I read in section 1 like "August 6th.
I departed Miyajima as usual." This means the morning of the 6th of August was an ordinary beginning of a day as usual...
While I was reading the Terao memoir, tear oozed up in my eyes and I couldn't continue to read any more. Fifty years have passed since the end of the war. Some people say the postwar era was over, but I feel the "postwar" is everlasting in the hearts of those who actually experienced the war. Their clocks in the heart look like to freeze at 6th August, 1945.
We still have wars and nuclear tests everywhere on the planet earth. Of all life on earth, only human being is a foolish creature that can' not learn anything from mistakes it made.
I would have been happy if I could have read the memoir on real time basis when it was released on the net and could have exchanged words with Mr.Terao.
The late Mr.Terao, thank you for your efforts to put your hard memory onto the memoir. Dear Mr.Matsumura, I also appreciate your arrangement of such an opportunity to make me, just a new comer to COARA, encounter the memoir.
Masako Uratsuka Hita JAPAN 9 July,1996
Yes, it is.
Dear Ms.Kimura, I agree with you.
Mr.Matsumura has kindly re-posted the memoir which made me time slip 6 years, no, 51 years ago.
I have made up my mind to print out the memoir for archives. I believe it is us, who actually experienced the war, to hand down the tragedy of the war to the next generation. I preserved the memoir so as to it should be read as many people as possible.
The other day, I learned by accident that a friend of mine was taught by Mr. Terao in her school days. I noticed her on the pass away of Mr.Terao and the existence of his posthumous manuscript. She was aware of the fact that Mr.Terao had experienced A-bomb. He went home hugging a copy of the manuscript I handed her. Later she told me she read the memoir repeatedly with her husband. She appreciated me with tears in her eyes.
Who could have imagined then that such peace could come to us. We should by no means forget the fact that today's peace was brought in exchange with millions of precious lives of war victims of our country and the other countries as well.
It is the Terao memoir that has the highest valued posting since COARA was born. As Ms.Kimura says, I pray the memoir be read by much more people.
Mr.Matsumura, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your efforts.
It is 6th August today. Although I can not express properly, but please let me write on what I feel now. I read the memoir by Mr.Terao right after I heard of it from Mr.Matsumura.
It may sound somewhat strange to say that it is really lucky for me to have been involved in an interactive personal computer communication network, COARA. I think it is this media that makes me interpret and appreciate Mr.Terao's serious, bitter life for over 50 years even though I hadn't actually got acquainted with him. Papers and TV programs that send out information unilaterally couldn't have touched my soul so deeply like this.
It is the 51st anniversary of the A-bombing this year.
But different from the last year, the 50th punctuate anniversary, I can read very few articles and hear few discussions on the theme.
Has it already been filed in the archives? I don't think so.
The hibakushas are still suffering from the bitter lives.
Nuclear tests are being carried out even now.
We haven't eliminated wars from the planet earth so far.
We mustn't put an end to Hiroshima and to Nagasaki yet.
That is what should not be erased from the hearts of the people.
I am going to tell my friends about the home page.
Every time I read the memoir, tears comes up to my eyes. How bitter it was for Mr.Terao to post the memoir to COARA net. I really appreciate the late Mr.Terao.
I would have been happy if I could have joined COARA earlier and could have exchanged words with Mr.Terao.
Dear Mr.Matsumura, I also really thank you for your arrangement of such an opportunity to encounter the memoir.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for making me aware of the link in your Bon page. On Saturday morning, I spent an hour at school, reading the "Personal Record of Hiroshima A-bomb Survival". I was shocked. I cannot find suitable words for comments.
Probably only a Hibakusha (and other victims of a war) can understand the panic which the late Mr. Terao must have felt whenever memories came up to his mind. I hope that he could finally achieve peace of mind by sharing his memories with others. I know people who still get an uneasy feeling and goose-flesh whenever they hear the sound of a siren and big propeller-driven planes.
Like probably most people, I hope that mankind never again will go through the hell of a war. But to this point, I am rather pessimistic. There have been so many wars since 1945. Even in "civilised" Europe we witnessed war crimes recently. People do not learn easily; or they forget their lessons. Therefore the lesson has constantly to be repeated. In addition, we must not allow that there still are people who earn by a war, either wealth or power or honour.
Dear Ms. Nagano,
I am glad you have included the link to Ryoji Matsumura's site which includes Mr. Terao's personal account of his Hiroshima experience. From the time my Grandad told me, when I was small, about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, I have felt anger, pity, sorrow and pain that they occurred. I have widely read the history, seen the films and photographs, and heard the reasons for the bombings. My very strong opinion is that no reason is good enough for such horror. All people of the world should be fully informed and constantly reminded of such atrocities.
