Testimony of Isao Kita

Next is Mr. Isao Kita. He was 33 years old when the bomb fell. He was working for the Hiroshima District Weather Bureau 3.7 km from the hypocenter. He was the chief weather man and his shift fell on August 5 to 6. He kept observing the weather even after he was exposed.

MR. KITA: Well, at that time, I happened to be receiving the transmission over the wireless. I was in the receiving room and I was facing northward. I noticed the flashing light. It was not really a big flash. But still it drew my attention. In a few seconds, the heat wave arrived. After I noticed the flash, white clouds spread over the blue sky. It was amazing. It was as if blue morning-glories had suddenly bloomed up in the sky. It was funny, I thought. Then came the heat wave. It was very very hot. Even though there was a window glass in front of me, I felt really hot. It was as if I was looking directly into a kitchen oven. I couldn't bear the heat for a long time. Then I heard the cracking sound. I don't know what made that sound, but probably it came from the air which suddenly expanded in the room. By that time, I realized that the bomb had been dropped. As I had been instructed, I pushed aside the chair and lay with my face on the floor. Also as I had been instructed during the frequent emergency exercises, I covered my eyes and ears with hands like this. And I started to count. You may feel that I was rather heartless just to start counting. But for us, who observed the weather, it is a duty to record the process of time, of various phenomena. So I started counting with the light flash. When I counted to 5 seconds, I heard the groaning sound. At the same time, the window glass was blown off and the building shook from the bomb blast. So the blast reached that place about 5 seconds after the explosion. We later measured the distance between the hypocenter and our place. And with these two figures, we calculated that the speed of the blast was about 700 meters per second. The speed of sound is about 330 meters per second, which means that the speed of the blast was about twice as fast as the speed of sound. It didn't move as fast as the speed of light but it moved quite rapidly. There is a path which leads by here over there. And on that day, a large number of injured persons walked this way along the path toward the Omi Hospital. They were bleeding all over and some of them had no clothes. Many of them were carrying people on their shoulders. Looking at the injured, I realized how seriously the town had been damaged. The fire was its peak at around that time. It thundered 10 times between 10 and 11 o'clock. The sound of thunder itself was not so great but still I could see the lightning over the fire. When I looked down on the town from the top of that hill, I could see that the city was completely lost. The city turned into a yellow sand. It turned yellow, the color of the yellow desert.

INTERVIEWER: Was this before the fire broke out?

MR. KITA: Yes. The town looked yellowish. The smoke was so thick that it covered the entire town. After about 5 minutes, fire broke out here and there. The fire gradually grew bigger and there were smoke everywhere and so we could no longer see towards the town. The cloud of the smoke was very tall, but it didn't come in this direction at all. The cloud moved in that direction from the ocean towards Hiroshima Station. It moved towards the north.The smoke from the fire, it was like a screen dividing the city into two parts. The sun was shining brightly just like it was a middle of the summer over here on this side. And behind the cloud on the other side, it was completely dark. The contrast was very much. So about 60 or 70 % of the sky was covered by the cloud and the other 30 % was completely clear. It was a bright clear blue sky. The condition had remained like this for some time. From Koi, looking towards Hiroshima Station, you could see the black rain falling. But from here, I couldn't judge how much rain was falling. But based on the information I heard later, it seems that the rain fell quite heavy over a period of several hours. It was a black and sticky rain. It stuck everything. When it fell on trees and leaves, it stayed and turned everything black. When it fell on people's clothing, the clothing turned black. It also stuck on people's hands and feet. And it couldn't be washed off. I couldn't be washed off. I couldn't see what was taking place inside the burning area. But I was able to see the extent of the area which was on fire. Based on the information which came later, it seems that the center of the town suffered the worst damage. The atomic bomb does not discriminate. Of course, those who were fighting may have to suffer. But the atomic bomb kills everyone from little babies to old people. And it's not an easy death. It's a very cruel and very painful way to die. I think that this cannot be allowed to happen again anywhere in the world. I don't say this just because I'm a Japanese atomic bomb survivor. I feel that people all over the world must speak out.

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