Chapter 1. 

Illustrations Made by Survivors of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From 1974 to 1975, the public Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) made an appeal to the general public for submission of illustrations of the atomic bombing of Japan. The goal was to obtain illustrations that were inspired by personal experiences directly related to the atomic bombing. In 1945, when the Atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, photographic supplies were nearly exhausted. Even if someone had a camera, film was not available. Their use was limited to newspaper photographers. Therefore, detailed visual images of the misery caused by the atomic bombing were scarce. The archive of illustrations began when an elderly man brought in his own painting to NHK, saying, “Please have a look at my paintings, which are scenes that I witnessed.”  

 A breath-taking scene was depicted. The work of the amateur was skillful; what the painter actually saw with his own eyes was vividly depicted. Touched by the “power of the picture”, NHK staff became aware of the value of the images of the aftermath of the atomic bombing, which led to the term by which surviving atomic bomb victims are known––hibakusha. The NHK personnel announced to the public, “We would like you to paint your experiences as part of an A-Bomb picture series.” The project was carried out on a large scale, involving publicity through posters and the radio. As a result, a number of very precious pictures were donated. The public appeal was repeated in 2000, twenty-five years later. The total number of donated images amounted to more than 3,500.

After the first donation, I spent every day in the basement of the Atomic Bomb Material Witness section of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, looking at the “atomic bombing pictures.” I took notes and viewed over 2,000 pictures. At that time, my concern was focused on my local community of Koi. I had been researching the number of the corpses that were cremated in the Koi Elementary School grounds. In the “Hiroshima: A-Bomb War Damage Report”, it is said that 800 people were cremated. However, it looked to me, as a child, as though more than 2000 corpses were cremated. People cremated dead bodies for a month. I thought it could not be as few as 800. Later, it was estimated that the actual number of bodies cremated easily surpassed 2000, and the number might have even reached 3,000. But where did the figure 800 come from? The question remained unanswered for a long time.  Just before I was forty years old, I made up my mind to confirm the truth about the number of those corpses by visiting every household in the Koi area. I went on foot regularly. I visited all the households and asked questions on my day-off. There still are people who remembered the tragic day just like it was yesterday. It was because the generation older than myself was still alive. A man who was a member of people’s security group said he cremated 20,000 corpses. However, the figure 20,000 gave me an impression that it was too large.

Having combined many eyewitness accounts from the survivors, I was about to settle on the figure 2,000, as I had originally estimated.  It turned out that there was a person who actually counted the number of the corpses cremated at the Koi National Primary School. Somebody who was a military personnel then and later became a professor of Kochi University forwarded the information to me.

Mr. Sumio Fukushima, a colleague of this person, accurately counted the corpses and recorded the result. I did some research to find him. Surprisingly, he was in Aomori Prefecture. I attempted to contact him by phone but Mr. Sumio Fukushima had passed away.  It was his son who answered my call. He had not heard this history from his father.

Therefore, I asked him to locate a record of the number of the corpses cremated at the Koi National Primary School among his father’s writings. I knew it would take time to find it in the enormous volume of materials. The son promised me that he would do the task in his spare time. I was ready to wait patiently.

Three years passed. My intense pilgrimage of investigation had not been completed. I continued my door-to-door interviews. Mr. Fukushima’s son contacted me at last. He found the material for the number of cremated corpses. There were 2300 according to his father’s record. The first advertisement calling for the paintings of the atomic bombing aftermath circulated around the same time when this investigation of mine started. I looked through the pictures again to see if there were any images related to Koi.

While doing this, I made another completely separate discovery. Among the many atomic bombing paintings, around twenty of them related to American prisoners of war.

Paintings consisted of a B-24 bomber downed in the suburbs of Hiroshima City, the Chugoku Kempeitai (憲兵隊) Military Police Headquarters burning, one of American soldiers tied to a bent pole on Aioibashi Bridge, and an American soldier being forced to walk near the Hiroshima Castle, and so on.

