Tokuso Hamai

Lost lives never come back

6. Dish Clock

My uncle who had raised me passed away in September, 1998.  I felt completely lonely by his death, because I lost all my blood-related people.  When I went to the city center, I used to drop by the Merciful Goddess of Peace (Nakajima-honmachi Townspeople Monument.)  After my uncle died, I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.  There was a notebook for visitors at the exit, and I wrote about the dish clock which my uncle brought from our house the day after the A-bombing.  After I wiped soot and dust away, it became beautiful, the same as it used to be.  I put it on the wall for a while after the A-bombing, where it reminded me of my happy childhood.  But it was also painful to remember those days, so, I put it in the closet.  It remained there even after I left my uncle’s house. 

This German-made dish clock was originally on the wall between the two mirrors at my father’s shop.  It was my duty to wind it up before I went to school.  During the war, the municipal office said that since there was a half day time difference between Japan and the U.S.A., we had to fight for 24 hours.  They gave us the paper  with the numbers 13-24 written on it, and I cut the paper and glued those pieces of paper above numbers 1-12.  The glue was made from boiled rice.

Several days after I wrote about the clock in the notebook at the Museum, I got a phone call from the staff.  They asked me to show them the clock.  I took the clock, along with some melted stones which I had picked up in Nakajima-honmachi and donated them to the Museum.  At that time, I heard that they had ten clocks, all stopped at 8:15.  Now, there are 70 clocks.  Later in 2001, the clock was displayed during the exhibition “Reviving Memories of History: The Town at the Hypocenter Vanished Instantly,” which was held in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

From July 28, 1991, the local Chugoku Shimbun newspaper published an 8-part series, “Memories of Nakajima-honmachi.” Part 4 was about me, “Uncle Helps Boy Follow in His Father’s Footsteps as a Barber.”  As I didn’t want to talk about those hard-time stories, I had never talked about the A-bombing.  However, another article about me, “This Person,” was published in 2018 and there was a big response.  There were some people who wanted me to talk about my experience of A-bombing, and at the same time, some people pressured me to say nothing.  Despite their pressure, I started talking about my experience in 2003.