published on 4/16/1998, translated by SEIUN HIGH SCHOOL (10/19/2005)

I was twenty-four at the time. I belonged to the management department in the defense section at Nagasaki City Hall and was engaged in projects to protect people from airraids. That morning started with an airalert. Thinking, “Oh, no, not again,” I equipped myself for the task and hurried to City Hall.

The airalert was lifted in less than an hour. I was going back to my usual tasks when we received an official order to pile sandbags near the windows on the second floor. I carried the sandbags from the first floor to the second with my colleagues again and again. While standing having my sandbag filled near the main entrance, I thought to myself, “It’s lunch time in an hour.” Then I heard the roar of an engine.

When I looked up into the sky to the northwest, I noticed a B-29 flying in the clouds, a sight which was familiar to us. I wondered why the B-29 was flying even though the airalert had been lifted. Then suddenly the airplane released something like a goldfish excreting dung and a parachute opened in the sky. Instantly, I recalled the rumor about the new-type bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which I had heard at work before.

I ran like a rabbit through the front door and dove under the table. There was a bright flash and after a little while a deep thud, which I felt in the pit of my stomach. Then I could hear something rain down continuously like a clattering waterfall. It was rumored that three new type bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima, so thinking that there would probably be two more, I hurried to the air-raid shelter in nearby Tera-machi.

The surroundings were dark because of the clouds of dust. I called at my house in Suwa-machi, only to find that the roof tiles had been blown off, the tatami mats ripped up and everything in the house broken into pieces by the blast. I fled with my grandfather and brother who had been preparing to evacuate my house, but unfortunately I had to have my brother carry me on his back because of a great pain in my leg.

I stayed at the air-raid shelter for a while, but, hearing that the blaze was spreading, I fled desperately for Kazagashira, supporting myself with a walking stick. Fortunately, not only did I have my injured leg treated by a neighbor who I knew, but I was also given some food that day. Nagasaki kept burning all through the night.

The following day I received news of the death of my father, who had been working at the Mitsubishi blueprint factory in Nagasaki. I couldn’t believe it, because I was unaware that the factory had been moved from Hiradogoya-machi to Matsuyama-machi, where the atomic bomb caused the greatest damage. On the 11th, my mother asked my brother and me to go to Matsuyama-machi and find the remains of my father. So we headed for Matsuyama-machi. The entire neighborhood had been destroyed by fire. We walked around and around searching for his remains. Suddenly, my brother shouted, “Hey, look here.” He was pointing at a crushed blueprint machine lying on the ground. We found some human remains scattered around the machine. However, the remains were completely burnt. We couldn’t tell which were my father’s. So we picked up some small pieces of carbonized bone here and there, put them into a pot and took them home. The remains were as light as ash, because they were completely burnt.

SEIUN HIGH SCHOOL (10/19/2005)

荒木正人さん(1998/4/16掲載) 翻訳・青雲高(2005/10/19)