Elementary Student Essay on Hiroshima Atom Bomb


Elementary Student Essay on Hiroshima Atom Bomb


This is an essay written by a Japanese elementary school boy on the Hiroshima atom bomb, six years later. It was taken from a series of sixty-seven student-written essays reflecting the experiences if children on this day. It was complied by Dr. Arata Osada.


Tomoyuki Satoh


Tomoyuki Satoh, “Grammar School, Essay 1,” in Children of the A-Bomb:  Testament of the Boys and Girls of Hiroshima (English Edition), ed. Arata Osada, trans. Jan Dan and Ruth Sieben-Morgan (Tokyo: Uchida Rokakuho Publishing House, 1959), 3-5.






On that sixth of August I wasn’t going to school yet. At the time, I was playing in front of the public bath near home. Then Sei-chan said, “Please go to the garden and pick some flowers.” So I was on my way to get them. All of a sudden there was a big flash and I was scared and tried to go back to the house. And all of a sudden a lot of needles got in my eyes. I couldn’t tell where anything was. When I tried to go toward the house I bumped into the front door. When I opened my eyes everything was darkish. Then Grandma rushed out with Keika-chan on her back. I followed Grandma. We went toward our bomb shelter.

My younger big sister was already inside the shelter so the four of us huddled together. Then my older big sister came running in and we huddled together again. That older big sister was old enough so that she had already gone to work at a bakery. Our mother had already died from illness.

Father, who had been working with the Volunteer Labor Group, came back and was looking to find where we were. When she heard him, my big sister went out and took Father’s hand and led him to the shelter. Father was burned all over above his hips. When Sister and the other people saw it they were all scared. A stranger spread some oil on his body for him.

In my heart I thought, “Thank you.”

After that we went away to Fuchu in the hills. In a broken temple we put up a mosquito net and we lay down there. We stayed here for a long time. After a while other people began to go back to their homes so we went home too. When we got back we found that the glass was all broken, the chests were toppled over, the shoji were torn, the roof tiles were broken and the plaster had fallen off the walls. We all helped to clear it away and laid father there. After about sixty days, in the middle of the night, Father called to Grandma and said he wanted to eat a sweet potato. Grandma said, “All right,” and cooked the sweet potato. “Father, the potato is ready,” she said and looked at him, but he didn’t answer. I touched his body and it was cold, and he was already dead. Dear Father, dear Mother, good-bye.

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Tomoyuki Satoh, “Elementary Student Essay on Hiroshima Atom Bomb,” The State of History, accessed May 20, 2024, https://soh.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/14.