11. 12/2/13: Secret Tales of the Hibakusha Part 1
These stories were told to CIEE students at Hiroshima by Keiko Ogura, a bomb survivor. She detailed how many hibakusha tell her their stories, but are afraid to speak out to the public about their experiences, since hibakusha face much discrimination. Their children and grandchildren's engagements may dissolve due to fears that children could be potentially mentally disabled or born with birth defects, and they might be ostracized by the public. This is not Keiko Ogura's story, but it is the true story of others who survived and could not say their stories themselves out of fear. I hope to give these unnamed survivors a voice, in written form.
Story 1: Six Hours
When I was a little girl, several days after the bomb, my mother decided to take my little brother and I to visit my family in Hiroshima. We walked through the ruined city, about three hours, and once at my relatives house, we gathered up vegetables to sell in the city. We spent perhaps another three hours in the city. However, the lasting effects of the radiation were still in the ground and soil, despite that it had been perhaps three or four days since the bomb. Although my mother was fine, since we were small children, we were heavily affected by the radiation. Both my brother and I grew very sick after returning home, and although I got better, my little brother died from radiation poisoning. We had only spent six hours total maybe in Hiroshima.
My father was very angry. He was furious at losing his only son. We were a farming family, and having a son was very important. He yelled at my mother for taking us into the city, and asked why she had to visit her relatives, at the cost of our family, while she kept a straight face. My mother hadn't known about the radiation or the threat to us, who were so small at the time. None of us knew until later. But later I saw her crying outside, tears streaming down her cheeks. She hadn't known, she whispered, and no one heard it but the wind.