There were a total of fourteen paintings of a fallen American soldier at Aioibashi Bridge. Most of them showed the east end of the bridge, and a few showing the west end. There was a brief explanation attached to these pictures simply describing that the American soldier was dead at Aioibashi Bridge. Nothing else was mentioned about the soldier. I was strongly drawn to those pictures since these were scenes were completely new to me. At the same time, questions about them began to form in my mind.


Were there any American Soldiers who were exposed to radiation in Hiroshima?

The main reason why Hiroshima was targeted for Atomic Bomb attack by the U.S. was that it was a military-based city. However, another reason was that there were no Allied POWs in the city. Certainly, there was “no POW at all” inside Hiroshima city around ten days before the bombing, or July 27, 1945, During that period, some Allied POWs were held in the Aiko Day Nursery facility in Miyoshi-cho, Futami County, Hiroshima Prefecture (Current Miyoshi City), 60km away from Hiroshima City––forty-four Dutch POWs were interned there.

Approximately 400,000 people were exposed to radiation in the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, 140,000 people were reported to have died in 1945.

Were there really no Allied POWs included in the number?

Did the Atom Bomb destroy the streets of Hiroshima without killing any soldiers of their own military force? No, among the enormous number of deaths of 140,000, there were small portion of allied POWs, to be precise, U.S. POWs.


Hiroshima Verification 1945–1995, published by Chugoku Newspaper, reads as follows:

For a long time the US Military authorities kept stating that no U.S. POWs were exposed to radiation in Hiroshima. However deaths of American soldiers among the people of Hiroshima, who were exposed to radiation were reported by witnesses, such as the story about POWs in Hiroshima City and the graves of American soldiers in Ujina(宇品).

Despite the persistent denial by the U.S. side, the citizens of Hiroshima kept saying among themselves that there were certainly some American POWs in Hiroshima City at that time. Mass media and academicians repeatedly inquired, asking the U.S. Military Forces for the explanation of the truth.

In 1971, twenty-six years after the Atomic Bombing, an important document that helped to resolve the questions was declassified and publicly released in the U.S. One of the documented records that are preserved in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a description of the American soldiers who were exposed to radiation. This document had been under administration of the U.S. Department of Defense, then was moved to the NARA and was finally declassified and released from Confidential status. According to this document, there were twenty US POWs held in Hiroshima; most of whom were men of the US Army Air Force. The Department of War(the U.S. Department of the Army, the military branch that included the Army Air Corps)wrote that it “acknowledged that seventeen were killed immediately after the bombing, and two died on August 19 due to injuries.”  The document also stated, “One of the two who died on the 19th was Sgt. Ralph J. Neal, the bomber (sic) of the Lonesome Lady B-24 bomber, and the other was 3rd Class Naval Petty Officer, Normand Rowland Brissette (sic), who was a crew member of another aircraft. The document also described the fate of the other eight crewmembers of the B-24 Lonesome Lady as follows:

  1. 1st Lt. Thomas C. Cartwright, pilot: He survived and returned home via the U.S. Battleship, the Wreathe.[1]

  2. 2nd Lt. Durden W. Looper (copilot): Dead

  3. 2nd Lt. Roy M. Pedersen (navigator ): Dead

  4. 2nd Lt. James M. Ryan (bomber): Dead

  5. Sgt. Hugh H. Atkinson (wireless operator): Dead

  6. Sgt. William E. Abel (gunner): Liberated on September 1

  7. Sgt. Buford J. Ellison (engineer): Probably dead

  8. Corp. John A. Long, Jr. (gunner): Probably dead

[1] The name of the ship Wreathe has not been confirmed. Cartwright reported that he returned to the U.S. on the Benevolence.

Top: The crew of the Lonesome Lady, photograph taken half a year before their sortie on 7/28/45. Front row from left: Sgt. Hugh Atkinson, Sgt. Buford Ellison, Blacky the mascot dog, Sgt. William (Bill) Able, Corp. John Long, and Frank Baker, who did not board due to illness and was replaced by Sgt. Ralph Neal.)

