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HASHIMOTO Yoshiko interview, June 2011, part 4

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The water was so cold. As I plunged from the burning hot ground into the icy river, it gave a great impact on my body. I felt as if my skin was tearing off and stabbing all over. The water in the river was relatively abundant and thus my baby and I were saved. It was ordinarily a local river in which sludges were floating on the surface. If we dive in it carelessly, we'd surely sink bubbling. I stretched my legs carefully and they even couldn't reach at the river bottom filled with sludges. Therefore, water was abundant in the river. I desperately swam to the drifting raft and laid my baby on it. Then I was splashing water on him. You might be wondering why I splashed water on my baby in the river. As I said earlier, sparks of fire attacked us. While I was holding to the raft, a flurry of sparks blew against us. Therefore, it was unsafe if I didn't make repeated attempts to dip my head in the water or pour some water on my baby's body. That's why I dashed water on us. A large number of people threw themselves into the river, and some dead bodies were floating in the water. Many people dived into the water and lost their lives. I was frantically trying to splash water on us. Thus I didn't have a good grip of the situation around us then. I was just sprinkling water on my baby. In the meantime, a small boat passed by the raft. I saw two men were on it. I frantically cried, "Help me!" They drew the boat near us and caught my baby in their arms. They also let me get on the boat. While we were on the boat, dawn broke. Looking around, I saw bodies lying in a heap. The two men found a bicycle-drawn cart somewhere in the ruins of a fire and carried me to the hospital by that. Thanks to them, I was saved. I owe it to them that I'm still alive. Therefore, it's a miracle that I'm alive now. It's none other than a "miracle." As I was carried away to the hospital on the bicycle trailer, we passed through the Mitsume Street, which I had run through desperately and has now been reduced to the burned field. So many people had tried to run away jostling with each other on the Mitsume Street. Being dragged by the bicycle trailer, I just saw a few persons walking sporadically there. However, when I fixed my eyes on the slightly elevated area, I saw a heap of human corpses. There were a number of bodies which looked like mannequins or dead trees. I also saw the corpses whose blistered faces were swollen to double or triple the sizes. Passing by the numerous number of miserable bodies, the two men kindly carried me to the hospital. One was a rice dealer and the other was a postman. I knew nothing about them except their occupations because we were in a disordered situation and I couldn't ask their names. Anyway, I'm alive now thanks to the two men's kindness. I could survive while a large number of people lost their lives. My life will also end in due time but, before that, I should talk about some of my experiences in place of the victims. For me, it's heartbreaking to talk, but I'm trying to do my best for that. Fortunately, my baby was saved. The following day I, holding my baby in my arms, headed for the army post in which my husband had been assigned. At the same time, my second sister, who had remained under the railroad overpass of the Sobu Line to protect our family belongings, came to see me carrying our youngest sister on her back. The youngest had her whole body bandaged because of serious burns. On the other hand, my third sister, who had run away holding the rice-cooking pot, and my parents, who had left an air raid hood for me, never came back. Also, their bodies were not found. That's my air raid experience. Believing that we should never make war again, I cry against war at every opportunity. That's all. -- Thank you very much. --

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 13 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Genre: None
Producer: JapanAirRaids.org
Views: 299
Posted by: japanairraids on Aug 18, 2011

Interview with HASHIMOTO Yoshiko, survivor of the March 10, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo by the United States Army Air Forces. Posted by JapanAirRaids.org.

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