By Reading my Uncle's Memoir

Mari Terao

6th August,1997

The late Takeharu Terao is my uncle.

When I was a kid, my grandmother told me about my uncle's experience of the exposure to the A-bomb in his school days. She recalled that he arrived at home in a miserable condition with a bandage over his eyes. My grandparents were very afraid that he had lost his sight. But luckily, he was safe, free from major injury from the bomb. My grandparents were relieved and didn't ask my always gentle uncle what happened to him, in detail. After a long time, I knew for the first time that my uncle related his experience on the PC communication network of COARA. Mr. Matsumura's printed copy of his record was sent from my aunt.

I thoroughly read it and felt it was good for us that he released the Memoir. But at the same time, I regretted that I hadn't had a chance to hear it directly from my uncle's mouth while he was alive. But I know I wouldn't have heard even a phrase if I would sit beside him. There was a kind of hesitation among the relatives to ask directly what he didn't like to talk about, and I had no courage to ask him. All I could do was to wait for a chance. I go back over my childhood memories of the pleasant days when I played with my dear old uncle, and am shocked to learn that he had always concealed his perpetual bad memory of "I was made alive by the times" behind his smile.

I also see my uncle's other unfamiliar side as a specialist in education through the messages sent to the site. I was deeply moved to know that my uncle was surrounded with really wonderful people of the net. I appreciate anew Mr. Matsumura and other members of the web.

Not only my uncle but also other people who experienced the war are aging. My father-in-law was one of those who barely came home from the hell on earth. It requires huge efforts to hear or to tell directly about the war, but no sufficient time is left behind us. It is our generation who is responsible to hand down the experience to the young people who will create the world to come. I feel keenly so on those summer days.

Mari Terao