Back row from left: 2nd Lt. James Ryan, 2nd Lt. Durden Looper, 1st Lt. Thomas Cartwright, 2nd Lt. Pedersen (Photo courtesy of Mr. Francis Ryan )

According to this document, of the nine crewmembers of the Lonesome Lady, two survived, and six, except for Neal, were recorded either “dead” or “probably dead”. It is not clear if the six died when the B-24 was shot down, or after their capture as POWs, killed by exposure to radiation.

The NARA states about the six “After the names of the crewmembers were identified, arrangements for notifying the families were made; however, it seems that the Army authorities did not notify them. It might not have been possible.” This sentence could be interpreted as reluctance to publicly announce that American POWs were killed by the Atomic Bomb dropped by the US Forces. (Reference: An article from the Chugoku Newspaper issued on September 6, 1971.)

Actually, the US Armed Forces sent notices to the bereaved families. They were sent to both the Atkinsons and the Ryans, including such details as their beloved “went missing in the sky above Japan”, which was later followed by communication through telegrams or letters responding to each inquiry made by the families. However, it should be noted that the official view of the US Government was, even at that stage, “No American soldiers were exposed to radiation in Hiroshima”.

In fact, an article was posted in Time magazine of August 9, 1971, the content of which was contrary to such announcements. The title was “Untouchable Victims”, and the account states that on the day after the atomic bombing at Aioi-bashi Bridge in Hiroshima-City an (Japanese) Army captain named Tamura Jiro saw an American soldier whose hands were tied behind his back.

”Hiroshima Atomic Bomb War Journal” contains an article by the same Captain Jiro Tamura. It says that an old woman was throwing stones at the American soldier, while crying and screaming. It was twenty–four hours after the Atom Bomb was dropped. A young man wearing red, green and yellow trunks was tied to a leaning electric pole with his hands tied behind his back with a wire. It was an American soldier. Tamura said he was the most handsome young man that he had ever seen. Tamura himself was looking for his wife at that time. However, he could not find her. As he was passing the Aioi-bashi Bridge, at the east end of the bridge, an old woman was shrieking and crying as she threw little stones at the American soldier.

The American young man died later. After three days, he was buried by a bicycle shop owner. The article says he was buried “in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome.” It was an incident that symbolized the tragedy of the atomic bombing, however, no follow-up article appeared in the magazine.

It was in 1977, thirty-two years after the war ended, that the issue of those American soldiers who had been POWs and were exposed to radiation and died in Hiroshima was brought into the spotlight on a nationwide scale in the U.S. It was six years after the recorded documents were released. In June of that year (1977), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan publicly released part of the diplomatic materials that they stored at the Diplomatic Archives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Twenty names of the American POW soldiers who died in Hiroshima, having been exposed to radiation, were listed in the document.

The list was discovered by Satoru Ubuki, then an assistant of the Research Institute of Radiation Biology and Medicine, affiliated with Hiroshima University, and who is currently a professor of Hiroshima Jogakuin University. The document came to be known as “Ubuki’s List”.  The news of the discovery of this material was forwarded to the USA through the UPI (Universal Press, Inc.)  and was posted as an article in the ___ Evening Tribune. The father of Hugh H. Atkinson, the radio operator of the Lonesome Lady, read this article.


