My name is Tomataki Amuro. Fortunately, I’m one of the few survivors after the most terrible weapon, the Atomic Bomb, had dropped on the city of Hiroshima. It was a horrible piece of memory. I wish I have not been born at that time. It was a nightmare for the people in Hiroshima. The Bomb affected the whole generation of people. It even affected our next generation. Thousands of babies were born handicapped or died after a few months after their births. Because their mothers absorbed too much radiation during their pregnancies. Where were those radiation came from? They came from the Atomic Bomb. I found out in my later studies that the A- Bomb was a bomb full of Uranium- 235 atoms. When the reaction begin, a Uranium- 235 atom is hit by a neutron and the Uranium – 235 splits and it gives out many neutron and these neutron will bombard other Uranium-235 atoms and a chain reaction occur. While the Uranium-235 atoms are splitting, huge amount of energy are released, and these energy are as powerful as 20 thousands tonnes of TNT. That was why this one Atomic Bomb could destroy the whole city of Hiroshima. It wiped out the entire city and killed about 80,000 people immediately and much more people were died in later years by the Radiation Sickness. And it was the most powerful weapon in the world, its power was outside the imagination of mankind. And it was targeted on Hiroshima, the city I lived in 1945.
I was fourteen years old in 1945. I was a student. I was studying in a high school named Mesahiki High School in Hiroshima, which was only a few streets away from my house. The only thing that I could remember about school is, I love Chemistry. I have a sister, Namie Amuro, and a younger brother, Samaska. We were study in the same school. My father was a Manager of a factory. The factory was a public sector, they produced the war equipment for the army. My mother was a school teacher, she worked in the same school as I used to go, she taught Japanese. My father was against the war, quite a few times he tried to resign his job, but it got rejected by the owner of the factory. Because my father was very experienced and there was no other suitable worker could replace his place. So he stayed in there but my Mum just kept moaning at him about his job.
The war began in 1937. Our Government was dominated by the Military Party. The Army declared war against China. The invasion of China was successful. All the media, newspapers and radio, were reporting how well the army did in China. At once, I was supporting the war. But all the nasty things the soldiers did in China were skipped by the reporters, which I found out during work in China. All the civilians knew nothing about it. At that time, we were so proud of our nation and army, and believed that our Emperor made a good decision. The Prime Minister became the most popular man in Japan. Even the invasion in the Southeast Asia was successful too.
These successes made the Prime Minister and the Army extremely confident. And these successes made them felt they could crush America too, such like the other countries in Asia. The attack of ‘Pearl Harbour’, the American naval base in Pacific. This attack brought our nation into a nightmare. Our main Army was stuck in main land China. The army which was involved in the invasion in the Southeast Asia was the 2nd Class army. We lost all our processions which we gained earlier in the war to America. We began to blame the government that why we have to be in war. The Peace Party gained a lot of supports from the public. When the US bombers bombed our cities, we were already suffering starvation. Communications were broken down and we had nothing to do. Shops and Schools were shut down. For my personal point of view, actually most of people’s view, we were desperately wanted to end the war immediately. The only reason that the war was still on was because we were afraid the Emperor will be killed and humiliated by the foreigners. And this was also why the Prime Minister ignored the ultimatum by the US President. My sister and I had nothing to do but stayed at home. The US bombers kept bombing. Hiroshima actually had not been bombed that badly, unlike in other major cities, Tokyo for instance. These cities were bombed by them all the time, everything had destroyed. There was no resistance against the US while our Air Force was virtually destroyed during the ‘Battle of Midway’. The Americans seemed to want to bomb our capital back into the ‘Stone Age’. My family’s lives were not that bad during the war because my Dad had a reasonable job and income. But many of my friends’ lives were very hard and bad. Surprisingly, the population of the city increased during the war, many of them were refugees came from other cities.
The Date was the 6th August 1945. That was a very warm and nice day. The sky was clear, sunny and balmy. That was a brilliant day, I remember I said to myself . That morning I went out with my Dad to queue for clean water , the time was about eight o’clock. I was wondering how come there wasn’t a raiding today, may be the American want to have a rest on a wonderful day like this, I said to myself. Then suddenly, I heard a noise of aeroplanes. I looked at my Dad, and his facial expression told me that the American Bombers were coming, the B-29 Bombers. My first reaction was looking for a place to hide. But my Dad stopped me because the planes did not bomb us immediately but were flying in the sky in circular motion. Everyone around me were staring at those planes. I could not hear a sound but the noises from the planes’ engines. The atmosphere was strange, it was so scary when everyone’s faces were so serious.
I should not write this account, it makes me remember all the horrible things that happened to us. But I must continue, our next generations should know this incident, to remind ourselves that we must stay out from war in the future. While we were standing and staring at the American bombers, the gate of one of the planes opened. And a large ‘thing’ was dropped. I uses the word ‘large’ to describe it because the planes were about 30,000 feet above the ground, but we still saw an object was released. I did not move, I was shocked and I was too frighten. Then that massive bomb landed within a minute.
