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The Scars of War Never Heal 
FUJIE Kyoko(FUJIE Kyoko) 
Gender Female  Age at time of bombing 9 
Year written 2010 
Location at time of bombing Hiroshima(Exposed upon entering city) 
Location when exposed to the bombing  
Status at time of bombing Elementary student 
Occupational status at time of bombing fourth grade at Ujina Elementary School 
Hall site Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims 

●Situation before the A-bombing
At the time I was in fourth grade at Ujina Elementary School. My father, who was 41 years old then, was assigned to the Ship Headquarters, Army Department, where he had been on board a military ship overseas for nearly one year and had only come back home to our house in Ujina-machi (present-day Minami-ku, Hiroshima City) about once every six months. My mother, who was 31 years old at the time, was a midwife so, no matter how dangerous it became in the city, she couldn't evacuate because she had patients to look after. My younger sister, who was one year and five months old, and my 80-year old grandmother (on my father's side) also lived with us. We had also taken in my cousin because my uncle, who was managing a shipyard in Korea, wanted him to study in a Japanese school.

●Memories of the evacuation of schoolchildren
Around April 1945, children in grades three to six at Ujina Elementary School were subjected to school children evacuation. We were separated and sent to Miyoshi-cho, Sakugi-son or Funo-son (present-day Miyoshi City) in the north of the prefecture. I went to Jojun-ji Temple in Miyoshi-cho.

Food at the temple consisted almost completely of soybeans. Meals were only a bit of rice sticking to soybeans and even snacks consisted of soybeans. At one point, a rice ball disappeared from the lunchbox of the junior high school-age son of the temple priest. The teachers brought all of us to sit in the main hall of the temple and demanded: ""Whoever stole the rice ball must confess right now.""

Near the temple was a large bridge named Tomoe Bridge with a shrine next to it. At this shrine there was a large cherry tree that bore cherries. The older kids would climb the tree and pick cherries to eat. I didn't know anything but the older kids called me and told me to stand under the tree facing outwards to stand watch. Just as I was doing so, an old man came yelling at us and caught me. Then he looked up and yelled at the other kids, ""Come down from there!"" and the older kids also came down from the tree. The old man was grasping my hand and I was crying when he asked me where I was from. ""Jojun-ji Temple,"" I said to which he replied, ""OK then,"" and let go of my hand. Then the old man said, ""I am growing onions and other things down below here. If you tread on them then they can't be eaten. You absolutely cannot do that. Stop crying."" That evening, the old man brought us steamed sweet potato and other food to eat. Although scary at first, he was really very kind, I thought. I guess he thought we seemed pitiful having to steal cherries because we were so hungry.

The evacuated schoolchildren would occasionally receive sweets sent by their parents. However, we never had the chance to taste these. My mother sent me hard candy made from soybeans but all of it was confiscated by the teachers. According to what the older kids said, all of it probably ended up in the teachers' stomachs.

There was a terrible lice infestation. We would spread out newspaper and comb them out of our hair. The lice would turn black from sucking blood and we would crush them. We would spread the shirts out we wore to dry in the sun on the temple veranda.

●August 6
Exactly one week before the dropping of the A-bomb, my father had returned from abroad, so I also hurried home to see him. I was supposed to return to the evacuation area on August 5 but I couldn't get a ticket for that day, so I got one for the 6th.

On the morning of August 6, my mother went to Hiroshima Station carrying my younger sister on her back to see me off. There was an old woman from my neighborhood who was going to visit her grandchild who had been evacuated to Miyoshi, so we boarded the train together. We boarded the Geibi Line and sat with our backs to the direction the train was headed towards Miyoshi. As we were about to enter the first tunnel, I saw three parachutes. Then, we just entered the tunnel and suddenly there was the explosion of the bomb.

There was a massive impact and a loud roaring sound echoed in my ears. Since I was sitting down I was fine but all the people standing, even the adults, were tipped over backwards and fell down. I couldn't hear well, as if my ears had been blocked with stone.

Coming out of the tunnel, the smoke from the A-bomb looked incredibly beautiful. The old woman and I just watched it, saying, ""Oh my, that's amazing."" Since I was only a child, I couldn't begin to imagine what had become of Hiroshima.

When we got to Miyoshi, the old woman told me, ""The radio is saying that Hiroshima is completely destroyed."" However, I still couldn't really understand what was happening, so at noon I went to school to cut the grass. There, for the first time, a truck arrived at the school carrying A-bombing victims from Hiroshima. As these severely burnt people got off from the truck one after another, I was quite shocked. A person who was trying to hold his face skin with the palm of his hand as it was drooping from the cheek; a woman whose breast was completely torn; and a man who was holding a bamboo broom upside-down, using it as a cane as he staggered along; I can still remember that scene vividly today. More than being scared, I was truly astonished.

