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MORITA Takashi(MORITA Takashi) 
Gender Male  Age at time of bombing 21 
Recorded on 2014.11.6  Age at time of recording 90 
Location at time of bombing Hiroshima(Direct exposure Distance from the bombing hypocenter:1.5km) 
Location when exposed to the bombing Yokogawa-cho 1-chome, Hiroshima City [Current Nishi-ku, Hiroshima City] 
Status at time of bombing Armed Forces member or military personnel 
Occupational status at time of bombing Chugoku Military Police Headquarters 
Hall site Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims 
Dubbed in English/
With English subtitles
With English subtitles 

Takashi MORITA. Then, 21. Exposed approximately 1.5 km from the hypocenter in Yokogawa 1 chome. He saw a flash like a magnesium burn, then was hurled through the air by the blast. Dying children near him said, "Soldier, take revenge for us." At the time, he was determined to get revenge. But after seeing more of the tragedy, he understood that revenge would be wrong. He became a peace activist. As long as he lives, he will preach the sanctity of peace.
【Going to Hiroshima as a Military Policeman】
I joined the Hamamatsu Air Force on November 1, 1944. I was a mechanic. Air raids were continuous. The Hamamatsu Air Force was burned out, just devastated. With the air field bombed, the soldiers had no food. Everyone was hungry. Entire units were in the hospital. That was Japan in those days. I entered school to be a military policeman (MP) on February 1, 1945. Even in Tokyo, which had suffered some terrible air raids, the MPs were eating three meals a day, though it was just hard barley. We always had either fish or meat. That's how different it was for police versus soldiers.  I was keenly aware of the military contradiction.
My application to MP school was accepted, and I wanted to visit my hometown before I went in. So I went home, to Hiroshima. From Tokyo to Hiroshima, all the train stations had been destroyed by air raids. And yet, when I got to Hiroshima I found it just as I had left it in November--untouched by bombs. That was truly a weird feeling. Why was Hiroshima, the "military city" still not bombed and burned?
【The Atomic Bombing】
We were in a building called Kodokan, which was in Nekoya-cho. Our room was on the third floor. I left at 8 am. I took the streetcar from Dobashi to Yokogawa and got off in front of a temple called Betsuin. My whole unit gathered there, and we started marching in lines. We crossed Yokogawa Bridge, turned to the left, marched a bit more, and it was 8:15. A tremendous flash. They called the bomb pikadon or flash-boom, but I didn’t hear any boom. I just saw an incredible flash, like a huge magnesium burn right in front of my eyes. Then, I was lifted by the tremendous blast. The blast hit me from behind, which is what saved me. Of course, I lost my cap and watch. I was hurled about ten meters. When I got up and looked around, I saw the buildings in ruins. My first thought was that the armory in Kosho-machi had blown up. I didn’t think it was a bombing.
However, I got up and, peering through the darkness, it didn’t seem to be the armory. In any case, five or six of us decided to head for our original destination. Just below a cliff to the left were some private homes. An elderly woman was calling us. “Hey, soldier!” “What’s the matter?” “My daughter and grandson are buried under this house. Please save them.” We went to work and got them out. Just as she was thanking us, the house burst into flame. If we had been a minute slower, the woman and her child would have burned to death. That was the one thing I felt good about that day. After that, we headed for the mountain. There we found soldiers, but they were all injured and unable to do anything. “We don’t know what happened to Hiroshima. Someone go find out.” At those words, although I was burned, I said, “I’ll go.” Clutching my military sword, I climbed down from the mountain in Koi-machi and headed into the city. It was a little after 10 am.
【Black Rain and the Victims】
Plop, plop - rain started falling, huge drops, and I was surprised to see it was black. Flames were rising all around. Some injured victims were saying, “The Americans are spraying oil and are going to burn us all.” I didn’t believe that. The rain wasn’t oil. But it sure was black. And I was covered in it. An old man came up to me and, again, I was shocked. He was naked and wobbling. He was the first ghostlike hibakusha I saw. He staggered over and fell at my feet. By the time I said, “Hey,” he was dead. He remains in the back of my mind and won’t leave. He was naked, with skin peeling off his whole body. His face was bright red. He looked so unnatural. When I saw him, I was shocked, but he was the first person in tattered shreds I had ever seen. Some children were in a circle. “Water, please.” “Mommy!” They were all around us saying these things. “Soldier, get’em back for this.” I heard children say this as they died. I said, “Don’t worry. We’ll get those Americans!” To be honest, at that time my heart was full of revenge. But later, after seeing more than a hundred thousand people lying dead, I came to feel that revenge was absolutely out of the question. It would be wrong.
