Memories of nuclear bomb survivors - Part 2 Chapter 2

9th August, 1945


I had planned to move to the students’ residence in the afternoon of 9th August. After saying goodbye to my friends, with whom l had been working in the arsenal of the Navy in Kawatana over the last few months due to the student mobilization, l arrived in Nagasaki in the afternoon of 7th August, alone. After arriving at Nagasaki, l walked from the station to the house of the Taniguchi family, situated in the Inasa-machi district. Mr Taniguchi was a good friend of my father’s and the family had been good enough to let me stay with them until l was able to move into the students’ residence. Before l reached their home, the air raid warning sounded. I hid in a pit, terrified at the thought of what would happen if l died there, a stranger to the area. Praying, l waited until the droning of the bombers faded away, and then continued my way to the Taniguchi’s house.
The family consisted of five people – Mr and Mrs Taniguchi, the mother of either Mr or Mrs Taniguchi, a boy of primary school age and a daughter of about my age. After my arrival there, there were so many air raid warnings that we didn’t have a chance to talk to each other at leisure. So today l cannot remember their names or faces exactly.

At about 8 o’clock on the morning of 9th August, there was again an air raid warning. I sought refuge in a shelter dug out near the Inasayama hilltop, which was intended for the residents of the Inasamachi district. The “all clear” was sounded about 10 o’clock and everyone returned home relieved.
While waiting for lunch, l sat reading on the veranda of the Taniguchi’s home. Their young son was playing nearby. With the midday sun being too hot, l walked alone to the Taniguchi family’s shelter, dug under the garden. It was about 3.3 square metres, under a mound of earth. I removed my shoes and started sorting out the things l intended taking to the students’ residence.
After a while, the boy called, “It’s buzzing! A Japanese aeroplane!” l also wanted to see the plane and looked for my shoes, but couldn’t find them at first because it was so gloomy in the shelter. At last l found them and was putting them on when suddenly there was a blinding flash at the entrance of the shelter. I felt as if my eyes had been hollowed out. Then there was an explosion and the shelter was filled at once with thick clouds of dust caused by the pressure of the blast. Just as l was trying to breathe deeply, the shelter collapsed and l was buried alive under the mass of soil.