18. Jisei is Gone Because of Secondary Radiation

  Everything happened just the moment I saw a flash. At the entrance of my house I found my husband, who had just got home from night shift work, standing mindlessly with blood over his face. I rushed into the room for the first aid box. But I found the emergency backpack was blown to the next room and buried under the fallen drawers and with tatami mats over all of them.

  Probably I was stunned. When my husband said, “Where are the kids?”, I recovered. Then we heard a cry for help from next door. It sounded like the next-door wife, who had been in bed with morning sickness. I went out into the street to get someone to help. However, I only saw people, people and more people walking wordlessly. Recalling sometime later those who I had seen, I remembered them with their skin dangling and their faces unrecognizable. When I returned back empty handed, my husband was managing to pull out the wife from debris. Then we went to the house a few houses away from ours and dug out our child, who had been playing together at the front door there. Toshio, the boy playing with our child, was also rescued, but his intestines were exposed. His parents took him on a sliding door board to the air-raid shelter in Nigitsu Park. (Later I heard he had died in less than a week after the A-bombing.)

  I saw a toppled train car which had been approaching Tokiwa Bridge. A man with an armband was crying out, “The tank may explode anytime. Run to the mountain.” Hearing that, I frantically grabbed my child's hand and fled for Mt. Ushita with another child on my back. The child, who was bleeding severely, wanted water. So I picked up a bucket and carried water in it for him. Two boys, seemingly junior high school students, followed me around for the water I was carrying. They were completely naked and their skin was peeled off all over their bodies. I don't think they could survive, but I feel a little satisfied that I gave them water until they were full. As the glowing fires dyeing the sky red diminished slightly later in the evening, we went back home to find our house burned down leaving nothing but a smolder.

  Our oldest son, Jisei, who was a sixth grader at Hakushima National Elementary School, was waiting for his parents to come for him in the temple named Shomyoji (in Suzuhari-mura, Asa-gun), where he had been evacuated. He was anxious about us. His schoolmates whose families were well were leaving the temple one after another. On the other hand, I heard, some could hear nothing from their families because their families were missing or lost. They cried with anxiety, holding each other. Advised to get Jisei, who must have been very anxious and lonely there, we sent our oldest daughter to bring him home (because both my husband and I were lying in bed with symptoms of dysentery.) It was August 17th when he got back home.

  Jisei, not minding the loss of his house, was running around full of joy about being back home and being with his family again. He enjoyed digging various family belongings from the ruins of our house. Oh, it is really regretful and sad that I didn't know how devastating and awful residual radiation was. Writing this, I am overwhelmed with grief and mortification. We had sent him to the evacuation place so that he could escape any danger. When Jisei got sick, we thought he had caught a cold. However, he passed away on November 17th, saying, “Water please. Water please,” with swollen gums.

  Our innocent child was victimized, exposed to the threat of the A-bomb. Since no pictures of him remained, I just recall his happy face which I saw when visiting him at his evacuation place. I am grateful and happy that the Monument to the A-bombed Teachers and Students of National Elementary Schools is erected with the effort of you, and that I, Jisei's parent, can see it.

Written by Harue Yoshida (Futabanosato, Hiroshima)

Death in the Atomic boming :
Jisei Yoshida (a sixth grader at Hakushima National Elementary School)