My life has added up - Hatsuko Makisaka
At that time I was nineteen and a student of Kasui Girls School. I lived a lonely boarders life in Nishiyama. My mother and sister lived in Korea and my father in Shanghai, China.
Soon after the war ended my mother and sister returned from Korea. It was November 1945. Though we were starving all the time I was so happy we were together again. Compared with the loneliness the food shortage mattered little.
My father came back to Japan in 1947 and we moved to his hometown, Awaji Island. However he had to work and live in Osaka to support us. It was not until 1948 until we could be together at last.
I was married the next year. I have never in fifty years been free of radiation disease. People in the blast get osteoporosis at an early age. Today I still fight and suffer the pain in my knees. Every August 15th I cook dango soup to remember those days. It was popular when food was scarce.
After the interview: Mrs. Makisaka is a energetic speaker. Had she been born later she would be a career woman of today. If only there was no war, things would be so different. After many hard , tough years she lives a peaceful life growing vegetables. She said, After experiencing hell we understand the importance of self sufficiency. We should suppy our own needs. It is a great pity she has trouble with her knees. It is 50 years since the end of the war. Meeting Mrs. Makisaka made us feel sad to know that people have been suffering since then.
September 30th 1994 Interviewer - Tsuyako Tateishi of Nakagawa-machi, Fukuoka City
My blooming youth was discoloured by the war - Kazuko Watayama
At that time I was working at the Mitsubishi Foundry as a mobilised student worker. Before that I had worked digging dugouts day after day. I was fourteen when the blast occurred. I had not gone to foundry that day, as I had swollen tonsils. I was placed in charge of the form and stayed at school. It was a beautiful day that day. I was supposed to go and see the doctor at the era, nose and throat hospital On Naka street. My mother said that it was going to be a hot day and that I should go early. By not feeling like going I was still at home. Rice was scattered in the garden. Also Father was a seaman and squid he got were hanging to dry to preserve them as rations. My younger brother was out with friends. Our neighbour was outside heating water for a bath and my mother was talking to her. They saw and aeroplane and smoke in the sky. They were saying, That can’t be an enemy plane because there was no air-raid siren.
My father and four year old sister were moved to Katsuyama elementary school for treatment and my mother went with them. I was supposed to look after my one year old sister and brother. There was a tremendous amount of smoke and ashes coming from Inasayama. A lot of people came over the mountain with awful blisters on their backs that burst and bled. Some of our neighbours had gone shopping to Abura-machi were never found they must have been in a tram.
Other neighbours had a daughter who had been working in a factory in Urakami. Her face had been so badly burned she was unrecognisable. At that time it was said that the vermilion ink used for stamps was good for burns. She put ink on her face and was somehow saved, but her family died soon after from the radiation. I seemed that the radiation effect was worse for those who had got wet with the black rain.
We moved out to Ikanoura where my mother had an acquaintance. It took us five hours to get there. We were strafed several times on out way there. Every time we were attacked we hid in a ditch. When I was there I had radiation sickness. I had diarrhoea and was shocked to find all my hair fall out.
Above all the worst experience was the shortage of food. Sometimes nowadays public excitement runs high over he shortage of rice. But I never worry about it, as at that time there was a real shortage. Potato leaves were too soft to boil we were happy to get a potato shoot.
Where did the bloom of my youth go? I never had one. It was discoloured by the war.
We later moved to my fathers hometown in Amakusa and lived there for many years. After that I worked at a department store. Now I live a quite life with my family but have always been frightened about the after-effects of radiation.
After the interview - In spite of her horrible experience Mrs. Watayama is a cheerful woman. She openly told us of her experiences of being in the blast. She seems to be a busy woman but has anxieties about her health. Many of her friends have died and she has headaches and pains in her legs. She is concerned that this is the after-effects of radiation disease or signs of cancer. One thing that impressed me was that she said the A-Bomb victims association has given her the opportunity to make friends with many people. She says that their association with each other is as intimate as one with ones family which helps her overcome a lot of difficulties.
I respected her positive way of thinking. In her a saw a new blade of grass growing from the burnt field made barren by the atomic explosion. I want to applaud her for her soul and power of life. I wish her health and happiness for many years to come.
September 30th 1994 Interviewer - Emiko Inoue of Nakagawa-machi Fukuoka City