Memories of nuclear bomb survivors - Part 1 Chapter 10

Return to life


Chizue lost all her hair and was nothing but skin and bones; however, she was able to leave the hospital in late September. The doctor warned her, "Do not forget to take the vitamin tablets! In case of relapse, I can guarantee nothing."
After returning home, she often experienced bouts of anaemia and was very scared that she would fall back into her previous terrible state. At such times, she found no peace and began to tidy up her personal belongings.
Her mother always watched and protected Chizue. Even in the toilet, Chizue knew that her mother would stand outside. When she went alone for a walk, she discovered her mother standing at a distance. “My mother was watching me, supposedly out of fear that I would commit suicide”. Chizue said.

From Nagasaki, they brought 200 irradiated patients to Kashima. However, the doctor told Chizue’s mother that only two of them survived.

Many fortunate circumstances played a part in Chizues survival. Not only had she been removed relatively early from the contaminated place, she also received the correct treatment such as blood transfusions and adequate medication. Also her youth, the strong constitution of her heart and stomach, a good diet of fresh fish and vegetables and the self-sacrificing care of her mother were instrumental in Chizue’s survival.

After a year, the family returned to Nagasaki city and lived in the district of Kosuge in Higashiyama. Chizue almost never left the house. She heard that the area of Urakami was now in ruins and she did not want to see that place again. She always felt unwell and was still bald. A jeep came from the ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, the predecessor of today's RERF, Radiation Effects Research Foundation) and took her for an examination but she did not get any treatment.

Chizues attitude towards marriage was restrained. In those days, there was talk of a 50% miscarriage rate among the contaminated women. However, she met a sympathetic man who was willing to lead a childless marriage with her. However, she envied women with children and grandchildren and felt somehow guilty towards her husband.

She says; "Today, 50 years after having been irradiated by the atomic bomb, my memories are not anymore so fresh. I was very lucky and survived. However, when I think of those people who could not marry or who had to divorce due to this blow of fate, or those who had to die in that hell, I can hardly control my feelings. Over the past 50 years, I have almost never spoken about my personal experience of the nuclear bomb. However, my desire to pass this on to the public is now very strong. That unspeakable misery should never happen to anyone anymore!"

With these words, Chizue finished her long narration.

(Translated from the German by K.Powils-Okano)