives and the people in Yae Town Office. The officials advised me to enter Hiroshima A-bomb Nursing Home and I decided to follow their advice. I entered the Home on April 26. 1978. Since then I have been enjoying the life here with gratitude. For some years after the A-bombing, every time I heard the roar of airplane, I would run and hide myself behind something. Even now the noise of roaring airplane makes me feel uneasy. One of my relatives, who has keloids all over the body, suffers from a recurring pain even now, and has to be hospitalized each time. I am afraid there' ll be no ending as long as he lives. I believe that wars should never occur again.

Written by Hatsuko Inoshita (79)

The place of my A-bomb exposure
Funairi-hon-machi. Inside of my house, 1.5 km from the hypocenter
Acute symptom in those days
Fracture of the left arm
Inconvenienced for two years since August 6, 1945
Headache from August 6 to 20
The dead in my family