This is a true story. My father was a victim of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima (*19) on the 6th of August 1945.

While I was growing up, I was aware of this fact, but he didn’t seem to want to talk about it so I didn’t really bother to ask. All I knew was that he was injured on his way to school and that he was cured by cucumbers. It was only until the time when he decided to write what he experienced that anyone found out what he had been through.

Being pursuaded by so many people for decades, my father finally decided to write a record of his experience of the Hiroshima atomic bomb 50 years after the war. After reading his record, in 2000, I translated his Japanese script into English. This bilingual record has since been archived at the Imperial War Museum in London, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims in Japan. I am sharing it here on this site, abombhiroshima.wordpress.com for those who may wish to know more.

It is often said that history repeats itself. I believe this is because we close our eyes to what we do not wish to see. For better or worse, we all need to know the truth. I believe it is important to disclose the facts and to learn from our mistakes. I felt it my duty to translate my father’s unfortunate experience so that we could acknowledge the difference between right and wrong.

If we were to point our fingers at the bad guys, I believe it is “ the war”. It is a fact that The United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki, but ultimately I believe war is to blame. War manipulates you to do unimaginable things.

My father was rated as a first-degree victim of the atomic bomb, the worst of all the degrees. My mother was also affected by the bomb and was rated as a second-degree victim. She went in to Hiroshima City to help the casualties the day after the bomb was dropped. No one was aware of the danger in this, and being a schoolgirl, she did as the teachers told her. Being a schoolgirl during the war, instead of studying, she had to help in the factories putting together bolts and knobs that she had no clue what they were for. When the atomic bomb was dropped, there were so many casualties that she had to help the injured who were rescued into hospitals and schools. I remember her telling me that since she had never seen so many injured people bleeding, screaming, burnt, gone insane or dead, she was extremely scared. She breathed the contaminated air and vomited yellow fluid.

Since my parents were “Hibakusha” (someone who was affected by the atomic bomb), my brother and I are both “Hibakusha” second generation. We would have to live with the question whether anything might happen to us. We could never be certain, since this use of the atomic bomb on us civilians was the very first. Nonetheless, I thank God for giving us all the chance to live.

Years later, my father was posted to the United States on business, and for this reason, our family lived in Los Angeles for over 10 years, where I spent my early school days. Though I have been working in London since 1996 and have become accustomed to the life here in England, I still speak English with an American accent. My brother was also posted to the United States and has lived in Houston and Los Angeles with his family for almost 10 years. We seem to have a strong relationship with this country.

I asked my father how he felt when he was told to work in America, as I would have imagined that he must have had mixed feelings. He told me that he tried to completely erase the memory of the atomic bomb from his mind, so that wasn’t the case at all. That is why I believe he now considers the United States as his second home.

My father has no scars or marks left from the burns, which is amazingly miraculous. In fact, for a man his age, I have heard some people comment that he has beautiful skin, which I agree as well. I know for sure that cucumbers work for burns since I have tried it myself. I was never severely burned, but I found that applying pure cucumber to burns does work much more effectively than any ointment that I’ve tried.

Thank you for reading my translation of my father’s experience. Let us hope that the world will be filled with peace and love for all eternity.

Toshiko Kobatake

recent photo of Dad in LondonThis is my father, when he came to visit me in London.