【American POW】
On Sunday August 5, I went to the Western Drill Ground of Chugoku Military Police Headquarters. A week earlier, two B-24s had been shot down, and the crew was being held in jail. I saw those Americans on the fifth. When I went into the Western Drill Ground on the sixth, I saw six of them lying dead in a row. Only one survived. Half-naked, his hands tied behind him around a burned willow, his body was rocking front to back. He was burned and badly injured. An MP had come from Kure with some rice balls. He said, “Have one.” But I couldn’t eat. The MP with the food had investigated a swath from Kure into the center of Hiroshima. The first thing he said to me was, “This was no ordinary bomb. It was an atomic bomb.”
【Rescuing Korean Prince I U】
There was nothing we could do in the burned out Western Drill Ground, so my  unit decided to go back and join the MP riot squad in Nekoya-cho. I went with them and got as far as Aioi Bridge. At Aioi Bridge, a junior high student called out to me saying, “Soldier, Staff Officer Tsunemitsu is right over there.” Staff Officer Tsunemitsu was called Tsunemitsu at Second General Army Headquarters, but he was actually a Korean prince named I U. One duty of the military police was to help the royal family, so this was a job that had to be done. Believing it was my duty to help him, I crossed to the west end of the Aioi Bridge.
Prince I U was lying at the foot of the bridge. He had been riding a horse to get to Army Headquarters in Hiroshima from his rooms in Maeda Villa, Takasu. Having been injured by the atomic bomb, he was lying at the foot of the bridge.  I climbed down to the bottom of the bridge. I called to a boat that was headed downstream. I made all the injured people get out of that boat and onto the bridge footings. I felt bad for them. I put them all on land and put the Prince and his escorts, Lieutenant Colonel Yoshinari and  Lance Corporal Kaneko, into the boat. I got in with the other MPs, but it was exactly high tide and the motorless boat refused to move.
We just sat bobbing under the bridge. The Akatsuki Corps was stationed in Ujina. They were the Army shipping regiment. They sent two motorized landing craft to rescue the victims. We stopped one of them under the bridge. We got the Prince and his escorts onto that boat, turned it around and headed down the river. Thousands of injured people lined both sides of the river, and our large boat went by carrying five or six. Near the prefectural government office, we saw hundreds, maybe thousands of injured students. I will never forget the sailors who were caring for them calling out, trying to stop our boat. “Hey, bring that boat over here. Are you just abandoning all these injured?” They yelled at us. I felt terrible. We had to ignore them and sail on by.
If we had taken on some of those injured, we might have saved a life, but we couldn’t. On both banks, whole families were standing up to their waists in the water. As they saw our boat going down the river, they waved and begged for help. It was truly hell. "Prince I U got to Ujina. I left him there. "Prince I U was wrapped in bandages. Later, the soldiers of the Akatsuki Corps took Prince I U to Ninoshima Island off the coast of Hiroshima. He received one night of treatment, but died the next day. And when the Prince died, his escort, Lieutenant Colonel Yoshinari, killed himself.
【At the Army Hospital when the war ends】
At eight that night, I returned to the Kodokan in Nekoya-cho. Burned hibakusha filled it to overflowing. Hibakusha from all over were cramming in. My own room was so full I couldn't get in. I took care of them most of the night, getting only a little sleep toward dawn. The next day, to fulfill my duty as an MP, I transported the hibakusha to a relief station and went back to work. I was burned, but I was only 21, so I was able to do that. But the next day, I was down. I couldn’t move. “Morita, you need to be in a hospital.” And with that, I was sent to the relief station. I went to the Elementary School at Ono-mura, Saeki-gun, which was a temporary field hospital taking in soldiers who had been in Hiroshima. I went to the hospital three days after August 6, on the 9th, but maggots were already all over my burns. Outrageous masses of maggots were eating flesh, so many people died soon after arriving at the hospital. I filled three dustpans with maggots off my burns. That was the situation. So many badly injured people.
Soldiers in apparently good condition were soaking up the sun in the schoolyard when a doctor came along. A soldier said, “Hey, we’re losing our hair, but...” The doctor said, “The flash burned the follicles. They’ll recover.” He had no idea about radiation. After a while, the soldiers got purple spots on their faces. They started bleeding from their gums. They got radiation symptoms. They got injections of Ringer's solution, but by that time, it was too late. Soon they had blood in their stools. They started vomiting blood, then they got cold and died. As they died, the masses of maggots started abandoning the burns, leaving in droves from their cold bodies. It was truly a sight from hell. I’m not talking about one or two. All the soldiers in the hospital died that way. That was the situation, truly hell.
