From the Editor

Editor: Ryoji Matsumura

3rd Aug.1997

ryoji.jpg We have had a hot summer again.

The first anniversary of Mr. Terao's death was over and the 52nd anniversary will be coming soon. This homepage is one year old as well.

I wonder what the late Mr. Terao thinks about my project to publish his will in the form of a homepage? Was I really right? Does Mrs. Terao feel "Please let me alone? I have felt a sense of ambivalence, wondering if I should release his posthumous works as his last wishes, or if I should keep silent.

In this difficulty, Mrs. Terao has encouraged me, saying "Be confident. My husband never hesitated regarding the things he felt to be right." I have the support today of many messages from domestic and foreign people.

The late Mr. Terao, who witnessed a hell on earth, who lived a hard life with scars deep in his heart, who confessed his experience and inner conflict 46 years after the moment. What is most moving about the Memoir is that despite his hard experience beyond our imagination, he believed or tried to believe in his life, and related his experience.

Yes, already 46 years since then, indeed. I am thankful for peace today. Never repeat it, please. I was made to survive until today. I owe this to the times. I am happy if I can repay it in a suitable way.

I lost many friends to the A-Bombing. Two years ago, I lost another close friend because of leukemia. I often hear of the second and third generations of Hibakusha. I undergo a periodical medical checkup twice a year as a Hibakusha. But I can't erase vague uncertainty from my mind. This will remain until I die.
But it is useless to think only of the matter. I must look at the reality that I live, allowed to live. I will look forward to pursue a dream, drawing an ideal, and making efforts to be useful for the people and for the society.

In the Great Hanshin Earthquake, many victims experienced a hell on earth. We witnessed in the same age a natural calamity accompanied by agony, sadness, and anger that was caused by a power beyond the reach of human hands.
But the hell on earth which the late Mr. Terao experienced was not a natural calamity but the result of human deeds in war. The hell could be intolerable agony for him.
But he must have believed, I think, that he could eliminate the tragedy only because it was caused by human hands.

He believed in his own life, the future of mankind, and appealed his "hard but a must" message to each of us.

Please read the Memoir again.

20th Mar.1997

I have started this site because of my desire to hand down the thoughts of the late Mr. Terao to as many people as possible. The site has been of interest to many readers in Japan and in foreign countries, who kindly sent their comments. As the editor, I myself have learned many more things than expected in the beginning, by reading those comments and messages. It is my mission, I firmly believe, to develop the site steadily on the basis of the messages from the people who read "A Personal Record of Hiroshima A-bomb Survival" with open hearts.

Recently (early 1997), the daily access account of the English version, translated by Mr. Ken'ichi Nagano, has outnumbered that of the Japanese version. The total access account of each version is very close. I have checked the actual status, and found that the site has been linked to the foreign pages of Web sites in the US, Canada, and Australia under the theme of the Second World War.

Please feel free to link my site to any Web page, and please inform me of your link. If you reproduce the site on other sites or mass media printings, please let me know and get my written consent, because I take responsibility for all the people who have sent their sincere messages to the site.

Here is an interesting development: I recently received a message from Mr. Narita of Yamanashi University saying the site will be recorded in a CD-ROM prepared by the research group of the university under the government's subsidy of "Basic research category (B)(1); Research and study on the utilization and evaluation of multimedia communication." The total pressing of the CD-ROM will be limited to 1,000 copies; it will be distributed to teachers at elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools, to provide a virtual experience of the Internet. They will understand what they can do by accessing World Wide Web pages through the CD-ROM.

2nd Feb.1997

Already half a year has passed since this site was posted to the Web.
I got a lot of messages, not only from domestic readers but also from overseas, including the U.S. I appreciate all those people who thoroughly read and gave comments to the site.

I was deeply moved by a recent message from Mr. Robin Sheppard, US. He wrote:

"As an American, I can only read with horror Terao-san's account of the nightmare of Hiroshima. And as an American, I bear part of my country's collective guilt over what we inflicted on that terrible, terrible day in 1945."
This kind of remark will only come from a person who really loves one's mother country. Only those who deeply think about war and peace can assert in such a way. As a Japanese, what can I say? His words penetrated deep into my heart, indeed.

I also recall that Ms. Masako Uratsuka - who is in the same generation as the late Mr.Terao and had sent significant comments and responses to the site - visited Korea in October 1996 as a member of "Friendship boat of Oita prefecture." She later posted her report on the net. She met Ms. Ha of Korea at the "Pusan-Oita female exchange meeting" and wrote:

masako.jpg "Ms. Ha graduated from a Korean girls' high school under the occupation days of imperial Japan. She lost her freedom and her precious youth because of Japanese militarism. What humiliating, sad, and bitter days she experienced! I lived in the same generation as her's, and experienced the agony of war as well. As I met her - someone who suffered a wretched past which most Japanese could never imagine - my heart was filled with deep emotion.
I felt that I must apologize to this woman. If she dared to accept my apology, my long-cherished wish, I would have nothing left behind me when I die.
I went to her and began to talk with my head down to the knee.