Sgt. Hugh Atkinson, Radio Operator/Mechanic on the B-24  Lonesome Lady

Sgt. Hugh Atkinson, Radio Operator/Mechanic on the B-24 Lonesome Lady

Mr. Theodore Atkinson, the father, had received telegrams and letters from the US Armed Forces, which told him that his son was missing in action and later that he probably died in action. However, the family had lived for more than thirty years without knowing any detailed information about his son’s death. Theodore Atkinson had just sent an inquiry to the author of a book Enola Gay, which had been published in the previous year, where he found the name of his son. (Reference: an article from the Chugoku Newspaper; June 18, 1978.) Theodore kept contacting the government and military forces, sending inquiries repeatedly about the death of his son from radiation. However, the U.S. government never admitted what happened. At the same time, the deaths of the POWs in Hiroshima from radiation eventually were accepted as factual. In 1983, perhaps having been hard-pressed for an answer, the U.S. Armed Forces finally made an official announcement about the U.S. soldiers who died, having been exposed to the radiation of the Atomic Bomb dropped by the their own military. In reply to the question posed by a historian Dr. Barton J. Bernstein, they answered as follows, “Eight POWs of the US Army and two of the US Navy were victims of the A-Bomb in Hiroshima.” However, no names or other detailed facts were ever clarified at that time. The twenty names in the Ubuki’s List does not reconcile with the list of ten victims in the US Force announcement. What is the reason for the discrepancy between the two sets of figures? Who died in Hiroshima by radiation?


The Facts about the American Soldier on Aioi-bashi Bridge

There is another unsolved enigma about the deaths of the US soldiers caused by radiation. It is about the American soldier who was mentioned previously in Time magazine in the eyewitness account of Captain Tamura. The story had spread in Hiroshima for a long time after the war: there was an American soldier, who had been tied to the railing of Aioi-bashi, which was very close to the Atomic Bomb Dome. Japanese people who saw him threw stones at him or beat him. There are two different views: the soldier died because he was hit by stones or fists, and another view that he died because of radiation exposure. However, two points are common in both arguments: an American soldier was tied to the bridge, and Japanese acted with violence toward him. It was a symbolic episode about the tragedy of A-Bombing, but those who witnessed the horrible scene were afraid of the investigation by Japan’s General Headquarters (known commonly as the GHQ) and remained silent for decades after the war.

However, the fact that an American soldier died on Aioi-bashi Bridge became known to some of the public quite some time ago. Ota Yoko, an author who experienced the atomic bombing, had written a short story On the Mountain in the May issue of a magazine Gunzou (A Group of People), in 1953, the year after the San Francisco Peace Treaty came in effect.

“This is the epicenter, isn’t it?” murmured a skinny middle-aged driver. “Three days after the bombing, I was called to come from the countryside to collect the bodies, and I saw a foreign POW dead around 200m from here lying on his face with his hands in handcuffs…..”

This shows that newspapers reported the fact eight years after the event occurred. On July 19, 1959, the local Chugoku Newspaper reported the death of an American soldier in the evening issue under a shocking headline, “The A-Bomb dropped on American Soldiers as well!” Eleven years later, on July 10, 1970, the Daily Mainichi posted a eyewitness account of a person who saw the American soldier on Aioi-bashi Bridge. The article says that Mr. Fukuichi Kawamoto, who used to live beside the Atomic Bomb Dome, saw a young American soldier, dead, tied with wire to an electrical pole on the north end of Aioi-bashi Bridge on August 10, 1945. On August 6, Mr. Kawamoto was away from Hiroshima City on business, during his absence the A-Bomb exploded almost right above his home, killing his wife and three children. He came home on August 10 four days later, when he witnessed the dead US soldier tied to the electrical pole. Mr. Kawamoto, who had strong Buddhist faith, thoughtfully buried the body a few days later by the Motoyasu River, as the dead person was not to blame. He kept the blue shirt and shoes the body wore as private possessions. The body was excavated in 1947, and the ash was put in an urn together with other unidentified ashes of Japanese. The ashes were buried in the precinct of the Hiroshima Branch of Nishi-Honganji Temple. Several months before the publication of the newspaper article, Mr. Kawamoto had suddenly passed away from peritonitis at the age of 81, leaving a request in his will to send the ashes of the soldier to his next-of-kin in America. The article reported that the shoes were in the custody of Mrs. Kawamoto. Certainly, there was an American soldier on the Aioi-bashi Bridge. 