●The A-bombing experience of my family
Some three days after the A-bombing, I received word at the temple from my family in Hiroshima. Then, on August 12 or 13, I returned to Hiroshima by train with a sixth-grade neighborhood boy named Nobu-chan. I was met by my father at Hiroshima Station and I walked home with him along a road that was alongside Hijiyama Hill. I remember that, while walking, my father told me about how our family was and said that, ""Nothing will ever grow here again for 70 years.""

When we got home, my mother was wrapped head to toe in sheets. She was wrapped in sheets in order to prevent maggots from breeding, because she had suffered burns over her entire body. My younger sister had suffered burns over her entire face and was burnt black. Her hands and feet were also terribly burnt, so she was also wrapped with sheets. As she was very young, she was scared of how my mother looked and cried all the time.

When the A-bomb was dropped, my mother and sister were waiting for a streetcar at Enko Bridge. About one hour earlier, when the air-raid siren had sounded, my mother had loaned her air-raid hood to an old woman from the neighborhood who said she had forgotten hers. For that reason, my mother was completely bathed in the light from the A-bomb. My sister was being carried on my mother's back, so she was burnt on the left foot and hand, and face. My mother took my sister off from her back and dipped my sister in firefighting water several times along the way as they fled to take refuge in the Eastern Drill Ground behind Hiroshima Station.

My grandmother had been at home when the A-bomb detonated. Although the house had not burnt, it was severely damaged.

My father and my cousin spent two full days walking around the city in search of my mother and sister. When they found them, the burns suffered by my mother had made her body swell so much that they couldn't tell whether she was a woman or man. On August 6, my mother had happened to be wearing clothing she had made with material that my father had sent her from abroad. My mother had taken a tiny scrap of clothing that barely escaped being burnt and tied it to my sister's hand as an identifying mark. When my father and my cousin came looking for them, my one-year old sister noticed my cousin and called out to him, ""A-chan!"" Then, when they saw the cloth on her hand they knew they had found both of them. My mother said, ""I'm done for so just take our child and go home,"" but my father put them both on a large two-wheeled cart and brought them home.
●Death of my mother
My mother passed away on August 15. My father used an old tree to make a simple coffin without a lid for the body and we cremated her in a vacant lot behind our house. Everyone used that field to cremate bodies, so all the smell would get into the house and it was quite an unbearable foul odor.

My mother spoke her dying words to my grandmother: ""Mother-in-law, I want to eat a giant potato."" With the food shortage during the war, my mother would take clothes and various items to the countryside to trade for potatoes and other foods. I think my mother would eat the smaller potatoes from those for which she was able to barter. Small potatoes have a very acrid taste and they are hardly eaten today.

To pray for the repose of my mother’s soul, I always participate in the Toro Nagashi (ceremony in which paper lanterns are floated down a river). I make an offering of large boiled potatoes. Even now, when I see a large potato, I think about how I'd like to give it to my mother to eat.

●My town after the war
A wide area of the riverbank above Ujina Elementary School was used as a crematory. Corpses were enclosed simply by surrounding with sheets of corrugated tin and cremated inside of these. A hole was made in the corrugated tin sheets for the head of the corpse. We children would pass nearby where they cremated the bodies on our way to swim in the sea. Sometimes I would think, ""Oh, the head is burning now."" I would also step on many bones as I passed by there. I think that area was a crematory until I was in sixth grade of elementary school.

Life was really wretched after the war but not just for us; everyone had to live with the same hardships.

●My sister after the war
My sister, who was with my mother when the A-bomb detonated, was saved. At the time, people said that it was a miracle that a small child the age of my sister was able to survive. While growing up, my sister heard all the time, ""That's great that you survived. How great that you are alive.""

However, my sister was left with terrible keloids on her foot and it became deformed. She couldn't wear shoes, so she had to always be wearing geta (Japanese wooden clogs). In those days there were many people who wore geta, so she didn't have big problems in her daily life but she had troubles when there was a field trip or a sports festival, as she couldn't wear geta. Nevertheless, as it could not be helped, she wore two layers of soldier's socks.

Due to her foot, my sister was horribly teased. At the time, it was rumored that A-bomb sickness was contagious, so people would point at my sister and say things like, ""My fingers are rotting,"" or ""If you get too close to look, you'll catch the disease."" Even several years after the A-bomb, when she was going to elementary school, she was treated as some kind of spectacle and people came from far to look at her.

