2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs-Hiroshima
August 6, 2001

Murata Tadahiko

Testimony of a Hibakusha

I was at Hijiyama-hommachi when the atomic bomb was dropped. It was 1.8 kilometers from ground zero. I was 5 years and 6 months old then.

It was a hot summer day with no clouds in the sky. I had just finished breakfast and was playing outside. Suddenly, it went all black, because I had been blown nearly 3 meters by the blast off from the hot and glaring road into a nearby house. I was very scared and was weeping when a man who heard me came into the house and pulled me out by the hand.

I rushed to my house but I could not find it where it had stood.

I do not know how long I had stayed there before my elder sister Setsuko, 3rd grader in public school, came back. Setsukofs hair stood on end and the left side of her body was severely burnt from the face to the leg. The skin peeling off from her left shoulder was barely hanging down from her fingers. Setsuko and I tried hard to remove the rubble, but little as we were, we made no progress in our work.

Fire was coming near our house. A neighbor on her way to flee the approaching fire took us with her, holding tight our hands in hers. gOur sister is still under the rubble, please rescue her,h I cried. But the fire was threatening and the lady forced us to flee with her. If we had stayed there, both of us would certainly have been caught in the fire and burnt to death. We owe her our lives, but even today I cannot forget the moment when we left behind our sister who from under the rubble of our house was crying gHelp me! Help me!h

When the bomb fell, our other sister Sadako, a first year student of the First Prefectural Womenfs High School, was demolishing houses to make fire lanes at Dobashi-machi, on the opposite bank across the river where the Peace Park is now. The bomb exploded just above her head and she was badly burnt without knowing what was happening. Nobody came to rescue her and she turned into ashes with nearly 300 other students and teachers on the spot.

On the next day, Setsuko and I went to the Yokoyamasf house. I cannot forget the hell-like scene we saw when we were crossing the city from south to north.

At the beginning, we saw many people sitting on the ground without knowing what to do. As we went further, we heard voices groaning for water or calling gMother.h Some were lying on the ground, still alive or dead, others were lying over water tanks for fire-extinguishing. It was hell.

In June this year, Ms. Kazuko Kagawa, a dedicated adviser at the consultation office for the Hibakusha, died of acute myelogenous leukemia after fighting against the disease for 10 months. She was only 58. The atomic bomb took her life when she had the best part of her life before her.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki does not belong to the past. It continues.

We must make our planet free from nuclear damage in the 21st century.
We must hand on to our children and grand-children a beautiful planet where they can live safely.

To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs