atomic bomb diseases

Atomic Bomb Disease

With no detailed information about the "new type of bomb" issued by the government, we did not know for about a week that it was actually the atomic bomb. We learned that the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan on the day of the Nagasaki atomic bombing. I was infuriated at our government, which still urged us to fight against the allied forces. We were injured, and suffering from a strange weakness with no adequate treatment. Food, clothes, information: everything was in shortage. Yet the government still shouted its slogan: "Ichioku gyokusai!" ("100 million people should meet honourable deaths; never surrender!") Who did the Japanese government exist for, I wondered?

Hibakusha victim

Shortly after the explosion, many survivors noticed in themselves a strange illness: vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, high fever, weakness, purple spots on various parts of the body, bleeding from the mouth, gums, and throat, the falling-out of hair, and a very low white blood cell count. We called the illness "atomic bomb disease", and many of those who were only superficially injured died soon or months after. The lack of medical supplies and information about the after-effects of atomic radiation made it impossible to provide us with adequate treatment. First aid was all we could get.

Decades afterwards, I had a series of operations for cancer, which may be attributable to my having been exposed to radiation. However, I am not yet destroyed. With the blessing of gods and Buddha, I have been allowed to live. For the sake of those who were killed without mercy during and after the Nagasaki atomic bombing, and also for myself, I want to be able to survive for many more years. My physical being may be transient, but I believe that my spiritual being can remain undefeated. I wish sincerely that human beings will become wise enough to abandon all forms of nuclear weapons in the near future.