26. Struggle with the Fragments of Glass

My background

I was born as the second daughter of Ichiro Murata in Tsuzu, Kuga-gun, Yamaguchi Prefecture and have three sisters. I married Shizuro Ueoka when I was 28 but he was gone to the United States and I heard nothing from him since. I divorced him twenty years later and married Norio Kawamura in July, 1947.

Treated by my family

On August 6, I was at work, a cooking duty for higher officers at the hall for military officers in the Army Clothing Depot in Deshio-cho. After having been ordered to start by the head of the higher officers, fifty of our squad started the day' s work. At 8:15 I suddenly saw a powerful blinding flash run. And then, a tremendous roaring sound resounded as if the firm red brick building of the Clothing Depot were destroyed. Having been near the window, tens of fragments of window glass stuck deeply into my head and face. When I tried to get out of the building, lumber fell on my head. I got gashes on the head, from which blood spouted out. At that moment I was almost unconscious. The members of our squad helped me and carried me to the first-aid station in the warehouse of the Depot. I saw wounded people lying side by side there. Until August 15 I was there and treated by doctors. Since I knew I would not get sufficient treatment there because of the shortage of medicine, I wanted to return to my home, Tsuzu, Yamaguchi-ken for treatment. So, I asked the doctor about it and got his permission. I left all the household effects and the collapsed house in Minami-machi as they were. My parents-in-law and three sisters-in-law were all safe because they had evacuated to the house of my brother-in-law' s acquaintance in Hatsukaichi, Saeki-gun.

I heard the news, the end of the war, at Hiroshima Station on the way back to my hometown, Yamada, Tsuzu, Yamaguchi-ken for treatment. Knowing that Japan was defeated, I was overwhelmed with sadness and could not help crying there. It was so regrettable, because we had paid so much of price. I felt mounted tension inside me fainted away at an instance I heard Japan' s defeat. Since train service from Hiroshima through Otake was no avail, I walked all the way to Fujiu station, from where I took a train to Tsuzu. I got off at Tsuzu and went home where I was born. All my family was very surprised and pleased to see me alive because they had thought I was dead. On the way I often felt I' d rather die because the pains from the wounds and lower back were unbearable in the heat. Thanks to the treatments, applying Mercurochrome-dipped cotton to the wounds, given by my family, they gradually healed. My 22-year-old niece especially took a good care of me. I spent a recuperating period, and my wounds were completely cured in about one month.

The life after the A-bombing

One thing I had been concerned was my work. I returned to Hiroshima around September 20, and was reinstated in the former work place. I was engaged in the work of liquidation of the Clothing Depot until November. Most of the workers including me were discharged by December. So,I returned home in Yamaguchi, having my baggage shipped to Tsuzu by sea. Back home, I helped my family with farming.

My husband died in the States in 1947. I remarried Norio Kawamura from  Miyajima-cho, Saeki-gun. He died in 1973. The pain on my back was getting worse while I was tending my husband in the hospital. I entered the Shohaen, a convalescent facility, in Beppu City. In one year and half, I got well. I was released and returned to Miyajima. But my condition reversed again in twenty days, and I was admitted in the Hiroshima A-bomb Hospital.

Before and after entering the Home

The treatments in the hospital worked and my condition became stable. After leaving the hospital, I entered the A-bomb Nursing Home, being recommended by the welfare office because my house in Miyajima, town-owned, had been demolished. I am really glad that I came here, since I am alone, frail and have no confidence in my health. We should never wage war again. The agony we tasted should never be given to anybody. I pray that peace we now have will last long.

Written by Mine Kawamura (79)

The place of my A-bomb exposure
Inside the hall of Hiroshima Army Clothing Depot in Deshio-cho. 3 km from the hypocenter.
Acute symptoms in those days
Losing hair, bruises on the right back, stab wounds by fragments of glass, gashes on the head
The dead of my family

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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