Suddenly, a strong flash of light startled me, and then another. I cold not see anything. When I was able to open my eyes, all the houses and creatures were blew down into pieces. I looked up to the sky, a streamer of smoke, perhaps fifty yards high, rising from the centre of Hiroshima, about 2 miles distant. At the top of the column of smoke was a ball of fire which seemed to me to be about the size of a large oil tank. I was convinced at once that something unusual must had occurred. Here and there reinforced concrete buildings remained upright, but their interiors were smashed and gutted. Then surprisingly that I discovered I was completely naked. All of my body were cuts and blood. A large splinter was protruding from a mangled wound in my thigh. And something war trickled into my mouth. My cheek was torn. I found out that as I felt it gingerly, with the lower lip laid wide open.
I discovered that the patterns of my Kimono were burnt into my skin. The skin on my back was completely burnt and peeled off and was hanging from my hips. Then I looked for my Dad. He as lying on the ground. His clothes were tattered and his skin was badly burnt, skin was hanging from his body. I could see his bones in his leg. I used all my strength to bring him up. Then I saw my Dad’s face. His eyes ‘were bloodshot. The blood was oozing down from the corners of the eyes along both sides of his nose. Then I took my mirror out from my bag and saw I had two small cuts on my eyebrow. My father remained unconscious. So I carried him on my back.
I was heading to the Misasa River. Many of the survivors were walking towards the river as well. I was too thirsty and it was the same direction to go to my house. I was so worrying about my Mum, sister and brother. Along the way to the river. I could smell the smell of burning wood everywhere. And I could smell something strange which I’ve never smelled before. All the buildings and houses were blew down. Everything was completely destroyed, broken pieces were all over the places, dead bodies were lying around, the wounded were sitting along the road without help. The city was so quiet, it has never been happened before. People were crying and dying. Why was that? What had happened? The beauty of the city was wiped out by this explosion. There was nothing left. It seemed to me that I was walking along the road to hell!Then I heard a woman’s voice said, “Help me, please!”. So I ran towards her with other people immediately. She was covered with a huge concrete block. But we couldn’t move the block off her no matter how we tried. We left her at last by saying “Forgive us!”. I prayed for her and then also left. I felt so sorry for her that I could not help her.
A last we arrived to the Misasa River. By the time I was exhausted. Then I saw about 10 or 15 dead bodies floating along the river. Their skins were peeled off their bodies. The people who arrived earlier were sitting into the river, all their clothes were gone, I could see clearly the patterns of their clothes on their skins, all of them were badly burnt. After I had a bit of water and poured some into my Dad’s mouth, I continued my way to my house. It took me about 15 minutes to reach the river and another 20 minutes to my house. When I got to my house, actually around my house because all the houses were knocked down into pieces. I tried to look for my family, it was very difficult. Finally I found a girl who was kneeled next to two dead bodies and cried. I ran to her, and she was my sister Namie, and the two bodies were my Mum and my brother Samaska. Their clothes were ripped off, skins were burnt and skin were hanging off their backs. My Mum’s face was larger than usual, her lips were badly swollen, and her eyes remained closed. The skin of both of her hands were hanging loose as if they were rubber gloves. The upper of her body was badly burned. But surprisingly, my sister Namie was fine. She had no burnt, no cut and her clothes were still there. Namie told me that she was in the basement when the bomb exploded, so she was not affected.
We left out mother and brother’s bodies in the house. And we decided to go to the Mitaki Hospital because my father and I was injured. The hospital was full of people, three of us laid down on the floor, the condition was extremely bad. The doctor could do nothing because of lack of supplies and they did not know the causes of these sickness, they had not got the techniques and skills. My Dad was seriously burnt and did not get any proper treatment, so he passes away on the 9th August. A few question came through my mind that, “How come the war is still carried on after this powerful Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima? Does our Emperor care about us, his people? Although the communication was bad, but he should hear something about us now! The war must be called off by now, we could not face this weapon on the battlefield.” Later I found out that the Emperor did not announce surrender straight away until the second Atomic Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on 7th August. I have lost all my loyalty to my Emperor. I was only slightly injured and I was fully recovered by late September. My sister and I was sent to Tokyo. Because the city of Hiroshima was highly radiated which was dangerous for us, especially children., so many children were sent to other cities. On the 15th August, our Emperor announced Japan was surrendered. The war was finally ended. And the Atomic Bomb became history.
I continued my study in the capital and live there. I was frequently heard the news that many people were died due to the sickness of radiation.The subject I was studying was Chemistry. I wanted to know something more about the Atomic Bomb which changed my whole life and my home, Hiroshima.