Unfortunately we cannot ask Mr. Terao why he stopped writing at that point about his Hiroshima A-bomb experiences. Is it because he could not continue, though he actually wanted to go on at heart, or because he was disgusted to continue writing? Nobody knows. Personally I wanted to hear more from him. Nevertheless vivid descriptions of the Hiroshima scenes convey misery of the A bombing. It makes me sad that soon we can no longer directly hear from the A bomb victims when the generation changes. This incident will be treated as a page in the wartime history.
As I read Mr. Terao's essay, I experienced many different feelings and ideas. I first thought about the horror of his experience, and the numb shock which he felt in such an incredible situation. Then I considered the lingering scars, both mental and physical, endured by survivors of the event. I feel great sorrow for their suffering and pain. Although I thought for a long time about Mr. Terao's personal memories, I was eventually forced to consider war itself. The terrible suffering Mr. Terao describes is even more painful because it was not the result of unfortunate natural events - it was the result of deliberate human action - an act of war. All the destruction and pain happened because one group of people was willing to hurt and kill another group of human beings. That strange situation, we call "War." By describing the hideous (ugly) consequences of war, Mr. Terao makes it clear to us how important a peaceful world is.
To create and maintain peace, however, we need to understand the causes of war. What need is so strong that people would kill in order to satisfy it? What kind of man would kill another man? Some good answers to those question were presented more than two thousand years ago. In The Republic, the Greek philosopher Plato writes about his teacher Socrates, and his search for a "Just" (fair and perfect) society. Socrates concludes that the best society is a simple one, with few luxuries. This society would always be at peace, he says, because they would own nothing that would be desirable to other people. This argument reminds me of the Spanish conquest of South America. The simple presence of gold resulted in the destruction of an entire civilization, and the loss of millions of lives - all to satisfy man's greed.
Socrates believed that men exist at three levels of development - It seems to me that these levels are good indicators of a man's tendency to use violence against others. The first level is one of survival - of satisfying basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and reproduction. It is a very physical level, where a person is concerned only with their personal welfare. A man at this level might easily harm someone who threatens his comfort or safety.
The second level is one of mental awareness, where a man's actions are intended to command respect and admiration from others. The concepts of fame, honor, and wealth become known here. This man may not kill for survival, but he will willingly make war to acquire wealth and fame.
The third and final level is one of understanding and reason - one of intellect, and perhaps spirituality. At this point, a man recognizes the absurdity of self-glorification. It is here that he understands compassion, and his connection with all other men. Here, a man makes decisions based on the greatest benefit (good) for the largest number of people. He is the person least likely to harm another human being. This is the level of Socrates' ideal ruler - the philosopher-king.
From the previous descriptions, it seems clear that our problems today are the logical result of level-1 citizens ruled by level-2 governments. That is, ignorant people choosing ignorant leaders. It is understandable that an abused, desperate populace might select an incompetent and destructive leader who promises to relieve their suffering. In the 1930's, a demoralized and chaotic Germany saw Adolf Hitler as the answer to all their problems. Millions of people died as the result of that tragic mistake. A more educated people might have been less willing to accept Hitler's hatred of Jews or his absurd claims of racial superiority.
Education, then, is critically important in advancing the cause of peace. Ordinary studies, however, will do little to assist us. Reasoned thought and awareness will best develop when we acknowledge the value of introspection, philosophical inquiry, and responsible, compassionate behavior. Sadly, our most advanced societies today are based entirely on production and consumption. Few people are even aware that life can offer more than physical satisfaction and personal gain.
A life that transcends materialism is not only possible, however, it is immensely pleasurable. It offers an escape from foolish imaginary "needs," as well as the tremendous enjoyment of helping others. Although few of us may attain the kind of enlightened existence enjoyed by a philosopher-king, we can all act to improve our understanding of the world, and to help those around us do the same. When assisting and caring for one another becomes a top global priority, then peace on earth will easily be attained.
I have here accessed upon reading the Asahi Shimbun morning edition of 22nd September.
As I am a member of senior health care facility, I have daily contacts with Hibakushas.
My grand father is one of the survival of then Akatsuki troops. He had the right to get a "Hibakusha certificate" but daren't get it.
He never talked me, his grandson, but I think he has too much to talk thoroughly on his experience of the war. I can't ask him strongly to talk it, but I hope he would voluntarily open his mouth to hand down his experience like the late Mr.Terao for next generation.
I think your work is quite significant. I hope you do your best from now on.
