Memories of nuclear bomb survivors - Part 1 Chapter 1

Told by Mrs. Chizue Fukutomi; recorded by Mrs. Michiko Nakano in 1996/7

About narrator

Chizue Fukutomi worked in the Teishintai organization after finishing the Girls' High School in March. This organization drafted unmarried girls who were staying at home after finishing school and forced them to work, mainly in factories, during the war years. Chizue walked every day half an hour from her parents' house in the Shiroyama‐machi district to the Oohashi, Mitsubishi group, weapons’ factory located 1300 meters from the center of the atomic bombsite.

I met her in the spring of 1996, more than half a century after the war. She had a photo in her hand. "This one shows a piece of broken glass, it was surgically removed from my body two years ago in November 1994. The doctor gave it to me as a souvenir. He said this piece of glass was, so to speak, a part of my body as it had lived for 49 years within me.”
It was about 3 mm thick and had the shape of a triangle, about 4 cm at the baseline and 1 cm in the height.

“I don’t know how and when this fragment penetrated my body - it stuck in the flesh of my right thigh. I usually had no pain from it and sometimes I even forgot that I was carrying a foreign object within me. Only if, for example, my body was pressed in a crowd or bumped by chance, did I scream in excruciating pain. Even today I sometimes unconsciously take a defensive posture when I’m in a moving crowd.

Every now and then, when my old wound hurts or itches, I mutter to myself: ”So, you want to remind me of that again and again”, she said with a smile on her serene face.

"But so many people had to die such a cruel death ... when I think of the people who were simply left in that hell, left alone without any help; I regret that I am still alive. I can still hear their voices, pleading for help. Such a cruel thing should not happen to anyone of us. Even today I can’t understand why such a terrible thing had to happen to us,"
Meanwhile, her smile had disappeared from her face. "Did the people, who decided to drop the atomic bombs, know what a horrible result it would lead to?"