Remarks by Junji Sarashina

Remarks by Junji Sarashina at PSR-LA’s “Never Again – 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration” held on August 5, 2015.

Junji Sarashina, American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors

Junji Sarashina, American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors. Photo EPA/Mike Nelson

I was 16 years old when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Seventy years later, look at me, you can tell I’m a survivor. I have numerous problems physically. I don’t know if it was caused by atomic bomb or old age. Cancer, back pain, leg problems. And a little bit mental problem. That’s what my wife says. The bomb was dropped with the orange flash. I was flat on the ground, knocked down on the ground. The building collapsed and blood was flying. I couldn’t see a thing. I couldn’t hear anything. I thought I was a dead dog. Somehow, I realized that I’m still alive. I was covered with a thousand pieces of glass, broken glass and yet I didn’t have a scratch on my body.

First thing that came to my mind is I have to go to the first aid station to see what they can do for me. I walked to the first aid station and the nurse standing there, in the white clothes, covered with blood, I couldn’t even recognize her face. Shrapnel from the broken glass covered her. She couldn’t speak. She opened her mouth and I pulled out about one inch square of broken glass and I just pulled the thing out of her mouth. I tried to get some bandage, medicine from that first aid station. Everything’s locked. He can’t find a key. I somehow busted, kicked open the first aid box. It advises, ‘in case of emergency you don’t store any important medical medicine in a locked box.” So anyone can go there, anybody can open it without the key.

I tried to go to the city of Hiroshima. I was about a mile and a half away… Thank you all for praying for all the atomic bomb victims. In Hiroshima, approximately 140,000 people died. In Nagasaki, approximately 74,000 people died. It is a very sad case. War is war but to see that many people dead is a very very sad thing. I tried to enter the city of Hiroshima but I couldn’t the whole city’s burning. The following day, we were allowed to walk in to the city of Hiroshima. I went to the high school then but couldn’t find the school because it was flat, burned, everything ashes. At the school, there was a swimming pool. I tried to pull a kid out of the pool. The only thing I was able to pull out was his skin. It peeled all off. They were all burned.

I have seen about five thousand dead and wounded people laying on the ground. Medical help the first day was impossible because all the doctors and nurses were also wounded. And the Red Cross, I went there and the whole yard, about the size of what you see here, was covered with wounded or dead. Inside the hospital of the Red Cross, all the nurses and all the doctors were in there too, dead. A few days later the doctors from the suburbs came in to help. They treated the victims and they stayed in Hiroshima to take care of the wounded.

The worst thing is one month later, the doctors are combing their hair and started to lose all their hair. The started to have red spots here and there. The radiation. The victims too. The mother, the parents, when they know that their daughter, sons and loved ones are in city of Hiroshima. They came to the city of Hiroshima to find their daughters, sons and loved ones. When they couldn’t find their daughters or loved ones, they came back the day after, and the day after, trying to find them. What happened to the mothers that came to the city? Exactly the same thing. They lost their hair and they became the victims of the radiation sickness.

Supposed some bomb dropped in Santa Monica and you know your sons and daughters, husband and loved ones is in the city of Santa Monica, would you go into the city of Santa Monica or leave it alone? “I’m going to stay home.” I’m sure the parents are human. You are going into the city of Santa Monica just like the people did in the city of Hiroshima. The result is obvious as I told you earlier. I have seen 5,000, 6,000 wounded and dead but I can clearly remember 70 years later a mother clinging onto her brown bundle of her baby, her baby just brown and burnt and black. War is war however when you see that little baby, that’s a very touchy thing.

We have to have peace. We have to have the world without the war and definitely we shouldn’t have any nuclear weapon to win a war. Our future is, the bombs are getting bigger and more powerful. We have to have peace.

Thank you very much for attending this and if you have any questions about the site or Hiroshima, at least whatever I know as I was there in Hiroshima, I might be able to tell you more about it.