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AOKI Shigeru(AOKI Shigeru) 
Gender Male  Age at time of bombing 20 
Recorded on 2012.10.13  Age at time of recording 87 
Location at time of bombing Nagasaki(Direct exposure Distance from the bombing hypocenter:2.2km) 
Location when exposed to the bombing Higashi-kita-go, Nagasaki City [Current Nagasaki City] 
Status at time of bombing Employed worker 
Occupational status at time of bombing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Nagasaki Weapon Factory 
Hall site Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims 
Dubbed in English/
With English subtitles
With English subtitles 

At the age of 20, Mr AOKI Shigeru was exposed to atomic bomb radiation, 2.2 km from the hypocenter, while working at the Sumiyoshi Tunnel Factory of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. At midnight, he loaded many casualties onto rescue trains to take them to the first-aid station in Isahaya City. In future if a war breaks out and atomic weapons are used, mankind would perish. To pass on the stories of the terrors of nuclear arms, he talks about his experience at elementary and junior high schools.
【Life Before the Atomic Bomb】
I was born and raised in Ohmachi-cho, Kishima-gun in Saga Prefecture where the Kishima Coal Mine was. I finished my education at higher elementary school (8th grade) and, on my father's advice, I moved to the city to take a job at the Mori-machi Weapons Factory of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., instead of working in the local coal mine.
It was before the atomic bombing, but the rationing of clothing and such had already been introduced in 1945. But they were short on food in my boarding house, so I gave them all my rations coupons, saying, "Please use them to buy food."
【August 9, 1945】
I knew from the newspaper that a new type of bomb had hit Hiroshima on August 6, but I never expected it to drop on us. I was at work in the Sumiyoshi Tunnel on August 9. The tunnel was 6 meters wide and 2 or 3 meters high. I was putting galvanized iron sheets on the inside of the tunnel as it was leaking here and there. The tunnel was 300 meters long and it ran at a right angle to the hypocenter of the bomb. So enormous pressure hit us from both directions. It wasn't like a wind blowing through, but as though pressure was put on us from both sides. The iron sheets crashed down.  Of course the tunnel had gone completely dark. I crawled out of the tunnel factory.
Outside the tunnel, some ten farm houses were on fire. Not knowing it was an atomic bomb blast, I imagined incendiary bombs had hit the houses individually. I stood dazed and mumbled, "Bombs couldn't have hit them all." Then I saw some girls desperately fleeing from their dormitory. Their hair was standing on end sideways and upwards, not flowing backwards. It's hard to describe, but their hair stretched straight out on end like this, while they struggled to escape the blazing buildings. Two girls from my hometown, Ohmachi-cho in Kishima-gun, lived in the dormitory as Volunteer Corps members. One of them suffered a 10-cm glass cut on the pale skin of her thigh. She ran to me, her wound gaping. I asked a middle-aged woman to treat her wound and left my first-aid kit with her. 
Just then, an acquaintance from the Ohashi Factory ran to me, covered in ashes. "The main factory has collapsed. Go to the rescue right now," he said. He then leaned his back on the fence and fell down. "The factory is a total disaster," he said, gasping for air. "Let's go help." We took the back road to the Ohashi Factory. And the first people we met were students in the 1st or 2nd year of junior high school. Their shirts weren't badly torn but were inky-black as if covered with ashes. We saw them running and tumbling toward us in silence. Their heads looked very odd - burned and scorched red below here, but still dark on top, as though they were wearing black bowls on their heads. The lower heads were strangely burned, and it made me wonder how they could look that way.
At 200 or 300 meters from the main factory, a dozen women stood, holding their arms out in front of them like this. They were wobbling, trying in vain, to move. With faces swollen up and puffy eyelids hanging loose, they peeped through their eyelids and gently motioned for someone to help. Between their gestures, we heard them moan, "Ahh..it's cold. Ohh..so cold."
Our duty was to help the main factory. When we arrived, we met the manager of the factory, a Navy Technical First Lieutenant. He was pale and unsteady, but he still definitely had a military spirit. He sat up ramrod straight in a chair and commanded sternly, "Send this number of staff to Factory One, this number to the Assembly Factory." "Don't mind the dead. Bring out the survivors to the road facing the factory." We carried the survivors on stretchers to the road. The paved center was flanked by green turf. We lined up the injured on the grass.
【In the Dead of Night to Isahaya】
The Navy soldiers ordered that everyone still hiding in the tunnel factory be brought up the hill. I don't know how many people I took up the hill. Those who could move crawled up the hill themselves. When night came, we were ordered to carry down all the injured to the bottom of the hill as the rescue train was going to stop in front of the tunnel factory. On top of the tunnel, the injured seemed to know we were there to carry them downhill. Voices called in the darkness, "Here I am. Here I am too."
While moving the injured to an open space, I heard a woman calling from the dark ground, "Mr. AOKI!" "Who are you?," I asked.  It was Ms. BABA, daughter of our new group leader. She, a member of the Volunteer Corps, and her father worked at the same site.  When we were on day shift, she worked at night.