On August 15, they said we would hear an important radio broadcast. I was in the hospital. I listened to it with some soldiers who were there. “Bear the unbearable, endure the unendurable.” I heard the Emperor’s voice and knew the war had ended. I was a soldier, so I had an indescribable feeling. Classes resumed in that Elementary School in Ono-mura. The hospital closed, and the hibakusha were all ordered to move to the nearby Army Hospital. I was doing well so I took that opportunity. I left the hospital and went home to Yuki-cho. The hibakusha who were left went to the Army Hostpial in Ono-mura. Not long after that, the whole hospital was washed away by the Makurazaki typhoon. All the hibakusha in the hospital as well as the university professors who were there studying the patients--they all died. In February the next year, I went to Hiroshima and opened a watch store in Funairi-kawaguchi-cho.
【To Brazil】
About ten years after the bombing, I contracted leukemia. My white blood cells increased. I got hot and trembled hard, as if I had malaria. My wife and children had to prop me up in my futon, and this continued for two years. It was all so strange, but that was the situation. Eleven years after the bombing, an old man who had just returned from Brazil came to my shop and invited me to Brazil. That man said, “Sao Paulo is 800 meters above sea level, with an excellent climate.” “We have no flies, no fleas, and no thieves.” He made it sound like paradise. At that time, I didn’t feel like going. I just listened and let it go, but a year after he went back to Brazil, the situation in Japan changed. I was unable to make a living selling clocks and watches. With the new battery watches, repair was unnecessary.
A-bomb disease was becoming an issue. Someone said, “Brazil would be good for hibakusha like you and your wife.” So my attitude changed. My parents and all my relatives tried to stop us, but I was determined to go to Brazil. We departed on a ship that left Kobe on February 2. I opened a small Morita Clock Shop in Japan Town, but no one came except Brazilians. I couldn’t understand the language and couldn’t keep it going. I closed the shop. To learn the language, I got a job in a clock shop run by a Jewish Brazilian. I learned the language and was able to earn a living. My wife worked hard doing piece work at home. I was a Japanese and he knew I was honest, so I had all the keys to the shop. I was pretty much the manager there and stayed until 1984. My children graduated from college and got married.
【The Association of A-bomb Victims】
There were many hibakusha in Brazil, but we got no help at all from Japan, nothing. We started talking about getting some relief. I talked to my wife and children, then got some help from a newspaper company. “All hibakusha. Please go to Morita’s house. Let’s make an association.” At that, 27 people gathered for the first meeting. I became chairman and my wife became secretary of the new organization. We incorporated an association in 1984, and with our articles of incorporation in hand, I used my own money to go to Japan. My first visit in 19 years. I used the money my wife had diligently scraped together. I went to the Ministry of Health, but they took a cold stance. “You abandoned your country and went to Brazil. Japan can’t do anything for you. Ask Brazil.” That was the attitude toward emigrants.
At the Foreign Ministry, I found someone who had been at the consulate in Sao Paulo. Meanwhile, Japanese doctors were going to North America every two years to examine hibakusha. I knew that, so I pointed out that there were also hibakusha in South America and asked for doctors to come to us as well. The next year, doctors did actually come. The project was sponsored by the Foreign Ministry, the Health Ministry, Hiroshima Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture, and it continues to this day.
When my wife and I first talked to our attorney, Masae Shiina, in Tokyo, she said, “The government will never just agree to help hibakusha living overseas.” “We have to take this to court. There’s no other way.” She said this confidently. I had no desire to sue the national government, so I just left it alone. But soon I learned she was right. In the end, we had to sue the government. I told the hibakusha that we had to go to court, but I ran into a lot of opposition. “Morita-san, please don’t take it to court. Even though we’re in Brazil, we’re still Japanese." “Even though we’re hibakusha, we’re still Japanese, so don’t sue our country.” But by then I knew there was no other way. Eventually, we did indeed take the matter to court. And as a result, we were able to receive hibakusha health benefits.
【Overcoming Hatred】
I saw the hell of August 6 with my own eyes. Those students, as they lay dying, said, “Soldier, get’em back.” At the time, I was determined to get revenge, but my attitude changed even before the day was done. In the streetcars, in the rivers, all over Hiroshima, I saw the people dead and dying, and I knew there could be no revenge. I felt already that we had to make sure no such thing ever happened again. That feeling later led to my peace activities.
Now, in Brazil, we members of the Association of A-bomb Victims are working for peace. We don’t speak good Portuguese, but we use the local language to tell young Brazilian students about our experience of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and the sanctity of peace. The world must never again create hibakusha. Nagasaki must remain the last place destroyed by a nuclear weapon. I believe that, as long as I have breath to speak, it is my duty to appeal for peace. With the life that remains to me, I promise to do everything in my power for peace.
Translation by Steve Leeper
Supervised by Miwako Sawada
Coordinated by NET-GTAS(Network of Translators for the Globalization of the Testimonies of Atomic Bomb Survivors)

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