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Hiroshima for Global Peace

1 “About That Day”

What lies at the heart of the a-bomb experience or the memory of it is the terrible scenes of “that day,” at the time of the atomic bombing. In a-bomb testimonies and notes, the a-bomb survivors repeatedly used expression such as “hell,” “living hell” and “beyond description” to explain “that day.” Also, they dream and remember about the scenes “beyond description” on “that day,” which are the core of their memory. In a survey conducted by the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization in 1985, they asked about “that day.” 1,383 out of 8,268 respondents used the word “hell” more than once to talk about “that day” 13). Following are examples of the use of the word “hell.”

Examples of use of “hell” in the 1985 Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization survey

the state of affairs we were forced to go through was really like hell / at the foot of Hijiyama (man) I do not want there to ever be such a cruel and barbarous hell ever again (man)

/the world I see through my exhausted tears is hell/ people are wandering like ghosts (man)

In one word, it was hell. / With eyes wide open (man)

All these people died. It was hell. / When coming out from a bomb shelter (man)

People who were about to die. Everything was happening in this hellish world. / I do not want to recall so much (woman)

Everyone passed away. It was really a living hell. / Near the Atomic Bomb Dome (man)

Mountain of debris. Hiroshima City turned into hell in a moment. Radiation (woman)

I witnessed a living hell. I also served during the China Incident (man)

It turned into agonizing cries, like a living hell. Such an act (man)

I still cannot forget the living-hell like situation (woman)

After a few minutes, I was stunned to see hell (man)

In the memorial hall of the headquarters, it was hell. No medicine, (man)

Wandering crying, it was just like seeing hell. (man)

It looked exactly like the picture of hell in a picture book (woman)

Death, death and death. Alas, it was hell. There was nothing our soldiers could do (man) Everything around me was hell. I survived (man)

The impression that I saw the true hell. (woman)

13) Including different renderings of the Japanese word “jigoku,” including’ 地ごく,じ ごく,ぢごく,ジゴク

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