25. Looking at the Mushroom Cloud

Life without a man' s hand

My husband: Masateru Myojin (37 years old), gone to the warfront
Myself: Taeko (33), My first son: Masayuki (1), My mother: Shizu (55)

My husband was drafted to the Army Communication Unit in Saga-shi in March 1944, where he was trained for three months. Then he was transferred to the Yamaguchi Regiment and sent to the South Pacific front in July.

We, the family left behind, suffered from food shortages. I went food hunting taking my sucking baby along with me almost every day. When I did not, I got to join a military training (with a bamboo spear), or do our obligation; buttoning on soldiers' clothes, cleaning up the debris of the demolished buildings, etc. I had so many difficulties day after day as my husband had been away.

Like a fire pillar

From the beginning of August in 1945, my mother and my son were away staying with the relatives in Mukaibara, Takata-gun. On August 6th, I was going to bring some rationed food to them. When I was about to lock my entrance door, an air-raid alarm was sounded. Before long the alarm was cleared, so I was going to lock the door again. It was just then that I felt something like a fire pillar in my eyes. I did not hear any sound at that time but I was instantaneously blown to the field of sweet potatoes.

When I came to, I ran away for the shooting range of the Army at the foot of Mt. Eba with a neighborhood woman. I heard that a bomb was dropped on Yokogawa area. Then I got to the bamboo grove in Shinjo-cho, passing through the reclaimed land in Kanon-machi and Koi station. There, I luckily found a truck that was heading for Yoshida-cho, Takata-gun. My request for a ride was heard. Looking at the mushroom cloud in the sky of Hiroshima, I managed to get to my parents' house in Yoshida-cho around 11 o' clock. We were delighted to find everybody had been safe.

One week later, I came back to Hiroshima to get a disaster certificate. I got to Hiroshima station then walked through Matoba-cho, Kamiya-cho, Tokaichi-machi, Dobashi to Funairi-kawaguchi-cho. On the way I saw miserably burnt streetcars at a few different places; in front of Fukuya department store, Kamiya-cho and Dobashi.

I walked through the burnt ruins in the sun to my house in Funairi-kawaguchi-cho. There, however, I found nothing left. My house had been burned down completely. In front was a dentist' s house where no figure was seen. I thought they had evacuated somewhere. An old man the next door was looking around for his daughter, who had been missing since she went to the demolition work. Later I heard that the man became sick and died because of the gas he inhaled during the search for her.

I strongly object to wars

As my house was burnt down, I decided to live in Yoshida-cho, Takata-gun with my mother and son. Our life, three of us, was difficult because of the food shortages. I went to visit the farmers, taking my son along with me, to barter my scarce possessions for rice, wheat, potatoes and so on.

I was anxiously waiting for my husband to be demobilized and come home. Soldiers began to be seen back home in Yoshida-cho, having been demobilized, so I expected my husband to come back. I checked up the schedule of the repatriate trains, and went to Hiroshima station at each arrival expecting him to show up. He never came back. In December, 1946, I received an official note of his death by Hiroshima Prefecture at Yoshida town office.

In those days prices were high because of inflation, and the change of currency value made us upset. I had a grudge against our government as we had no compensation at all. Besides, my physical condition became only worse. I was worrying about my future day and night. Since food shortage was always the problem, I felt it necessary for us to live in a self-supply style. So, I decided to rent a garden. The place I rented was beside the river in Yanagihara, Takata-gun and it was far away. Besides the soil was untended. But anyway I worked very hard and planted potatoes. I have a lot of bitter experiences and memories that no words could explain.

Then a high fever continued and my hair came off. My physical condition gradually became worse. One day I felt a sudden pain like neuralgia on my leg and I had a treatment in the Mukaibara Hospital. I continued acupuncture, moxa cautery and hot spring treatment but my condition became only deteriorated. So I went to the Red Cross Hospital, where I was told that my disease was caries and immediate hospitalization was necessary. So, I entered the Yoshida Hospital near my house.

When I see the children of Vietnamese refugees, I think they are the same as the Japanese children in those days. I know there were a lot of children who were very skinny with swollen stomachs in those days when I was raising my son. I have a sad memory of my own; when I took my son for an infant health check at Funairi Elementary School, they didn' t give me milk that I badly needed for him. Today everything is heavenly. I think we must not forget that there was a huge sacrifice of ‘deaths' caused by the war and the A-bombing.

I strongly oppose war. We should be the last ones and no more sacrifices.

Written by Taeko Myojin (68)

The place of the A-bomb exposure
Funairi-kawaguchi-cho, at the entrance hall of my house, 2.0km from the hypocenter




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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