“I saw an American POW Massacred!”

Thirty-three years after the end of the Pacific War, a national newspaper of Japan posted an article under this title on August 2, 1978. It is a witness by a woman who was eighteen years old then, and she says she saw an American soldier being murdered on Aioi-bashi Bridge. The headline says as follows:

(Two days after the radiation, I saw a massacre of US POW/ Citizens throwing stones / Hiroshima Housewife bore witness 33 years later)

Posted beside the article are three pictures, which are a photo of the Roster of Deceased in the atomic bombing, the cover of the book of personal experiences of the A-Bomb: Burned by the Pika-Flash[3],   Witnesses from the Streets of the Black Rain Vol. 2”, and the face of the witness, who was a house wife. Let me introduce the details of the article. This woman was exposed to the radiation in a munitions factory in Yoshijima, Hiroshima-City on August 6, 1945. She did not have any visible injury on her body. In order to look for a sister two years younger than her, who was at Tenjin-cho, which is current Nakajima-cho, and was close to the epicenter, she started walking around the city on August 8. When she came near the Aioi-bashi Bridge, she heard a voice, “An American is killed”, so she hurried in that direction. An American soldier was tied with chains to the handrail of the east end of the bridge. Around ten Japanese people were surrounding him. Everyone was shouting, and some were throwing stones. She remembers the soldier was a young man of a large frame. Her comment was, “I’ll never want to see such misery again, nor want any of my children or grandchildren go through such an experience.” Close reading of the article shows that this housewife does not seem to tell, at least, whether the US soldier died because of the violence committed by the citizens or not. Rather it should be read that he had already died when she saw him. When I interviewed her, she told me that she stated very clearly to the journalist that the American soldier was already dead. She was aware that the journalist incorrectly recorded her statement. Then the headline “I saw American POW Massacred” is a mistake or an exaggerated expression. Actually, I later found and confirmed her own writing; nothing definite is recorded in the article regarding if a massacre occurred or not. In short, it can rightly be said that the headline of the article was an intentional misinterpretation of her account.


I found another record in THE JESUITS, The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church by Malachi Martin published by Simon & Schuster, New York in 1988. On p.351 the book holds an interesting account. A handsome American soldier was tied (presumably by Japanese people) to a pole on the Aioi-bashi Bridge, and an attached notice read that the pedestrians of the bridge should hit this American soldier. For a long time, I questioned if this account was true. And in the summer of 2005, I finally succeeded in finding a person who saw this notice. An American soldier was sitting close to the east edge with his legs lying forward and tied to the rail of the bridge around ten meters towards the center, and a notice was pasted behind him. He remembered a few words like Devil and Beast, the US and UK, kill and so on; however, no doubt, there was a notice, this witness told me.


As we have seen, there are inconsistencies among these articles, and even the American newspapers are not fully reliable. However, after posting of the word “Massacre”, the story that a tied-up American soldier was killed by Japanese citizens spread as if it were a fact, even though the woman who contributed her account to the article did not see actual slaughtering. It seems this issue became a concern to many people. Academicians and citizens related to Hiroshima began to state various presumptions. They also tried to find witnesses for supporting evidence. The date of death varied: every day from August 6 to 10, there were witnesses, “ I saw a dead American soldier”, with accounts that sounded plausible. The place also varied; the east or west end of the bridge, north side or south side, even such an extreme example as the soldier was in front of the Bank of Japan building, away from Aioi-bashi Bridge. Finally, even the number became uncertain: it was one, or actually there were two, and so on.

Which is correct, or could all of them be correct? Who was this American soldier and what was his condition when he was at the bridge? None of these facts were certain looking through the pictures. I decided to interview the people who painted or drew their memory of what they saw to hear their stories first hand. As each picture had the illustrator’s name on it, I contacted them and explained my intention, and met a number of people. The circumstance was different from person to person. The period of eyewitness reports was the three days from 6 to 8 of August: it was just one scene that they saw in one of those days. Most of them happened on August 7, but every one of them saw the soldier just for a short time.

