A-bomb and I

Playing A-bomb survival in the performance

Naoko Hashimoto

18th April,1999

My name is Naoko Hashimoto.
I have just joined the Internet, and one day I came across this site by accident.
I am 25 years old. I was born in a peaceful world with no experience of a war.
Several years ago, however, I had once thought about A-bomb. This memory urged me to send you this message. I am afraid if my expression may say something rude, please forgive me if any.

I am a member of an amateur theatrical company that played a performance titled "From the shade of A-bomb" just the 50th anniversary of the end of World War 2. I played a roll of a female who exposed to an A-bomb at the age of seven years old.
The time was late Shouwa 40th. The female lost her parents by the Hiroshima A-bomb and fled to Tokyo with her elder brother to live quietly. One day, she got a letter that her friend in Hiroshima died by A-bomb decease.
This is the first scene of the performance.

She can neither confess her lover that she is a survival of the bomb, nor accept the proposal of the marriage.
The survival, I played, agonizes over how to treat the proposal- which is basically delightful to her-, because not only the fact that she has a burn on her back but also the fear that the new-born baby might also be affected by the decease. Her elder brother is a truck driver who is suffering from cataract. One day, he made a traffic accident and fled back from the site, saying "Anybody who is not a Hibakusha can never understand the agony of us. You, don't marry."
The female finally braved to confess her lover that she is a Hibakusha.
The lover says "Don't mind such a thing."
The lover seems to be not aware of her deep mental scar was at that moment.
Her desperate confess of agony, squeezing out of her soul, might not have been understood well by the lover.

They finally make a definite promise not to escape from the situation, but to stand against, hand-in-hand, the hard life from to come.This is the last scene of the performance.

As there was not enough time between the final write-up of the playbook and the performance, I couldn't fully understand the situation. I borrowed some books on A-bomb from a library and hunted the lines everyday with tears in my eyes. I also saw the pictures with my hand on my mouth.

I read the books and saw pictures by persuading myself that I had actually experienced the hell on earth at when I was seven years old.

But I couldn't feel it was real to me at any means. I could, of course, imagine to a certain extent what had happened. But I could hardly accept the tragedy into my flesh. There was a barrier.

When I was aware of the existence of the barrier, I felt shivers down my spine. It was a so horrible fact that goes far beyond the imagination of us who live in a peaceful world.
I also realized the terror of not only the dead and burnt but also the radioactivity.

This happened when I went out from the office with a director who was not in charge of the performance. He suddenly made a light nosebleed by accident and simply muttered
"A Hibakusha may feel terrible even he or she has a nosebleed."

I was startled to know that what is small to us could be serious to Hibakushas, reminding them of the death. An unimaginable horrible thing actually took place on earth, and the victims are still suffering from it.

At the very moment we were playing the performance, France forced a series of nuclear test.
Many Hibakushas of Hiroshima were interviewed on a TV and protested shameless France. I cried with unstoppable tears and just could say
"You guilty France, please feel the ache of my heart."
If I were not involved in the performance, I might have miss the TV news.

France reasoned against reason that their test was "for peace." I felt resentment and filled with a sense of vanity. When humankind, including France, will be awakened?

A Hibakusha wrote:"Whatever strongly we appeal, no one can understand except those who experienced it. So, it is useless to send pretests repeatedly. It's like water off a duck's back." It is pity that I have to admit it.

If I were not involved in the performance, I might have a little concern on French A-bomb tests, but I would not have so deeply felt anger against the test.

When I was a child, my mother took me to Hiroshima A-bomb Dome. I also read many children books, including "Bare-footed Gen", on A-bomb in home.
I have been aware of that I know something about A-bomb and have kept concern on it.
But my concern faded away as I proceeded from junior high school, high school, junior college, and went out into the world. It was just on the Day of A-bomb that I recall back about the dropping of A-bombs.

What is regrettable, I haven't thought seriously about it.I am also ashamed to find myself who felt free from thinking of A-bombs throughout the whole period of the performance.
I felt I didn't touch with a matter of A-bomb.

No, suddenly I awoke: the actual survivors are not able to flee from their hard memories. I can't stop crying when I think about the feelings of the survivors.

I have written so much. I am afraid that my thinking or my feeling may sound you rude, but I couldn't deter writing because I have never spoken out such a feeling. Please forgive me.

I firmly believe the Terao Memoir should be read by much more people not so as to repeat "such a thing."
We must stand up. recently, I often feel the world is heading to the dangerous brink such as nuclear tests and air raid against Yugoslavia.

I have called back in my mind about A-bomb just a few times a year until I was involved in the performance. I know I am not in the position to say, but I still wish the agony and Mr. Terao's brave confess be read by much more people.

We shall not repeat any war and the use of nuclear weapons.

Finally, I greatly appreciate the wonderful page.