The rescue train came but we had difficulty lifting the injured onto its floor. Normally there's not much difference between the levels of the platform and the train floor, but there was no platform. The rescue train departed at 1 or 2 at night. It usually takes less than half an hour to Isahaya, but when we arrived, the sun was up.  It was 8 or 9.a.m. At the station, members of National Defense Women's Association were waiting with wooden boards. They carried everyone to a hall-like place and placed them on straw mats.
Right next to a young lady I brought in, I saw a child, maybe a fifth grader at elementary school.  His head had cracked open and I could see his brain. His brother, beside him, looked like a first or second grader at junior high school. The wounded boy was howling things like, "I want my Mommy now. I want my Daddy here." Some people complained, "Shut up. I can't sleep." But he kept begging for his father and mother. Soon I fell asleep. When I woke up, the child was dead. The girl I had accompanied there said "It hurts everywhere. Please help me sit up." Softly I lifted her up and as I shook her plain dress, pieces of glass fell out. I shuddered to find that the young girl had been lying on a pile of broken glass.
【To the Countryside with a Girl from my Hometown】
I slept there overnight, and then, returned to the factory. The girl with a cut on her thigh told me, "Ms. AZUMA is charred black and dead in her room." We went there and found her charred upper body, but her lower body was gone. The girl was sure the room belonged to Ms. AZUMA, and so, we decided it was her, and had the remains cremated. We brought the ashes to Ms. AZUMA's parents. We told them it was their daughter. Ms. AZUMA's family started crying. They wept in a way that made us want to disappear.
They told my companion, the girl with the cut thigh, "You were lucky. So lucky." At first, it sounded comforting. But it gradually began to sound spiteful.  I felt that it was, and probably so did the girl. "Let's leave. Let's leave," the girl repeated, and we left Ms. AZUMA's home. I returned to the factory alone. Then standing in the pile of rubble in the main factory, I heard the Emperor on the radio announcing surrender. "By enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable," I heard the rasping sound and thought, "Ah, we have lost."
【Health Condition】
In those days, we would go outside to wash our faces and brush our teeth in a basin of water. Our morning ritual was to say, "Good morning. Are you OK here?," pointing at our hair. The greeting was our way of making sure we weren't losing our hair. When I washed my face, the water in the basin looked slightly black. I thought, "I'm so sooty." I washed my face the next day and saw lots of tiny hairs floating in the basin. I strained my eyes.  It was from my eyebrows. My hair was close-cropped so I hadn't noticed hair loss before. Then, the diarrhea started.
I used to be privately grateful that I had stayed in good condition while others suffered burns and wounds. However, I came down with hair loss and diarrhea. Then, my gums started bleeding in late 1945. I returned home for a medical examination and was told, "These symptoms are unusual, but gum bleeding suggests you may have tuberculosis (T.B)."  I took a rest for some time. But I couldn't rest forever. I got a job at a coal mine. In normal times, I would not have done it because I was so weak. I don't know the exact number, but my leukocyte count was extremely low.
I was weary from 'bura-bura disease,' and was frequently absent from work, even though the coal mine had given me a chance to earn some money. I had no savings. But my body was going rigid which kept me from work. I was so stiff that I could hardly move my neck like this. Fatigue came with the rigidity. Then I didn't feel like talking and I became depressed. So I moved here, at first to Funabashi, Chiba, where Atomic Bomb victims invited me to join their new group. Their leader was having a hard time and needed some help. My wife was working to help a bit, so I started helping them.
【Thoughts for Peace】
My local Narashino City was the first city to proclaim a Peace Declaration in Chiba Prefecture. This is its 30th anniversary. I have been requested to tell my Atomic Bombing stories at all the 7 junior high schools in Narashino City, as well as at the 4 elementary schools.  I also talk to various other groups on request. At first, during my talks when I remembered how we cremated Ms. BABA and the girl from the countryside, and when I told people about the body with no legs, my eyes filled with tears and I had to rush to a washroom to wash my face before I could continue talking. At first, I didn't feel like giving Atomic Bomb testimonies. But somehow, I learned to talk without tears. I realized I need to pass on stories that describe the terror of nuclear arms.
Nuclear weapons kill even those who survive the initial blast and keep tormenting the survivors. I suffered from permanent damage, even though I was inside a tunnel during the Atomic Bombing. The hydrogen bomb tested at Bikini had a thousand times the destructive power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs. The Soviet Union produced a hydrogen bomb 3600 or 3800 times more powerful. That means Japan could be almost totally annihilated by a few blasts. Wishing that nuclear weapons did not exist, I'm continuing my peace efforts.
The most important thing is that we don't use nuclear arms. Using nuclear weapons is always a risk if we wage wars. So, we must stay away from war. If nuclear arms are used, mankind will perish. If Russia and America fight each other with all their might, the Earth will not survive. Hoping to stop this happening, I will continue my testimonies as my small way to help.
Translator: Hatsuki Okada
Supervising Editor: Craig Smith
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.
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