The Man Who Survived Hiroshima: ‘I Had Entered a Living Hell on Earth’
“There were people crying out for help, calling after members of their family,” Sunao Tsuboi said of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which he survived when he was a college student. “I saw a schoolgirl with her eye hanging out of its socket. People looked like ghosts, bleeding and trying to walk before collapsing.”
From The Guardian:
It is not as if Sunao Tsuboi needs another reminder of his violent encounter, as a 20-year-old university student, with a “living hell on earth”. The facial scars he has carried for seven decades are proof enough. But, as if to remind himself of the day he became a witness to the horrors of nuclear warfare, he removes a a black-and-white photograph and points to the shaved head of a young man looking away from the lens.
“That’s me,” he says. “We were hoping we would find some sort of medical help, but there was no treatment available, and no food or water. I thought I had reached the end.”
The location is Miyuki Bridge, Hiroshima, three hours after the Enola Gay, a US B-29 bomber, dropped a 15-kiloton nuclear bomb on the city on the morning of 6 August 1945. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed instantly; in the months that followed the death toll rose to 140,000…As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear attack in history, Tsuboi and tens of thousands of other hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) are again confronting their own mortality.
“People like me are losing the strength to talk about their experiences and continue the campaign against nuclear weapons,” says Tsuboi, a retired school principal who has travelled the world to warn of the horrors of nuclear warfare.
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