Fumiaki Suzuriya’s A-bomb experience included in this year’s Peace Declaration

by Yuichi Ishii, Staff Writer

Each morning, Fumiaki Suzuriya, 82, feels dizzy and fatigued. At these moments the fact that he is an A-bomb survivor becomes unavoidable. “I want to be healthy,” he says. “Why couldn’t I have led a normal life?” This has long been his hope. A portion of his A-bomb account, which he described in seven pages, has been quoted for the Peace Declaration, which Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui will read aloud during the city’s Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6.

Mr. Suzuriya was 14 years old at the time of the bombing, a second-year student at Hiroshima Prefectural Technical School (now, Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima Technical High School). He was exposed to the bomb’s heat rays while waiting to begin some work for the war effort in the Minamikanon district (part of present-day Nishi Ward), where he lived. The left half of his body was badly burned, but he tore off the skin peeling away from his leg and rescued his two brothers who were trapped under their collapsed house.

After the bombing, he was bedridden for six months. Though his wounds healed, he was appalled at his reflection in the mirror: he was bald and his neck was swollen with red burn scars. “I was thrown into a pit of despair,” he said.

After graduating from high school, he began working for a chemical maker in the city of Otake. When he joined the company, he was healthy enough to play baseball. “But the damage caused by radiation was lying there hidden inside my body,” he recalled.

In his late 20s, he began feeling fatigued and his appetite was poor. He was in and out of the hospital because of severe anemia. When he was 56, he underwent surgery for skin cancer. “I don’t want young people to go through the same painful experiences,” thought Mr. Suzuriya. Two years ago, he started sharing his experiences at a junior high school in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, where he now lives.

On August 6, he will watch the Peace Memorial Ceremony on TV at home with his wife Emiko, 81. “If the people of the world could just share love for the Earth and love for all people, an end to war would be more than a dream,” is a message from Mr. Suzuriya that will be read aloud. “The scope of my activity is limited,” he said. “But the Peace Declaration will be delivered to the world. I’m pleased beyond measure.” Mr. Suzuriya is resolved to continue conveying his message of peace to the world.

(Originally published on August 6, 2013)