Sad memories of my mother -Taneko Nakano

We lived in Okamachi, Nagasaki Prefecture. It is only 500 meters from the epicenter of the blast. After the blast nothing remained and the surrounding area became ruins.

On that day (August 9th 1995) I was on still on duty from the previous day at the Sakuramachi Municipal Office. A friend asked me to go to the bank with her. It was when I was there the blast came. I was saved because I was in a steel and concrete building. Had I taken the tram and gone straight home, I would have surely been burnt to death.

At first, an air raid siren sounded, then about five minutes after the primary alert there was a flash, instantly followed by complete darkness. We could see nothing at and I wondered where I was but kept lying face down. Later it grew lighter and went to a nearby dugout wondering if it were some new kind of bomb. As it became completely light we left the dugout.

Outside all the people we met were injured and bleeding from broken glass injuries or burns. They were walking about looking for help. Fortunately I had no injuries. I wanted to return home as soon as possible. On my way back I saw many people lying around, dead and alive, even in the ditches. Also there were horses and cows, everything! The injured seemed to thing that the people passing by were soldiers. One of them grabbed my foot crying, “Help me Soldier, please, Soldier.” They were also desperately crying out for water. A person walking the other way had nothing on. They were black and charred from head to toe. At the Ohashi bridge people gathered to get water. They were all badly injured It was a terrible tragedy to see them.

Somehow I reached home and looked everywhere for my parents and sister. I searched until I could search no more and was totally at a loss. I never did find out what became of them. There were many people lost underneath collapsed houses, buildings, tiles and stones that day.

In trying to look for them I found a lot of people who had gathered and died at the entrance to a dugout. Their eyeballs had come out and their teeth protruded. Thinking back now it was such a terrible sight that under normal circumstances I would have not been unable to go near them.

However at that time I thoughtlessly stepped over them into the dugout to look for my Mother.

I found her dead and sitting far in the back. She looked grotesque with her arm and legs together and her clothes melting and drooping like seaweed.


The picture left illustrates the melting effect that Mrs. Nakano talks of.


My brother had survived as he had been in the dockyard. We were the only two that survived in our family. After we cremated the body of our mother on a tatami mat we left and went to our Aunts house in Saga Prefecture and stayed there for about half a year.

At twenty years of age my memory should have been at it’s best. However the blast left me absent minded. For about a year after I had difficulty in understanding what people said to me. The smallest thing worried me like hair coming out or loose bowels. I was afraid that I mat have the symptoms of radiation sickness. Later I married and when I became pregnant I worried that my child would be born deformed. In fifty years I have been unable to tell anyone that I was an A-Bomb victim. I have met no-one who I went to school with and have never met the friend who I went to the Bank with since that day. I would have liked to meet her again but have given up. I hope she is fine and well.

The A-Bomb was a abominable experience. I never ever want my grandchildren to encounter such a tragedy.

After the interview: The testimony of Mrs. Nakano convinced us that there our destiny is set before us. If she had not been asked by her friend to go to the bank with her, she would not have survived. She cried as she talked of her Mother. She had an experience that was so sad and tragic and well beyond the imagination of younger generations.

December 19th 1994 - Interviewers Yoshiko Kobayashi, Yahata-higashiku. Naomi Hashimoto, Yahata-nishiku (Kitakyushu City)


Pale blue flames - Sakae Kimoto

I moved from Hakozaki Fukuoka to Nagasaki to work for Mitsubishi Shipbuilding. At that time I had a wife and four children but had left them back in Hakozaki.

On that day I had moved to the dormitory in Maruyama from Kibachi. It was a beautiful day and I was taking a rest with colleagues in the rest area when the blast occurred. We hurriedly jumped into the dugout in Ishihara. We ventured out at 5 pm in the evening to find the whole city of Nagasaki on fire. Having no lodgings to return to we spent a sleepless night outside at the foot of Mt. Maruyama as the air-raid sirens continued all night long. The next morning I set of home. On my way it was like travelling through a sea of flames. I was walking on and over bodies. Not only humans but the bodies of animals, horses, cows and chicken were everywhere. The mountains were burned the strangest brown colour I had ever seen. The most fearful scene was a pile of iron at the back of the Urakami Cathedral. The iron was burning like a pile of wood, with a blue flame rising high into the sky.

Ten days later I returned to Nagasaki to collect my belongings and city was still burning. The area where the A-Bomb monument stands today used to be ricefields. One of the people who I worked with at the dockyard had lived there. Before I die I would like to visit him.

After the interview: Mr. Kimoto grows senile with little memories but tells of the A-Bomb in vivid detail. The tragedy of that day had made enough impression to stay vivid in his mind.

October 27th 1994 Interviewers Shigeko Tanabe and Kazue Matsumoto of Dazaifu and Sachiko Kato of Chikushino.

The remains of Nagasaki Cathedral