Testimony of Hiroko Fukada

Ms. Hiroko Fukada was 18 years old when the bomb was dropped. She was inside the Bureau of Post Communications, then it located in Hakushima 1 km away from the center of explosion. She lost her parents and one sister and never since the war ended. She has been working taking care of her two younger brothers who survived.

MS. FUKADA: This is my first time to come back this place you know in 41 years since the A-bomb was dropped. I don't know what to say really. The memory of that day seems to be gradually coming back to be though. At the moment when I sat down at my desk and took out my notebooks and pens, I suddenly saw a very strong flash of light. Then it was tremendous impact. The atomic bomb is often described as Pika-don or spark and bang and that's a very good description, I think.

INTERVIEWER: What was the color of the light?

MS. FUKADA: I remember it was yellow. I clearly remember it now and despite the shower of glass, fortunately I didn't have any major injuries. I thought it was hopeless because I thought the buildings directly head and I went out of the building because I thought it would be dangerous to stay inside. Soon I found soldiers walking in this direction. I was with my friends and we thought it would be safe to go with soldiers, and so we came here.

INTERVIEWER: What were the conditions outside the building?

MS. FUKADA: Everybody was terribly injured. We were even embarrassed because we were not injured. I have no words to describe the scene. A flood of people went down this cliff just like dominoes down.

INTERVIEWER: So you were also pushed forward, weren't you?

MS. FUKADA: Yes, Yes. I was almost crashed and it was very hard to stay on this side. And the other side was burning and a tremendous heat attached us on this side, too. And more and more people came from behind me crashing us and crashing us. And since it was so hot, I dipped my face under the water so many times.

INTERVIEWER: So you jumped into the river right here?

MS. FUKADA: Yeah. I was pushed into the river with many other people. And since I thought it would be dangerous to stay on this side, I swam over to the other side. It was so frightening.

INTERVIEWER: What happened when you were swimming across the river?

MS. FUKADA: Well an awful thing happened when I reached the other side, and was relieved. I was suddenly spun around by the current. And then large pieces of hail begin to fall and my face started hurting. So to avoid that I again plunged my face into the water time and time again. And then I spun around again and again. It just didn't stop.

INTERVIEWER: What actually happened in the water?

MS. FUKADA: The water was swirling around me and later I learned that was a tornado. And my friends somehow managed to survive it.

INTERVIEWER: Did you think you were going to die?

MS. FUKADA: Yes. The faces of my family came to my mind one after another. And I really thought I was dying because I drank a lot of water, too.

INTERVIEWER: This is a picture which you drew describing the moment, isn't it? Would you explain this again? Do you remember this picture? How many years ago did you last see this picture?

MS. FUKADA: Well, I'm not really sure. I really thought I was dying because I drank so much water, too. I don't know how many minutes have passed but anyway I found something like a piece of wood which is very soft and sticky and I touched it. That was actually my friend's leg. And she was alive and we were so glad to see each other. Then I began to wonder what my family were doing. Since we lived in Takaramachi, I thought that they went to Ujina rather than in this direction. And I also thought they might have already been killed by the bomb. I just didn't know what was going on.

INTERVIEWER: How your mother and brothers?

MS. FUKADA: Well, my mother was at the first aid center in Ninoshima. And she died on August 10.

INTERVIEWER: How about your brothers?

MS. FUKADA: Although the small one was together with my mother since they had been mobilized to do tear down houses to make streets wider for the military purposes. He survived because he happened to be standing just by chance under the eaves of the building and the younger brother was at his elementary school. He was stuck under the collapsed school building but he managed to get out. He escaped to Hijiyama Bridge and survived.

INTERVIEWER: How was your younger sister?

MS. FUKADA: She was in Zakoba-cho and she had also been mobilized to pull down houses. We never found her. At that time I was only 18 years old and have lost my parents all of a sudden. I didn't know what to do. But I had two small brothers that I had to take care of and support. So I could not afford to bend my self to grief. I was very hard to raise my brothers and try not to depend on others. I went frantically day after day. Well, it was so cruel. It is hard to talk about it. I can't.

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