A First-Person Account

Excerpts from The Song of Hiroshima

“On the morning of the unforgettable day, I was working at the office of the Hiroshima Central Broadcasting Station, which was located within one kilometer of the center where the atom bomb fell….

“It was the sixth of August, 1945…….at two o’clock in that morning an air raid warning was announced. Two or three planes were flying over Hiroshima District, but about 6 o’clock [the warning] was released, though the enemy’s planes were still near Hiroshima. This was a misunderstanding of the officers in charge of the base…..(Because of) the release, the citizens who had run away out of the city the previous night, and who had been in the air raid shelters, came home, and were taking breakfast or preparing to go to offices or factories…”

“…when the clock pointed to nearly 8:15am, the first atom bomb in history fell on the land of Hiroshima. The center of it was somewhere near the Aigi bridge, almost at the center of the city. Luckily for me, as the telephone from the Military base rang loudly, I dashed into the air defense communications room….and when I had finished filling up the news blank and handed it to the announcer in charge, I heard a great sound, with the screaming of men for help…..”

“ I walked on the sands. Sometimes I jumped on them. Fire in every part of the city lasted the rest of the day. Glaring heat and smoke covered the whole sky and land. I heard the sounds of cracking of the falling houses caused by fire. Tall trees were burning and breaking up in the sky, sparking like electric currents. I saw the hill beyond the city smoking.”

“ I stood on the high place of the bank and looked around. Fire after fire. Crush after crush. Hiroshima, our dear city, is burning!......All gone….No more Hiroshima. Fire in the East and in the West. And from every direction. It’s very hot…..houses falling, tramcars and motorcars burning! West of where I stood I saw cruel flares of fire current pushing out from the windows of the tall concrete Chukogu Press Building and the giant Fukuya Department Store. The cross of the longer tower of the Methodist Church where I used to go on Sundays was smoking. Only the concrete buildings kept their shape or structure, though the furniture and other things indoors were burned ashes.”

“The fourth memorial of the unforgettable day--when the first Atom bomb in the pages of history fell on the soil and streets of our dear Hiroshima, where the seven rivers with crystal water are still flowing….is coming in a few months. Now it is Spring. The cherry blossoms as before are blooming on the banks, where our beloved ones used to stroll. The larks are still singing in the sky; and from the frozen soil, the greens are peeping out again.” -----May 1949