7. In the Dust Smoke of the Blast

My background

I was the first daughter to Takeo and Maki Furuyama, born on August 11, 1899 in Nukushina-cho, Aki-gun. I had four elder brothers and one younger sister.

My father was a principal at an elementary school. My childhood was not special, but a happy one. After graduating from Hiroshima Jogakuin, a girl' s school, I stayed at home helping with the housework. In 1922, when I was 22, I got married to Kosaku Toda who worked for a cotton wool company in Tenjin, China. We had two sons.

My husband died of acute pneumonia in 1928. I came back to Japan in 1928 taking my two children, 6 and 3 along with me. I studied dressmaking at a school in Osaka for three years. Then, I founded the Futaba Dressmaking School in Hiroshima. Three years later, however, for various reasons I switched to working for the Post and Telecommunication Bureau.

My older son died in the war in Northern China in 1941. Though he was enshrined as an honored, national war dead, my heart was broken to have lost my loving son I had raised with all my care.

The situation at the A-bombing

In 1945, the war increasingly intensified. In those days, I was commuting from Showa-machi to the Post and Telecommunication Bureau. It became unsafe even commuting to work, so I rented a room upstairs of Mr. Fukuda's house, which was closer to my office. I had all my family evacuated to my parents' house in Nukushina-mura.

At the time of the A-bombing on August 6, I was in my room. “A flash! ” “Boon! ” With a tremendous roaring sound of blast, my room upstairs began shaking heavily. The moment I ran out to the veranda, the house collapsed and I was trapped under the broken house. I lost consciousness. When I came to, it was pitch-dark around me. While struggling hard, I saw a hole made in the ceiling. I could hardly breathe because of the dusty smoke, but I managed to jump out. At the same moment I heard the roaring sound of the house collapsing.

While I was running away being hampered by countless pieces of scattered broken glass, I came across a person who was crying out, “Help! ” I took the person along with me to Chojuen for shelter. After taking some rest there, I headed for the water reservoir. I carried the wounded stranger on and off my back, sometimes making her walk. In the late afternoon, finally, I could take her to the first aid station at Hesaka Elementary School where her wounds were treated. That night I stayed overnight at a farmer' s house. The following morning I went to my office and did my job as a clerical worker.

The situation after the A-bombing

About one week after the A-bombing, purple spots began to appear all over my body and my hair came off. I ran a high fever. I was hospitalized in the Post and Telecommunication Hospital. The hospital was overwhelmed with the injured and A-bomb disease patients. Because we heard that moxibustion was good to increase white corpuscles, we tried it to one another among the patients in the room.

My health condition got better in 40 days or so, and left the hospital in about 50 days. I worked for a while, after being released from the hospital, at the Post and Telecommunication Hospital. Thereafter, I also worked at various places, but my poor physical condition, because of the A-bomb aftereffects, didn' t allow me to continue long.

I was hospitalized at the Hiroshima Municipal Hospital for anemia in 1947. I was designated as a special patient of an A-bomb caused disease, granulocytopenia on December 24, 1947. After leaving the hospital, I still had to go see the doctor continuously, once a week as an outpatient. Around March in 1973, I began to have a heart attack occasionally.

Hope for abolition of nuclear weapons with all my heart

As my older son was killed in the war, I went to live with my second son's family. In his small house six members including the grandchildren lived together. There were also some other reasons, and I entered this nursing home on October 25, 1973, being recommended by a City official.

Looking back over the past years, I lost my parents, brothers and my older son; so many family members ever since the outbreak of the Pacific War. Only three are now alive: my older brother, Iwao (in Nukushina at my parents' house), my younger sister, Midori Nakagawa (in Akashi city) and myself. I felt lonely and worried about my poor health, and I spent many sleepless nights. But, ever since I entered this nursing home, I have been taken care of very well. I joined various club activities such as haiku or a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, artificial flowers, calligraphy and so on. I am very happy with my life here.

My second son, his wife and grandchildren often come and see me on holidays. They are nice and kind to me. Only, the mere thought of the A-bombing, even now, makes me feel pain physically and mentally. In the end, I' d like the people throughout the world to work for abolishing the detestable nuclear weapons at all cost.

Written by Terumi Toda (81)

The place of my A-bomb exposure
Nishi-hakushima-cho. Inside my rented room. 1.7km from the hypocenter.
Acute symptoms in those days
Fever, loss of hair, purple spots all over the body.