My name is Daigo Kanda. I am a teacher in Nara prefecture. I have a class of the sixth grade of the elementary school. We will make a school excursion to Hiroshima from 7 through 8 of November. I am now teaching peace education in the school.
When I was looking for information about the A-bomb through the Internet, I encountered the Terao memoir of "A personal record of Hiroshima A-bomb Survival." I have seen the pictures and movies of the tragedy, but I read the memoir with the sense of a cold shiver running down my spine. It is really heartbreaking to think about why Mr. Terao hadn't talked on his experience of the exposure.
I was born in Hiroshima. My grandfather was also exposed to the A-bomb at a factory in Ujina district which was in the same distance (I suppose) from the Hypocenter as the factory where Mr. Terao was. I have never heard about the A-bomb from him because he died when I was six years old. My father told me on grandfather's experience instead. My grandfather had been in the factory when the flash took place. Those people who were outside of the factory dashed into the building, and on the contrary, those who were out rushed out. As the result, my grandfather didn't see the flash and was not affected by the blast.
This is why I couldn't read Mr. Terao's memoir calmly. I feel as if Mr. Terao told me instead of my grandfather who never talked in detail his experience to the family.
After tomorrow, I will resume to prepare the school excursion with 27 students of the sixth grade. May I introduce this precious Memoir to my pupils?
Daigo Kanda, 28 years old
The response from the editor. 4 Nov.1996
Thank you for your reading. Please introduce the Memoir it to your pupils. Today, the A-bomb and the war are treated as the historical facts in the school texts of the social studies. In this situation, how can I hand down to the next generation about the opposite presence of "nuclear weapon" or "war" against the existence of the human kind? This was what I ponder by reading the Memoir and through my editorial work on it. The late Mr. Terao, who had also been a teacher like you, would be very pleased in the heaven if his words can leave any trace of mark in young pupils' mind at their age. I wish that you make a fruitful school excursion.Daigo Kanda 5 Nov. 1996
Mr. Kanda, may I repost your comment on Terao Memoir to our web? I hope to develop Mr. Terao's will by adding messages and comments of the readers to our site. I am happy if you agree it. Also any impression from your pupils is welcomed.
Please repost my comment of "My impression on the Terao Memoir." Today, I saw a pupil of another class searching for the record of the war. As he couldn't by any means have found anybody to ask about the war, he accessed to the Internet and finally came up to the Memoir. He has summed up his impression to a report. The teacher of that class said he had also read the Memoir with vivid impression. The coincidence is rally rare, indeed. Though I am not sure how far I can make my pupils digest the contents of the Memoir, I will make my best.
I will report you the result. Thank you very much.
Daigo Kanda, Nara city
I have been meaning to write to you for some time now after reading Terao-san's memoirs and the replies of other readers. I didn't, and so now again, at the end of the year, I have re-read some of them.
They still bring tears to my eyes, but they also help me to meditate and reflect on life. The year end is the time to do this, the time to give thanks for being alive and for what blessings we have.
Reading your web site has reminded me of all the good people in the world, and how some people have turned evil in their lives around to the good of others. This is what Terao-san did, to some great cost to himself. His words though, bring out the kindness and charity of others, especially the young people -- what a great monument! I'm sure his soul must be extremely happy! He and the others have made me think, and I feel, helped me to grow as a person.
I live a busy life in New York, going out, travelling, entertaining: it is good for me to have something like the memoirs to read to keep my priorities in balance. Thank you and the other COARA members for making this possible.
I hope you all have a healthy and happy New Year, and that you will keep up the good work! Candace Veth
The response from the editor. 1 Jan.1997
Dear Candace Veth,Candace Veth :1.January.1997
Thank you very much for your message. I wish you a happy new year. What is it like the new year in New York?
The article of the Terao memoir always bring tears to my eyes whenever I, the editor, read back it. He had experienced not only the war but also the direct exposure to the A-bomb which had given the spiritual and physical agony that nothing can exceed them. He had been suffered the scar of the experience for more than fifty years. We have learned very much from his appeal welling up from the bottom of his heart.
Mr.Terao hadn't talk for fifty years about the bitter experience that should have been erased from memory. But he finally opened his mouth in the communication network through the pesonal computer. His brave confession gave me the greatest shock I ever experienced and it made me think of the meaning of life.
I firmly believe the Memoir should be read by all the people beyond borders, races, and cultures as the monument of the whole mankind. It should be handed down forever to the generations to come.
I wish the year of 1997 will be a wonderful year and I wish the day will come when I can report the late Mr.Terao under the ground saying "We have at last eliminated all the nuclear weapons on the globe." Under the wish of this, I would like welcome the first sunrise of the new year. Please stay on our site from now on.
