Feature

Drawings by Atomic Bomb Survivors

Illustrations from atomic bombing survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Escaping the flames into the river
by Yoko Suga
August 6, around 9 a.m.
Some managed to skirt the flames to get to the river, only to collapse on the bank. Some writhed in agony and died before my eyes. Those still alive waded into waves, aiming for the other side. Countless victims were swept down the river drowning, while encroaching fires continued to force people into the water.


In the years following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hibakusha were asked to submit drawings to help later generations make a strong determination to never allow these tragedies to be repeated. As many did not want to relive the memory, few drawings were submitted. As these illustrations were displayed, however, many more survivors drew the horrific memories etched in their minds.

 

“Sister, I’m cold! I’m cold!”
by Tadayuki Tagashira
August 6, around 9 a.m.
About two hours before the scene in this picture, she found her younger brother. He had cried, “I want water! I want water!” so she happily gave him some. He drank it happily. Then, he said, “Sister, I’m cold! I’m cold!” and she cradled him. His body gradually grew colder, and he died.

“Teacher, help!”
by Chieko Matsumura
August 6
From a gap in the pile of school building rubble, a student stuck out his head and right arm out and yelled for help at the top of his lungs. Around him I could hear other students moaning. I tried to help, but I couldn’t budge the collapsed mortar frames by myself. I can still hear them crying, “Teacher, help!” I can hardly bear it.

 

 

“I’m sorry I cannot save you”
by Yoshinori Kato
August 6, around 10:30 a.m.
I could not rescue the children trapped under the schoolhouse being engulfed in flames. One little girl was almost out—I could have placed my cheek next to hers and pulled her clear except her arm was pinned under a pillar. I told them in my heart, “You’ll be safe from harm soon,” and placed my hands together in prayer.

 

Family walking in the starlight

by Yo Saito
August 6, night
In the starlight I saw three members of a family. They were tottering along, taking rasping breaths, stopping frequently. Had they eaten anything since morning? Where they were headed was nothing but a bomb shelter dug into the mountainside. I wonder if they made it.

Screaming her child’s name from the bridge
by Sueko Sumimoto
August 7, around 9 a.m.
The dead in this area were mobilized students. The riverbank and the river itself were full of dead children about the same height, 13 or 14 years old. Looking like daikon radishes, they floated downstream, slipping under the surface, then bobbing up. A mother was screaming the name of her child.