It should have been so. The Aioi-bashi Bridge was located so close to the epicenter, and from 6 to 8 of August, there were still a lot of bodies scattered among the wreckage and debris, with quite a number of corpses and lumber and so on floating in the river under the bridge. On August 6, the central part of the city was still burning with the sky covered by black smoke. The smoke was eventually getting thinner on the 7th, and 8th of August. Because of such circumstances surrounding the Aioi-bashi Bridge, those who crossed the ruined bridge were limited to people with some particular reasons to do so. No one without any special personal matter to take care of in that area was there.

Then what were those personal reasons were there for people to be at the bridge and see the American soldier? In fact, everyone’s path to the bridge followed a similar pattern. The painters of the pictures I visited answered me unanimously as follows: “I went into the city from outside, searching for my family, and passed by the bridge.” Those people who saw the soldier had seen him either alive or dead. The memories of those who say “He was dead”, are separated into two. One group says that it seemed he died due to radiation exposure, as he looked uninjured. Another group of witnesses say there were stones scattered around the dead soldier, which suggested that Japanese people threw them at him, and the body was wounded.


A Watercolor Painting “A Murdered American”

His name is Mr. Tatsuro Tsukamae. He was a police man then, and immediately after the atomic bomb was dropped, he was stationed at the temporary police station established near Aioi-bashi Bridge. He witnessed the following:

Asahi Shumbum, Osaka Edition, newspaper story, 24 October 1999


“I happened to look forward and saw someone was coming towards me crawling on the ground. When I looked at him, he was an American. For an instant, I hesitated. Shall I help him, or leave him alone? On one of his legs was a metal ring like part of a fetter, and he seemed significantly weakened. “He won’t be able to survive.” As I thought this, my senior policeman who was stationed with me muttered, “He was also hit by the bomb they dropped.” He added, “He is a human being, same as us. Give him some water.” Mr. Tsukamae ran to him and gave him some water from his water bottle. After he drank some, the American soldier held his hand feebly as if he wanted to say something, but he collapsed on the spot.

Mr. Tsukamae did not hear the words that he wanted to say. It was impossible. What did he want to say? Who was this person, to begin with? There is no means now to confirm such facts. (Reference: A Recollection of an American Soldier, posted in The Asahi, October 24, 1999.)

The American soldier who Mr. Tsukamae saw had not been injured.


A U.S. Soldier and a Cup of Water

Tsukamae Tetsurô


Among the paintings of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the most famous one that depicts an American soldier is the one that describes an American, his upper body naked, who is dead lying on his face and tied to a bent electrical pole at an edge of Aioi-bashi Bridge. Its title is “A Murdered American”. The painting is symbolic of the tragedy of the atomic bombing. Twisted animosity is gushing out. He looks as if he was murdered, receiving all the anger of the Japanese people on himself from the families of those killed by the atomic bomb. The place is at the Aioi-bashi Bridge, which was the target of the US atomic weapon. It is a rich watercolor painting of 28.5x20.5 cm in size, and depicted realistically. In the picture is written “August 7, around 3 o’clock. A young man, a Westerner, was beaten to death.” The painter is Mr. Takumyo Kasumi. The Western young man looks considerably wounded. He might have died because of the wounds. I phoned Mr. Takumyo so that I’d be able to directly confirm with him.

It was around 3:00p.m. in the afternoon. Mr. Takumyo was a fifteen-year-old boy at the time. His mother and younger sister had come to Hiroshima from their home on an island of the Seto Inland Sea, and were missing since then. So he was anxiously searching for them in Hiroshima City. When he came by Aioi-bashi Bridge, he saw an unusual sight. Across from a group of several people, he saw a Western young man, whose upper body was naked and who, wearing a stripe-patterned underwear, was tied to a twisted pole with his hands bound behind his back. At his feet were some sticks and stones with blood on them; his head was bleeding and on his face were some bloodstains. Those Japanese people at the scene were shouting, “Hiroshima was destroyed because of this bastard!” It was as if this Western young man had been the person responsible for the bombing.