I wish the new year will be bright and fruitful for Ms.Candace Veth.
I am very happy if you allow me to post your precious message on the "Messages from the readers" section of the net. I would like to develop the Memoir by adding messages and comments from the readers to make it more interactive site step by step.
Thank you for your kind message and thoughts. You ask what the New Year in New York is, and I can answer in one word --cold! It's about -9 celsius, so my husband and I have pretty much stayed in the house all day.
Sometimes I think the world is not a very good place, but when I read things like the Memoirs, some of the replies and even your message to me, I feel better because I know there are many good people out there.
And good can come of evil: Mr. Terao paid a high price, but he did do good on this earth by writing his memoirs. Look how many people he has brought together by doing this, and how he has made so many of us think and finally realize the value of life and the stupidity of nuclear weapons.
I think it was God's will that made him hold in his feelings until the age of computers and until he met you COARA people.
Again, thank you for sharing this with us.
Please feel free to post my message -- I am quite honored! Now I will have something exciting to talk about back at my office tomorrow.
All the best for 1997, and please keep in touch.
As an American, I can only read with horror Terao-san's account of the nightmare of Hiroshima. And as an American, I bear part of my country's collective guilt over what we inflicted on that terrible, terrible day in 1945.
I had the great honor of living in Japan, from 1957-1960, when I was a small boy. My memories of those times, although dim, still remain with me. I recall with pleasure the happiness of those days, and the graciousness with which the Japanese people treated a young boy from a foreign land.
I also had the honor of ascending Fujiyama; I stayed in a mountain lodge on the sacred mountain, and reached the summit the next morning.
My fervent hope and plea is that never, never again will the world go to war with itself as it has so many times before, and that my Japanese brothers and sisters will lead the rest of us in ridding the planet once and for all time of the obscenity of nuclear weapons.
(Mr.) Robin Sheppard
Napa, California, USA
The response from the editor. 20 January.1997
Dear Robin Sheppard,
Thank you for your message.
I was deeply moved by reading your favor for Japan, love to your mother country, and your strong will to materialize the world peace.
The message that began "As an American" deeply penetrated my heart. "As a Japanese", I can't but examine our own mistakes not only we made in the past but also we are still making today.
In human society, our culture has already fully matured and science has been in progress to wide extent. But we can't still eliminate the war in which man hates and kills each other. This is a big contradiction. Whenever I hear Mr.Terao's cry of heart, I come to the belief that we have to ponder over the problem not as "a constituent of a nation" but as "an individual."
When I read back the Terao Memoir, I realized anew that there is no piece of word either "America" or "Japan." He talked quietly only about his nightmare which he wanted to erase from his memory.
He summed up his account just saying "NEVER AGAIN SUCH A THING." He never used words like "nuclear weapon" or "war" but merely expressed "such a thing." I believe this simple expression can't come from any other place than his own bitter experience that scared his soul so deeply.
Mr. Terao directed his words toward neither government nor society but toward the deepest bottom of the heart each of us. I understand what he hoped through his bitter confess was to appeal his faith that real peace was born and grew from there.
A small milestone was set by an elder who confessed his actual experience of the A-bomb, who saw a hell on earth, and who suffered fifty years with mental scar and unrest of radioactivity that might have damaged himself and his descendants. I would like to develop this tiny movement to bring his cry into the heart of all the people around the world. This is why I prepared this site.
I am happy if you help our site hereinafter and stay in touch with me as well.
The editor of "The personal account of A-bomb survival"
It may be somewhat hard for me, who knows nothing about the war, to thoroughly understand the Terao Memoir.
Still I have to learn the tragedy of actual war in order to lay deep in my mind that we should never wage war or allow it to exist. Also I must feel the pain and resentment of the victims to comfort their souls at all.
I think that during the war, people were inspired to hate their enemy and justify the actions of their mother land. Or they even assisted in promoting the war. Who was to blame? I have long been wondering about it.
I understand that those people who fought the war at the front, and those who were forced to manufacture the weapons behind the scenes, had no choice then. Even the supreme leaders might have gone mad at that time. We have to hate war itself rather than somebody involved in it.
We were born in a peaceful time. We tend to look at war as something cool and exciting.
I often find myself indulged in simulated video war games or watching war movies for fun. This is probably because I don't know at all the actual tragedy of real war.
I understand, no doubt, that the war victims must feel very sad to see us behaving like this.
With the help of all the people who courageously spoke out like the late Mr. Terao, I must carve their teachings deep into my heart, so as not to repeat the mistake. Finally, I made up my mind to hand down the Memoir to the next generation by myself.
