IidaKunihiko Letters from Hibakusha | Testimonies Hiroshima Nagasaki

Letters from Hibakusha

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Kunihiko Iida (Toyama)

Regardless of our enormous efforts 69 years after the A-bombing, I am very disappointed that the facts of the A-bombing have not been conveyed to the world. I understand that it may be difficult for people to accept exactly what happened near the hypocenter because of the unimaginable tragedy. However, handing down only superficial facts of the A-bombing is not enough to eliminate the idea that the A-bomb had to be dropped for the end of war. Some people turned to be skeletons instantly in the area closest to the hypocenter, without the chance to pray to the gods or Buddha. For some people around that area, their skin peeled off instantly when the A-bomb exploded, and it hang down from their bodies, only to have them die. No one could bury them or have funerals for them. People had no choice but to pile up and burn a huge number of the dead bodies. Those experiences have to be conveyed even though people are unwilling to listen to.

We have to realize that we are incapable to make proper judgments during war. If we have nuclear weapons, we might use them. Our ancestors made a lot of wrong decisions during war.

I was exposed to the A-bomb at my mother's house in Kakomachi, 900 meters from the hypocenter. I was blown away by the blast and buried alive. My grandfather dug me out. I was carried on the back of one of the Army Marine Regiment Headquarters (Akatsuki Corps) soldiers and sent away to Miyajima Island with my family. Then we evacuated to Yamagata County. My mother and sister lost their hair, their skin turned to purple from their lips to all over their bodies, they had fever, diarrhea, and bleeding noses. Then they died one after another. I had the same symptoms, too. When my grandfather asked the undertakers about the funerals for my mother and sister, they said that my funeral should be ready at the same time. I didn't have any appetite, but after I had udon (thick white noodles), somehow I managed to walk.

I was a living corpse when I was a little child. I tended not to go to elementary school. I stayed at home inside closed storm shutters, lying on my bed. I was bothered with nightmares, in which I was blown away by the blast or ran away naked. Around the second year of junior high school, I was getting better physically. However, there was not a single day when there was nothing wrong with my health. I wasn't scared of getting leukemia. I was most scared that I was going to go mad. Even now, sometimes I cry, Help me! unconsciously and suddenly, which means nothing. I want nobody ever to have such a horrifying A-bomb experience.

(This is the letter sent us in 2014.)