I asked Mr. Takumyo if the foreign young man who he saw was alive, or was already dead. “He was dead.”

Then why did he write in the picture he was “beaten to death”? Did he see the man being beaten?  “Near the corpse were sticks and stones with blood on them, so I was sure this Western young man had been killed just before I saw him.”


Although he is not one of the painters of the atomic bomb pictures, Mr. Tadao Matsuki, who was nine years old then, had also seen an American soldier on the afternoon of August 6. It was on his way back from the Chugoku Army Headquarters in Hiroshima, where he went with his father while pulling a trolley (cart?), that he passed by Aioi-bashi Bridge. At the handrail of the bridge a number of people gathered watching something. As he peeked from behind with fear, he saw an American soldier sitting with his long legs outstretched and his hands tied behind his back. He looked like a man whose soul had left him. On the railing behind him was a piece of paper pasted. The written letters were in black, but he did not remember what was written there. In Mr. Matsuki’s memories, the soldier did not look as if he had been assaulted. 

This episode has an important point in it, which is not described in a lot of atomic bomb illustrations.As I mentioned before, a “story of an American soldier who died at Aioi-bashi Bridge” was told in America also, and in that episode, a paper was pasted on his body that said “Those who pass by, beat this guy.” However, even though I met a lot of people, listening to their accounts, I had never heard any witnesses about a pasted notice. Therefore, I thought it must have been either a notice was pasted on the body or the railing, and was looking for witnesses who remembered a pasted notice. Finally, I could have an opportunity to meet Mr. Matsuki. Although he did not remember the content of the signboard, there was a signboard. Therefore, certainly a notice seemed to have been there.


Let me introduce another witness given by Mr. Nakamura Toshiaki (a fictitious name). By the way, the reason why I introduce Mr. Nakamura under a fictitious name is, because while he had spoken publicly about what he saw about an American soldier, he started to receive a lot of counter opinions from the TV program audience. Some of them were so insensitive that he finally decided he would never appear in any program of mass communication using his real name. Mr. Nakamura was a photographer. On August 7, or 8, he passed by Aioi-bashi Bridge just after noon. An American soldier was lying on the bridge. Mr. Nakamura stared at him. He tried to bury the man. Finally, I could meet Mr. Nakamura through his memory, instead of a camera. According to his memory, there were no injuries on the body, and it seemed the man had just died. Even though war was still going on, the American soldier who died in a foreign country certainly must have parents. He thought of them; how much they would grieve if they knew the death of their son. The only saving grace was that fortunately there were no traces of the young man’s having been treated cruelly, Mr. Nakamura told me.

“Do you remember the American soldier?” I asked Mr. Nakamura. He responded as follows: I am a professional photographer. I have taken photos of more than 20,000 people in the past, but I remember all the faces of them. In fact, I fortunately carried with me a scrap of the Chugoku Newspaper article issued on November 28, 1990. I took it out, and asked, “Is he in this group photo?” With no hesitation at all, he pointed to one of the American soldiers. “That’s him.” The article held a group photo of the crew of an aircraft, the Lonesome Lady. The person Mr. Nakamura indicated was Sgt. Atkinson, who was on the left of the front line.


In the first place, how many American POW soldiers were in Hiroshima, and how many of them died from radiation exposure? Those who survived–– how was it that they were able to return home alive? A lot of questions rose in my heart. As one of the hibakusha, my determination to resolve those questions grew stronger.


[1] The pilot and commanding officer of the Lonesome Lady reported that replacement crew member Neal was a lower ball turret gunner.

[2] The name of the ship Wreathe has not been confirmed. He returned to the United States from the Philippines on the hospital ship  Benevolence.

[3] Pika-Flash was an early colloquial term used by people of Hiroshima to describe the atomic bomb.