Memories of nuclear bomb survivors - Foreword

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb


Dear readers,
As you have chosen to read this article, l presume you already have some knowledge of the atomic bombs which were detonated over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
You have doubtlessly heard about the tremendously destructive power of these bombs and their effects on human beings. But can you really imagine the true extent of the cruelty and pain suffered by the victims of these bombs?
Can you really imagine the situation of begging for water with your mouth gagged by a lump of your own burned flesh? Or crawling around on charred hands and feet, seeking help after being blinded? Perhaps you are not even a soldier prepared to die for your country, but just a child who has absolutely no idea why he has been chosen to suffer such cruelty.
Of course it was a war - a so-called totalitarian war, in which the boundary between the military and civilian population had gradually become blurred, as was the case in many mega wars of the past.
The atomic bombs dropped on to the cities of Hiroshima(6/8/1945) and Nagasaki (9/8/1945) were intended to put an end to the fighting after three and a half years of war. And their mission did not fail. On 15th August, 1945, Japan finally accepted unconditional capitulation. The effectiveness of these bombs as weapons of mass destruction was confirmed to their inventors, who had wasted no thoughts on the suffering and the after-effects on their victims.
Last year while in Japan, l discovered in a small secondhand bookshop in Tokyo, quite by chance, a booklet entitled: ”Memoirs of students of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki - legacy of a time-“ (Editor: Koseisha, 1999). I read the book on my flight home and since then, the scenes described therein have continually occupied my mind.
The booklet, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, contains 15 memoirs of Japanese women who had willingly agreed to publish their experiences during and after the atomic bomb explosion. These women had been 17 years old at the time, and had been about to enroll at the Nagasaki Prefectural Women’s College.

The second atomic bomb, a plutonium-239 implosion-type bomb, was dropped and detonated over the historic port city of Nagasaki, situated on the island of Kyushu in the south-west of the Japanese archipelago. The bomb had the force of 21,000 tons of conventional TNT (trinitrotoluene) bombs and was dropped by a specially adapted B29 bomber of the US Army.
This monstrous amount of energy exploded at a height of 550 metres above the Urakami district of Nagasaki. This area has been inhabited by Christians since the 16th century. According to a report published in late December, 1945, about 73,000 people were killed in the explosion or immediately after it, and 74,000 were wounded. (These figures are based on the information provided by Michiko Nakano, the compiler/editor of the above-mentioned book, pages 56-60).
After returning home, l re-told the horrifying accounts from the book to friends. Later l thought it would be more effective to translate them into different languages so that they could reach people all over the world. Friends were of great assistance in this task. Two of the accounts were then translated into three languages: English, Spanish and German. My sincere thanks go to my friends and acquaintances, Clive, Gabi, Susan, Veronika, Vesna, Wolfgang, Yoko and Regina & Rolf-Juergen. One of them said: “This text should be given to all schoolchildren, so that they can learn about the true horrors of a nuclear explosion.”
I am now publishing two stories in the net, in memory of those women, who, as students 70 years ago, went through hell and died. Those who survived and are still alive today continue to hope that the sacrifice of those premature deaths will help to secure a war-free world. After reading these accounts, I would like to ask you to translate them into your own languages and to tell them to younger generations. We must work together to achieve the completion of the Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) by all nations.
Even if we are unable to eliminate war from the brain of human beings, we should at least try to control it with our human reason, to prevent the entire human race being extinguished from the earth in the future – an earth with its varied and wonderful cultures.
Kimi AntiNukes

PS: The translation of the two original Japanese texts was done with the permission of Mr. Shuichi Fujimaki, the editor of the booklet, "Memoirs of the students about the atomic bomb in Nagasaki - legacy of a time - "(Koseisha, Tokyo, 1999)