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HASHIMOTO Yoshiko air raid account, August 2009, part 1

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"Asakusa is being bombed! It's bright red!" I heard them yelling and went out to get a look from the street myself. It was as light as midday. The sky was a bright red over whole area from the west of our house to the Asakusa neighborhoods. The B-29s usually looked tiny in the sky, but not on this night. They were huge. They looked like battleships or something. Huge, flying battleships.... And they were emitting a steady hail of incendiary bombs from their fuselages. Tall columns of flame would then erupt upward under the planes. The sound they made was like a sudden rainstorm. My mother was screaming, "Yoshiko, go take shelter under the railroad overpass!" The Sobu Line ran near my house. That's why she was yelling to take shelter beneath the overpass. I ran as quickly as I could and waited for the rest of my family under the Sobu Line railroad. By the time my family arrived (one of my sisters had a bicycle cart loaded with goods and my father was carrying a kettle of water), a corner of the neighborhood was in flames. A strong wind was blowing it our way. My father spoke up. "Wait a minute, we're not going to be safe here! The bombers will aim for the railroad. We've got to head somewhere else!" Unfortunately, there was really nowhere else to go. It was glowing red in every direction. I wondered where we could possibly escape to. There was a river, the Tategawa River, that ran parallel to the Sobu Line. My father said we should head there. I thought the suggestion made sense and was ready to follow him, but my sister Chieko (my parents' second daughter) said she would stay there. "I'll stay here to watch our things!" Everything was rationed in those days. You couldn't even buy a string without tickets... We had no choice but to leave her. There was no time for persuasion. So we left here behind and headed on for the Tategawa River. In order to reach there, we had to take the large Mitsume-Dori street. We had to follow it down to the Sannohashi Bridge. So that's what we did. We turned onto the Mitsume-Dori street. It was already chaotic. There were so many people there. Just a blackened tide of people, people, people... And everyone was heading on foot for the Sannohashi Bridge. It was within this mob that my mother and father held tightly to my youngest sister's hands from each side as we all fled the flames. I had one more sister named Etsuko. She was a quick runner and had been a relay athlete. Looking back I can only wonder why, but on that night she was struggling to carry a large pot. We'd just received a ration of rice, you see, and it was inside that pot. She was holding firm to it and running along the street. She was such a kindhearted girl. She just wanted to make sure we'd all have food once we were together again. In those days, just a bit of rice and salt was considered a great meal... So she held on to that pot and kept on walking. It was so dangerous... There were many air raid trenches dug alongside the road. I was so afraid that she'd trip and fall into one of them. Just as I'd feared, I head a thump and looked back, but I couldn't see her anymore. I called out to her, "Ecchan, be careful!" Then I heard her call back, "I'm okay!" so I turned back and was again caught up in the rushing crowd. Just then I heard her voice once more, "Wait, Yoshiko..." I thought I heard her say that... I knew it was dangerous and that voice of hers... I was beside myself. "Ecchan! Ecchan!" The distance between us gradually increased. I finally lost site of her. Once we reached the Sannohashi Bridge I waited for Etsuko to arrive, but that voice of hers calling out to me was the last time I'd ever hear her. Who knows where she went... I've never heard her voice again. When my father, mother, youngest sister and I reached the bridge it was overflowing with people. There were warehouses on each end that had caught on fire and were burning strong.

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 43 seconds
Country: United States
Language: Japanese
Genre: None
Views: 82
Posted by: japanairraids on Sep 14, 2010

HASHIMOTO Yoshiko air raid account, August 2009, part 1

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