Nevertheless, my sister never told me or our grandmother that she had been treated in such a manner. She would not complain about her pain and just say, ""Grandma, was it really so great that I was able to survive?"" As it was something she continued to be told ever since she was an infant, it seemed as if she was trying to make herself think, ""It was great that I survived. So, even if I was burnt this badly, it is great to be alive."" Recently I have taken a look at my sister's notes. Among them, I saw where she had written, ""At that time, I thought I would have been better off dying,"" making me think once again how terribly difficult it must have been for her.

She was told that if she wanted her foot operated on that she would have to do it after turning 15. During summer vacation in senior high school, she was finally able to have the operation that she had really wanted for a long time. My sister was really looking forward to it as she always said that she wanted to be able to wear shoes when she entered high school. However, it did not become possible for her to wear shoes on her feet after all. Although they transplanted skin from her abdomen and rear to try to correct the deformity of her foot, the transplanted skin turned black and her little toe remained offset by some 3 cm. Before the operation, my sister said, ""I'll be able to wear sports shoes like normal,"" but even now after 65 years have passed from the A-bombing, she still can't wear shoes normally.

Since her little toe would rub and start to hurt, she tried wearing sports shoes with a hole cut out for her toe but then the toe would rub against the hole and also come to cause sores. There was almost never a day that passed where her foot did not bleed. Thinking that other people would feel uncomfortable when they saw her shoes with blood, she would paint over the adhering blood using toothpaste.

When my sister entered the Atomic-bomb Survivors Hospital, she met Dr. Tomin Harada and he told her, ""Don't hesitate to tell me if there's anything you want to talk about."" When she graduated from senior high school, she talked with Dr. Harada, who introduced her to a Japanese minister who lived in Los Angeles. As our father had passed on before my sister had entered senior high school, money was tight in our family at that time. A senior high school teacher introduced my sister to a part-time job where she worked hard until she was 20 years old when she had managed to save up enough for a one-way ticket to America and she set off for that country.

She was looked after by the minister and was able to get work in a laundry, which provided for her living expenses. I think she went through some rough times but she really gave her all and still lives in Los Angeles today. Although she thought she would never be able to get married normally, she married a Japanese man in America and they have been blessed with three children.

●Happening in Osaka
About one week after my sister had her operation, I went to go visit a friend living in Osaka. My sister said to me, ""My condition is already stable, so go on and visit Osaka.""

I took a local express and arrived there in the evening but since I didn't know where my friend's house was, I stopped at a police box to ask. Although he was a young policeman, he was very kind and accompanied me for nearly an hour as I looked for the address. When we found my friend's house, I told the policeman, ""Thank you so much. You were very helpful."" He then asked me where I was from, and I told him that I was from Hiroshima. He suddenly took a step back and said, ""The Hiroshima struck by the A-bomb?"" I answered, ""Yes,"" to which he replied, ""A woman from Hiroshima - that's unpleasant for me. A woman from Hiroshima who was exposed to the A-bomb."" He said this with an expression as if he was going to catch some disease from me. Until that time, I didn't think that much of being exposed to the A-bomb, so I was truly shocked by this incident.

I couldn't talk to my sister about this incident. I talked about it with my friend in Osaka but she said to me, ""You absolutely shouldn't tell your sister about this because it will really make her feel terrible."" After that, I would never tell anyone else that I was from Hiroshima.

●Incident at a clothing store
This incident goes back tens of years ago when I was helping a customer at a clothing store. Some person who was completely unknown to me suddenly said my sister's name to me and asked me if I was her older sister. ""Yes, that's right. Why? How do you know her?"" I asked her. That person lived in Furue, and at that time, gossip about my sister still made it that far.

Due to this incident, what happened in Osaka and various other incidents, I was in favor of my sister going to America. I thought that if she wanted to leave the bullying and discrimination in Japan, and go to a land where no one knew anything about her, my sister would probably find happiness there.

●Wish for peace
I think that people who haven't actually experienced the A-bombing really cannot understand the pain of the survivors. Cutting your own finger is probably the first time you experience pain but you cannot understand what it is like for someone else to be cut. For that reason, I think it is really difficult to convey what it was like to experience the A-bombing.

The war wounded us to the bottom of our hearts. Not only external wounds, but various other wounds also remain, and even after some ten years, these wounds still ache. My sister hates to talk about the war or the A-bomb such that ever since she was small, she would always just walk away whenever we talked about it. After moving to America, she would always wear a thick stocking to conceal her wounds and came to never speak about the A-bomb ever again.

War absolutely must be abolished.

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