Dear Mr. Terao, please watch us in heaven.
I don't like to hate a country itself or the people living in it. What I do hate are deeds like the "A-bombing" and "War." (I feel those words may not be appropriate but I don't know a better way to express my feelings.)
I say"No" to the "A-bomb" and to "War." This in not because I am a Japanese but because I am a human being. If we can consider the matter from a different point of view, apart from our mother country, or if we can think of it from a larger scale, not dividing the globe by borders, we will probably be able to create a "better" world.
But it is not right to turn my back to what my country, Japan, did in the past. In my school days, I was taught much about how my country "suffered" from other countries. But I don't have any memory that I have read in the textbook about what we "did" to other nations. What we did I heard on my own after I grew up.
We learn "history" for the future, to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Each of us should help create a peaceful world. This should be our answer to the late Mr. Terao, to those who were exposed to the A-bomb, to the victims of the war.
I read the "the comment from the editor" by Mr. Matsumura.
Many Japanese, in trying to gain a complete picture of historical events, have learned about Japan's war crimes during the Imperialist time period. These Japanese often feel a strong sense of guilt for the mistakes of their parents and grandparents. It is natural that they would feel shame and regret for any association with cruel deeds or bad judgement, but I hope that the post-war Japanese do not feel personal responsibility for the actions of their ancestors.
It is true that many Asians, particularly Chineses and Koreans, are still angry with statements and policies of the Japanese government. Perhaps some of their feelings about the government are justified - but to direct their anger at peaceful and compassionate people in Japan is a sad mistake.
I cannot speak for everyone else in the world, but I think I can say that most Americans have no ill-will (dislike) toward today's Japanese because of mistakes made by older generations. All races are guilty of violence and bad judgement; the important thing is to recognize and avoid such acts in the future.
Even the Japanese war veterans and military sympathizers (supporters) who are still alive deserve our tolerance and understanding. In most cases, their own feelings of guilt, shame, and humiliation must surely be punishment enough - sometimes, perhaps, even too much. We might all consider what we ourselves would have done if we had been in their shoes. If we were born into their family and their government situation, would we have behaved differently at all? The same kind of understanding might be extended to the U.S. government officials who chose to drop atomic weapons on Japanese cities. In their view (perhaps a misguided one), they were acting to prevent a greater loss of life. We can only hope to know better in the future.
Our mistakes are the result of ignorance and weakness, of not knowing the correct action to take, or not having the inner strength to do what we know is right. If we hope to avoid the mistakes which result in war, we must properly educate and train our children, ourselves, and ultimately, everyone in the world. As Mr. Matsumura has recommended, we must learn how to consider all the possible views of each important decision that we make. We must then have the strength and determination to pursue the best course of action. In a truly civilized world, there is no reason for war - it is our responsibility to achieve that kind of civilization.
I have just read the Terao Memoir. I am now at a loss for words to express my feelings.
When I was an elementary school boy, I read a comic titled "Bare footed Gen." That was my first encounter with the A-bomb. I also made a family trip to Hiroshima and visited the A-bomb museum. I felt horror from the bottom of my heart. As the late Mr.Terao and other readers say, I also claim "Such a thing should not be repeated."
As you may know, there are many sophisticated video games, which you may call "Virtual reality" or something similar. Silly enough to say, those who want to make a war, do it only in the virtual world on a computer screen, and you'll be satisfied.
Above all, I want to say "Don't make a war under any circumstances."
I just read the memoirs and was quite touched. To me it is inconceivable as to how life was at that terrible time. I will never be able to understand the emotions and anxieties experienced by so many people. I only hope that in our lifetime that the hate and prejudices that so many people feel disappears and compassion can become part of our daily lives.
We all are responsible citizens of the world and it is our duty to make sure that our children never have to experince anything half as devastating. I thank you for sharing these journals with the world. It was avery courageous thing to do. I willgo to sleep tonight with many disturbing but necessary thoughts.
I am a high school student from Fresno, California, USA named Darren Solano. I would just like to tell you that my parents, being Filipino, have told me some things about the unfortunate tragedy that occurred in your nation. But now, I have seen the whole story. I cannot articulate how shocked I am at this event and why it had to happen. But I feel that what you have done will help all of humanity to never contemplate using the atomic bomb ever again.
You may post my message on your page. And again, thank you for creating this page to inform all of world about this tragic massacre. I personally believe that the United States, even in the actions of war should have not followed through with their plans of destruction. Be sure to continue your wonderful work and I will do my best to inform people about your web page.