国立広島・長崎原爆死没者追悼平和祈念館 平和情報ネットワーク GLOBAL NETWORK JapaneaseEnglish
HOME Read memoirs of atomic bomb survivors View testimonial videos of survivors Listen to narrated accounts of the atomic bombing Radiation Q&A

HOME / Search video testimonials / Select a video testimonial / View testimonial videos of survivors

Gender Male  Age at time of bombing 17 
Recorded on 2005.11.29  Age at time of recording 78 
Location at time of bombing Hiroshima(Direct exposure Distance from the bombing hypocenter:2.5km) 
Location when exposed to the bombing Hiroshima High School(Minami-machi 3-chome, Hiroshima City [Current Midori 1-chome, Minami-ku, Hiroshima City]) 
Status at time of bombing High school or university student 
Occupational status at time of bombing Hiroshima High School 
Hall site Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims 
Dubbed in English/
With English subtitles
With English subtitles 

NAGAHARA Makoto. He was a 17 year old student at the Hiroshima High School at the time. The light he saw when  names were being called consisted of various colors. Outside from the main gate he saw that there were numerous lines of those injured. Both of his parents were exposed to the bomb: his father passed away on that day, and his mother passed away one month later.

On the south side of the 2-story wooden school building were grounds where 17 students of the faculty of literature were gathering. The 17 students were standing in line, side by side, while Prof. Yomokuro Nakahara of the History of the Western World was callling out the names. I was standing straight as our names were called one by one. I was facing the opposite direction from the hypocenter, which was 2.5 kilometers northwest. I could see the sky beyond the other school building standing on the grounds in front of me. All these things were suddenly lit up with strange colors. That was the beginning of all the tragedy. When I say strange colors, they were either and neither yellow, orange, red, green and blue. These colors dyed everything in front of me in a second. It was the heat of the atomic bomb. Fortunately because the wooden building was standing in the back of me it worked as a shield, and  I did not directly get burned. Because everything in front of me so suddenly changed its color, I instinctively stepped backward. When I took three or four steps back, I heard this shearing noise of something like cutting metals with saws. What I thought was noise coming towards my place was the shock wave. With that throwing me off balance, I tried to drop to the ground as I was being  pushed down by the wave. I fell on the lawn and I remained in this position for a while.

Soon I heard the shattering noise of two-story school building that stood behind us collapsing. This tremendous noise lasted for a while. With the last clack of something like a piece of roof dropping, it became totally quiet. I did not know what happened. I could see nothing but one blade of grass in front of me--perhaps 10 centimeters from me, burning into ashes. Nothing happened after that. When I looked up a couple of minutes later, the range of my view widened to as far as 4, 5 meters in diameter. Those wiser than I ran away to the big bomb shelter constructed in the other side. I tried to follow them into the shelter. I stayed there for five or ten minutes while nothing happened.

When we all came out, the sky was deep blue and we didn't know what happened. When I looked around, there were rows of houses that stood across the ground to the south of the school in the direction of Minami-machi. They all tilted about 15 degrees. At first we all thought a couple of big bombs were dropped nearby, and we looked for holes in the ground. But we did not see any. Then someone said, "Look at that!" pointing to the sky. When we looked up, a mushroom cloud has just started to expand in the northern sky. I think it was five or ten minutes after the bomb was dropped. The cumulonimbuscloud was expanding and rapidly balooning. In the cloud, some strange colors, something reddish, bluish or greenish, flashed. As if those colors were dissolved, various colors, such as pink, flashed here and there across the cloud. It was such an strange cloud that I watched it, totally staggered. There was nothing we could do; however, we were told not to go out, that it was our mission to defend the school. We remained on the campus until about noon.

rows of injured
Then I went to where the main gate was. There was the Hiroshima Army Mutual Relief Hospital in Ujina-Machi, far south of the school. Hundreds, or thousands of people were walking to the Army hospital, passing by the front gate of our school. They were either naked or had tattered clothes. Their bodies were gray and covered with dirt. They walked with their arms like this--it hurt to hang their arms down because of the burns, with their melted skin hanging. One thing I remember clearly is that they were either elderly, women or children. The other thing I remember is that it was very quiet. There people never cried or shouted. They just kept walking or tottering to the army hospital, silently. Watching these people, I felt ourselves fortunate because we had our clothes on, undamaged. My friend and I talked to each other, saying, "What happned to them?"

At about noon, we were told that those who had their parents' house in Hiroshima City could go home. The city had likely been wiped out. So I decided to go home, started to walk and reached the Miyuki Bridge to cross. The northern railing of the bridge had fallen southward and the southern railing had fallen into the river. I think they were dead but there were several bodies in the river floating and motionless.

When I crossed the Miyuki Bridge, I was told by a military policeman not to enter the city beyond that point. He said, I would not be able to enter any way since there was a big fire in the city. Not knowing what to do, I returned to the bridge and looked northward from there. What the policeman said was true and I saw a big fire.

I wanted to try another way, but another bridge to the Hiroshima Station through Matoba-cho, which was a railroad bridge, was also no good because the crossties were burned off. So I went to the Enko Bridge. The Matoba-cho area was totally burned to ashes. When I looked down the river as I walked across the Enko Bridge, I saw bodies floating and flowing one by one or in bunches of three or four. Many of them were naked, with their bellies blown up like a balloon. The scens of the bodies flowing in the river made one of the bigget impressions in me.

