23. The Pass of Mt. Mitaki Never Fades in My Mind

My background

I was a second daughter of Kiyosuke Shimizu, born in Yokogawa, Hiroshima. I went to Misasa Elementary School and then to Shintoku Girl' s Middle School. After I was graduated in 1918, I was helping with my father' s drug store.

When I was 21 years old, I got married to Ichiro Nagaoka. I became a mother of two sons but my second son died when he was 9 years old. My first son is fine and lives in Suita-shi, Osaka now.

My husband, Ichiro died of gastric ulcer in 1932. After that I entered the Doita Dressmaking School and finished it. Then I worked as a teacher at the same school until around 1944. The war intensified and it became impossible to make dresses so I changed my job and started to work for the Uchikoshi branch office of Hiroshima Army Clothing Depot. My job there was inspecting items such as hats, shirts, army clothes and pants as well as general office work.

The situation at the time of the A-bombing

On August 6th, I left home in Hirose-cho at 7:30 for work, as it begins at 8:00. After I got to the office, an air-raid warning was sounded but soon it was cleared. Mr. Unomoto, head of the branch office, gave the direction about the day' s work to us, 15 workers. When I was writing something at my desk in the office (8:15), a flash like lightning thrust in through the left side window. The windows broke, the lockers fell down and our office room, on the second floor, was twisted by the blast.

I was thrown under the desk that moment. My hair was tangled with pieces of glass badly enough unable to comb through. I lost my consciousness for a while due to the cuts on my left forehead by the glass fragments, which were bleeding hard. When I came to, I called for help but I could not find anybody. In the workshop next to my office, a factory girl was seen dead, being caught between the sewing machines. The janitor was also lying dead. It was terrible.

I was scared, so I decided to take refuge in a temple in Furuichi, Asa-gun, to which we, Hirose town people, were supposed to evacuate in case of emergency. On the way, when I looked over from Mt. Mitaki, I saw lines of injured people. They were almost naked and their skins were hanging down from all over their bodies. It was just a miserable scene. When those people wanted water, I scooped up some with my cupped hands and gave them. On arriving at the temple, I found the place was filled with many people. I was given ten hard biscuits and pickled eggplant. After eating, we hung up a mosquito net in the back yard of the temple and about 30 people slept in it that night.

The next day, August 7th, early in the morning I set out on foot for Kuchi, Asa-gun, and arrived at Akira Ito' s house around 8 o' clock in the evening. As I had entrusted my household belongings with him, I stayed there until the middle of September. Then, in the late September, I moved to Mr.Tanaka' s house in Ono, Saeki-gun. As I was once her daughter' s teacher at Doi Dressmaking School before the war, they treated me well.

The life after the A-bombing

About a year later I moved to Nobori-machi, Hiroshima from Ono, Saeki-gun, and worked for a tailor, Mito.

My first son, who had gone to the middle part of China, was demobilized in December,1946. We cried with joy, hugging each other. He began to work at the Unemployment Office, but was transferred to Osaka. Again, I was back to a lonely life. I would often visit PL religious body, around that time I was remarried to Kyuichiro Mito. Helping his job as a tailor, I devoted myself to the housework, but my husband died of pneumonia in 1968.

Around the time of entering the Home

As I broke down with brain inflammation on April 19th, 1980, I was admitted to the Funairi Hospital on April 27th. I stayed in the hospital for 8 months, and then became a resident of the Home in November 27th, 1980. Since then, I am getting better day by day. I am very grateful to the stuff for their kindness. I hope that I become much healthier and can help other people.

Written by Fusako Mito (79)

The place of my A-bomb exposure
Uchikoshi-cho, inside of the Uchikoshi branch office of Hiroshima Army Clothing Depot, 1.8km from the hypocenter
Acute symptoms in those days
Only a cut on the head
The dead in my family
None, because all were evacuated

The author of the stories here comes under “Hiroshima Council of the A-bomb Counter-disaster Measures ”, which is the managing body of the Funairi Mutsumien, Hiroshima A-bomb nursing home.

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