Memoir of the A-Bombing:
"Mission of an atomic bomb witness"
(August 2017)
by Kunihiko Iida
Atomic Bomb Witness for this Foundation

The tragic reality of the damage from the atomic bombing was kept a secret by the military until the end of the war, and then by GHQ after the war. Recently, there is a stronger movement to communicate the reality of the bombing, from the need to link that to the abolition of nuclear weapons. However, even today the true tragedy of what happened is not fully conveyed. Different awareness of the tragedy of the bombing leads to different measures to deal with nuclear weapons and different stances to initiatives for a ban on such weapons. Some people look at the way Hiroshima has recovered and then underestimate the atomic bombing as a result.
 The use of atomic bombs not only cuts off all human life, but all life on the planet. These are evil weapons that destroy the environment and turn the Earth into a planet of death. Some people describe the bombing as a "living hell", but that is a misunderstanding. Originally, "hell" refers, in Buddhist terms, to the lowest level in the endless reincarnation in six posthumous worlds, and the level of wretchedness there is such that if the person repents, they can somehow crawl out of that place. It does not include scenes such as those witnessed in the atomic bombing, where bodies were destroyed, burnt and turned into skeletons instantaneously. Neither Buddhist mandalas or pictures of hell depict the horror seen in the atomic bombing.

The reality of the atomic bombing
 At the hypocenter and the area in close proximity (0 to around 500-600 meters), there was a blast of approximately 400m/sec, and a heat wave of 3,000-4,000 degrees, and as a result tens of thousands of people in this area had their heads split open, their eyeballs coming out, their heads, arms and legs torn apart, and their stomachs falling out-in that state, they were left lying, charred, on top of and under the rubble. (Reference: An Introduction to the Atomic Bomb Tragedy by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum "The Spirit of Hiroshima" [p.67], Collection of Photographs "HIROSHIMA" by the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation [p.33], "The outline of atomic bomb damage in Hiroshima" by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum [p.18-34], etc).
 A little further away (500-600 meters to 1.2km from the hypocenter), people had their clothes burned and skin peeled away, and they walked like a line of ghosts, looking for water, and very soon the riverbanks and rivers were full of their dead bodies.
 There were miscarriages of fetuses that were deformed because of the radiation, and many babies were born with congenital illnesses such as microcephaly. Later, many people died from radiation sickness such as leukemia and cancer, and there are others who suffer after-effects such as bura-bura disease, and even now suffer from the effects of radiation, and die from diseases such as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), also known as "the second leukemia".
 If this tragic reality is not communicated properly, there will be a divergence in opinions about the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have very high expectations of the new exhibits in the main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which is currently being renovated.

My atomic bomb experience
 I experienced the atomic bombing at the home of my mother in Kako Town 900m from the hypocenter. My mother took the hand of my older sister (4 years old), and I (3 years old) was carried by my aunt (Hiroko Yamamoto, a 1st year student at First Hiroshima Prefectural Girls' High School), and we fled to the east end of Sumiyoshi Bridge. The scenes that we saw there: at the end of the bridge, closest to the hypocenter, a huge number of dead bodies were lying in a heap, ruptured and charred; while in the area near Sumiyoshi Bridge countless numbers of people were dying one after the other on the river banks and in the river, their clothes burned and skin peeled away. When my uncle (Dr. Yasuhiro Shinnaka, my mother's younger brother) who was studying physics at Kyoto University at the time, saw this scene, he said "This bomb is an atomic bomb," and it is said that he was the first person to say so.
 After that we reached our relatives' house in Shinjo Village. My mother and older sister had necrosis from the legs down, and they died there. Miraculously, I survived, but I was in poor condition both emotionally and physically, and this was the start of a life of suffering.
The day after bombing City center still smoldering Hondori
(Photo by Mitsugi Kishida, 490m from the hypocenter, Harimaya-cho, August 7,1945)
The path to peace
 As the international situation worsens, there are 15,000 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Moreover, the majority of those weapons are dozens of times powerful than the Hiroshima-type atomic bomb. In addition, nuclear weapons have advanced to the stage where they are now compact and highly-functional, and can be dropped on multiple remote targets at the same time, and it is not certain whether or not they can be intercepted. Nuclear weapons nowadays are weapons of evil that will make more than ten million people suffer with just one. Nuclear weapons have no deterrence capability against nuclear weapons.
 If people develop awareness, like President Obama, of the horror of nuclear weapons, which will destroy the planet itself, it is certain that they would not want to use nuclear weapons ever again. The writer of 'Barefoot Gen', Keiji Nakazawa, said "The real horror of nuclear weapons is too horrific, and cannot be conveyed in comics or novels."
 I only have a little time left in my life, but I believe that communicating the truly inhumane horror of the atomic bomb is the only path to world peace, and to that end I intend to continue with my A-bomb testimony activities in Japan and overseas.
Mr. Iida gives his a-bomb testimony talk

[Kunihiko Iida]

Born in Manchuria in 1942. Father died in the war when he was 2 years old, and mother and older sisters died in the atomic bombing when he was 3. Raised by grandmother, uncle and aunts, graduated from Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima Technical High School.
Employed at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, dispatched to Caterpillar Mitsubishi and rose to the position of branch manager. After retirement, employed as a managing director at Daiichi Rental Co. Ltd.
While working, also studied psychology, and assumed positions of director at the Japan Transactional Analysis Association, consultant at Shinri Sodaninkai (Psychological Consultants Association), and posts as university professor and instructor.
University presidents' awards: Armstrong State University, San Francisco State University (US)
Conciliation commissioner service award: Presiding justice at Toyama Local Family Court

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