I approached Hiroshima Station; however, it was impossible to enter. So I went around to the Eastern Drill Ground. Because of possible air raids, an evacuation center was assigned to each citizen, and for the residents of Teppo-cho, it was the elementary school in Midorii. It was just when I passed the Nigitsu Shrine on the way to the evacuation center. There was a river and when I went to the river bank I found my mother across the water. My mother had been alone at home when the bomb was dropped. The house collapsed when she took one step outside and was cleaning just outside the kitchen. Because she fell into a triangular spot covered by walls, she did not suffer injuries, she was even without a scratch.

My father was on the way to his school with a student from Malaysia from the dormitory for the exchange students from Southeast Asia. He was directly exposed to the bomb on the street and apparently was seriously injured after he was blown over by the shock wave of the bomb. Because of the fierce fire on the Meiji Bridge, he was found dead, burned black. Both of his legs and armes were charred from the joints and it was difficult to recover the remains. His face was also black and we were unable to tell the expression. He was recovered when people from the school started to look for those affiliated with the school when the fire was contained after one or two days. I was impressed that they found my father, even though he was all black, with an unidentifieable face. They tried to identify those they found by turning the bodies so that they faced up. The body had only a belt buckle, which they thought might belong to my father. We identified that it belonged to my father. So we learned that he passed away on the day of the bombing.

As to the whereabout of my younger brother, when I returned to my parents' house for the first time on Aug. 8, everything was burnt down. However, there was a message on a wooden board, apparently written by charcoal, saying that "Yutaka is all right and going to Shiwa-hori-mura in Kamo-gun." So that was where my mother went, too, the next day with the ashes of my father.

I learned of the whereabout of my brother from the message, but I did not know what happened to my younger sister. But because I heard that female students who were mobilised to remove buildings were sent to Ninoshima island, I headed for Ujina, in Hiroshima, just across the sea from the island. There I found the list of the names of patients and others sent to the Ninoshima on sheets of paper, about 200 meters long. I found in the list the name of my sister--NAGAHARA Nobuko. I got on the boat operated by the Army and found my sister in the accomodation facilities there. Poor thing, all of her front side was burnt. I stayed there for about one hour and went to see to the military doctor. Because of the severe burns she suffered, it would be better if you could bring your mother, he said. I stayed there for about one hour and left, saying that I would bring our mother. But it would be the last time I saw her. Although her surface skin was removed and burned black, I still remember that her eyes were clear.

I went to Shiwa-hori-mura the next day to pick up my mother and we went to Ujina together. Perhaps because too many hibakusha were taken to Ninoshima, it had apparently become full. We found a message, saying that, "crossing the sea to Ninoshima is prohibited. All the patients in Ninoshima have been transferred to areas along Hiroshima Bay." We went to talk to people in the Army, who just said, "It is just as written. You cannot go to Ninoshima." Trusting what was said, we went to the nearby towns along the Hiroshima Bay, including Tenno, near Kure and Otake-cho. There were numerous makeshift shelters, which were originally either temples or elementary schools, to accommodate hibakusha.

My sister was in Ninoshima after all. When I went there for the first time, there was another girl--a first grader of another girls' school--laying next to my sister, with her mother attending her. It was fortunate that I left the address of our house in Ushita-machi to the mother just in case. She was kind enough to trust someone going to Hiroshima with a message on a paper--a torn chopstick paper case--to bring to us. It said, "your girl passed away on the 17th. She was strong and fought with all the pains." It also said, she seemed to be longing for her mother to come. I wished we had gone to Ninoshima. I thought she was there. A part of her hair also arrived with the message. Years later we finally placed the hair in the family grave instead of ahses. This is what happened to my sister.

If I could add a story, my mother was very disappointed by the death of her daughter. Then we moved from Ushita. The new house we moved into was that of our relative's, which survived the atomic bombing because it was located to the east of Hijiyama Hill, but without a roof, which was blown up by the bomb. So rain came in. The relatives allowed us to live there, but my mother was so depressed by then, especially with the loss of Nobuko, whom she was unable to see for the last time. On Sept. 1, my mother, who survived the bomb without scratch, developed a high fever. It was acute leukemia. She fell unconscious and without saying a word, passed away on Sept. 4.

A message from Mr. Nagahara
We really need to abolish atomic bombs and other nuclear weapons. We know we have to; however, once human beings have the knowledge to develop the weapons, they want to use it either for good or for bad. All the nuclear weapons of mass destruction for military use should be abolished by international agreements. At the same time, an international organization should be established to control the knowledge of nuclear developments. It may not be possible while I am alive. But I hope it should be a challenge that the generation of our grandchildren will achieve when they grow up. People should never resort to war to solve problems. After all, what caused the atomic bombing was the war Japan started. We should never accept the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as legitimate means to bring surrender; however, it happened as the result of a war Japan started. As we cannot coexist with atomic bombs, we cannot coexist with war. I want people of younger generations to think about the fact that it has become clear that war cannot solve any problems. Atomic Bombing

Translator: Atsuko Shigesawa
Supervising Editor: Robert Jacobs
Translation coordination: NET-GTAS(Network of Translators for the Globalization of the Testimonies of Atomic Bomb Survivors) "

*Many more memoirs can be viewed at both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Memorial Halls.
*These contents are updated periodically.
△Top of page
Copyright(c) Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
Copyright(c) Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of photographs or articles on this website is strictly prohibited.