Tuesday, September 15, 2009

PIKA-DON

The atomic bomb detonation was described as a brilliant light, "pika" followed by a thunderous blast, “don.”
For me, there is nothing more gut wrenching, soul sucker-punching, than hearing the stories of Japanese A-bomb survivors. It just twists up my insides and invisibly chokes me like no other. This past August marked the 64th anniversary of the bombings of Nagasaki & Hiroshima. I sat in a hotel room curled up in a ball, biting my pillow, while watching specials on the History channel.

It's sad and so selfish to say, that most of the survivors now are slowly disappearing, and for this, I am somewhat relieved. Relieved that they will finally experience some peace, also relieved not to have such a grisly reminder of what humans are capable of doing to other humans. The saddest thing of all is instead of being honored and admired by their fellow citizens, survivors are shunned and cast aside.

Can't even begin to imagine dealing with horrific scenes and pain they've witnessed, felt. The are made of a stronger substance than I. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...
Hiroko Yoshida (then, 18) was exposed to the A-bomb in Ote-machi where she was trapped under her collapsed house. She crawled out of the rubble with her younger brother Yusaku (then, 6), and they fled barefoot toward the suburbs from a city bursting into flame.
Hiroko's hands, shoulders, and legs were severely injured. Yusaku, who appeared uninjured, fell ill on the 21st. His hair fell out, he developed a high fever, his nose bled heavily, and he died on the 24th.
On the 21st, the day Yusaku's hair fell out, Hiroko also lost her hair in large clumps. Her condition worsened for some time, but under the devoted care of her mother, Kyo (then,46), she managed to survive. In preparation for the worst, Kyo had kept this hair to treasure as a reminder of Hiroko.

Nobuko Oshita (then 13) was a first-year student at First Hiroshima Prefectual Girls High School. She was exposed to the bomb at her building demolition work site and fled to Koi. There she was found by relief corps workers, who returned her to her parents in Otake. She died late that night. She sewed this summer uniform herself.
TAKAKURA Akiko 高蔵信子 (たかくらあきこ)
A woman driven by unbearable thirst trying to catch black raindrops in her mouth.
喉が渇き黒い雨を口で受ける女性
Year of Birth: 1925 \ Age at time of blast: 19 \ Age when image created: 49
Date of image depicted: 1945/8/6
Distance from hypocenter in meters: 270

1 comment:

  1. My dad has a series of Time-Life books on World War II and I used to read the book on Hiroshima obsessively as a kid. There was entire chapter on the survivor's artwork. I was only 9 and so scared but couldn't tear my eyes away. I was both fascinated and horrified.

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The divine PB&J in me, salutes the divine PB&J in you.