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Hibakusha: Testimonials of Hiroshima and Nagaski

Keiko Hiromi | Japan

Hiroshi Hosakawa was 17 years old, working for Hiroshima Communication Department. He was at his desk on 4th floor of the office, 1.3 Km away from ground zero. He was the youngest, so his desk was away from the window, behind a pillar. "The pillar prevented me from being burned by the heat wave, but pieces of shuttered window pierced my entire body. In Japan, we often describe atomic bomb as “ PIKA (lighting) DON (blast of explosion)”. I remembered PIKA, but I don't recall DON, as my hearing was temporarily gone at that time. I was bloody, but I could walk. I took stairs down with my injured colleagues and came out of the building. The building had beautiful stone entrance steps. I remembered the steps were covered with blood and bloody handprints. ..” Hiroshi is photographed at the old entrance step of his office building. Steps are preserved as a peace monument.

A series of portraits and testimonials from atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Please view full testimonials of the survivors on Hibakusha on my website. www.keikohiromi.com

On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 the world first atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped in downtown Hiroshima, Japan. It was said to be a beautiful clear blue-sky day. Little Boy exploded about 600 meters above ground, and created diameter of approx. 280 meters light spheres whose center reached 1000000 Celsius. Ground around ground zero reached approx. 3000-4000 C within a moment. The population of Hiroshima at that time was approx. 350000. By the end of the year, 140000 had died.

On August 9 1945, at 11:02. The Atomic bomb called “Fat boy” was dropped at Uragami district in Nagasaki, Japan. It was three days after the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The population of Nagasaki at that time was approximately 240000. By the end of December of the same year, 73844 had died.

The White House announced on May 10 Tuesday that President Obama would visit Hiroshima for the first time as U.S. President since 1945

I visited Hiroshima and Nagaskai last year to meet and listened to the survivors of Atomic bombs. Hiroshi Hosokawa of Hiroshima who was 17 years old in 1945 told me "I think the Atomic bombs were not only dropped onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but mankind. ....Everything that had existed here disappeared on August 6, 1945. As long as I live, I will continue to have my voice alive."

In Hiroshima at Peace Park, there is a “Children’s peace monument” It is modeled after Sadako Sasaki who died of leukemia 10 years after the Hiroshima Atomic bomb. Sadako was 2 years old when the Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. I met a woman, Kazuko Yamane, who survived the atomic bomb. Kazuko was also 2 years old. Kazuko and Sadako were from the same neighborhood, 1.5 km away from ground zero, houses away from each other. Kazuko lost her older brother (5 years old) during the bomb explosion. Kazuko and Sadako both survived the explosion. Kazuko's family headed to North East of Hiroshima, as Sadako’s family headed to North West, where she encountered black rain. Sadako was diagnosed of Leukemia in February of 1955, and died in October 25th of the same year. The death of Sadako shocked community of students in Hiroshima, many shared the same experience as her. A group of her classmates petitioned to build a memorial of Sadako, the status of Children’s peace monument was built and dedicated at Hiroshima Peace Park in 1958.
At the foundation of the statue, it reads:

“This is our cry
This is our prayer
For building peace in the world.”

Please view full testimonials of the survivors on Hibakusha on my website. www.keikohiromi.com




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