'I wanted from the bottom of my heart to visit Korea while I was alive and express my apology to any Korean, even on the street, as a Japanese who had lived in those days. That was my long-cherished wish....' Ms. Ha suddenly stood up and grasped my hands tightly, shaking them repeatedly with tears in her eyes. We couldn't even say word.... all we could do was hug each other's shoulder, shake hands tightly, and wipe the tears from each other's eyes."

To declare "As an American" or "As a Japanese", to look directly at the right and wrong, and to accept responsibility, requires real courage. I believe this is the kind of patriotism and resource which enables us to confidently play important rolls on the international stage.

When I was thinking about above, I got another E-mail below:

"Hello, I am doing a school project on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this project we must include the triumphs and tragedies of the bomb. I have found a wealth of information on the tragedies, but the triumphs of the bomb seem much harder to find. If it is not too much trouble, please give me some information on the triumph of dropping the atomic bomb.

Reading this message, I realized anew the depth of the history education of the US.

"There is only one history, but there are many aspects and view points of it." This is quite natural to say. But what is the actual status of history education in Japan?
A schoolbook censorship system that determines the usage of each word, and a kind of reality that requires the same exact answer in entrance exams.

The E-mail mentioned above reminds me anew of a genuine history education that produces students who can gather various theories, have discussions, and finally evaluate the historical meaning by themselves.

I have been involved in editing this site for half a year. I encountered many people who made me think deeply. I can't help but believe that this is a present from my former teacher, the late Mr. Terao.

15th Oct.1996
It is almost four months since Mr. Terao passed away. This site is already three months old.

At first, I was worried about how many people would access a site that mainly consisted of text. But the site was registered to some search engines in Japan and overseas. Though the content is serious, the access number is steadily increasing. It is said that people who viewed the site read all postings thoroughly.

The site is linked with recommendation by many people who have "peace pages" in their private home page, who promote citizen peace movements, who teach peace classes, and who are in charge of editing digital column magazines. They all send me encouraging messages saying, "Your site is essential to read", or "All people must read your site."

Also the site is linked to the home page of Ms.Mieko Nagano, whose husband Ken'ichi Nagano is in charge of the translation of the Terao Memoir. She sends information in English not only on the daily life of a housewife but also on Japanese traditional events and other news. Through her page, many responses have been sent to my site from overseas such as Norway, Australia, and the US.

In mass-communication category, the site was introduced in Western headquarters' version and Osaka headquarters' version of the Asahi in late September. "Yahoo! Japan Internet guide November", issued on September 28th from Soft Bank Co., Ltd., also recommends the site in its School and Education section. The magazine fully understood our intention and gives the site a high rating: Five stars(full point) in contents, and four stars in readability.

The Terao memoir always appeals to people's mind whenever we read it. It is not a cause or claim, but a memoir squeezed from the bottom of his heart. We seldom see such a work. I myself believe the memoir is a pyramid that was created by many supporters of personal computer communication networks such as COARA or WATARASE, and it may survive in history.

If the late Mr. Terao had had no measure of PC communication, he might pass away with the bitter memory of "living hell", which he wanted to erase from his brain, and deep in his heart. He wouldn't have mentioned it to his family and his students if he hadn't joined COARA.

But he did. He had enough courage to confess it to the society and hand it down to the next generation. I interpreted his wishes and converted it into HTML format. Was I correct? Should I have stopped at the point of his confession? I can't be certain that my self-righteous deed would be completely justified.

I always report to Mrs. Terao, along with before the tablet of the late Mr. Terao, each time I get new responses. Mrs. Terao thanks me, but I still feel some uneasiness.

I have learned much from his memoir. We live now in a peaceful time. We only knew war from history textbooks. We have never actually experienced nuclear weapons. We have thought nuclear tests and Chernobyl were events that happened in remote countries. But we knew for the first time that war destroyed not only the physical body and, but also the human heart, and even humanity. I have learned how bitter it was to tell and hand down the memory of war.

Through the mental struggle, I finally published it on the WWW. Now, I hope as many people as possible read the memoir, regardless their nationality, race, emotion, principle, age, and gender. Any links to this page are quite welcome.

We ordinary citizens, can send life-size information through the WWW as you see here. It is not temporary, it lasts a long in the electronic library. It can be retrieved at anytime. The spotlight is now beamed on the Internet. Please remember that there is such a kind of site.

Many people favorably responded from overseas through Mrs. Nagano's English home page - included are: Norway, Australia, and USA. I also would like to make my site head toward interactivity, little by little.

As a new movement, Mrs. Nagano, who help introduce this site to overseas readers, informed me of some good news: A high school in New York, for which Mrs. Nagano is a mentor, promotes an Internet course of study. Mr. Ted Nellen, a teacher in charge, said he is going to take up Terao's memoir as a text for the first theme of the course. For details of the course, refer to the URLs below:

Murry Bergtraum High School

The above two sites are really impressive and amazing.

I am going to revise this site in a more interactive way. I would be happy to have your support.

Thank you very much.

Editor Ryoji Matsumura