Last words of mobilized students killed in atomic bombing, along with personal effects, are on display

An exhibition titled “Saigo no kotoba” (“Their Last Words),” which features items from the collection of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, is now being held in the east wing of the museum in Naka Ward. The exhibition presents the last words left behind to family members by four mobilized students who were killed in the atomic bombing, along with their personal effects. The exhibition will run until April 13.

Naoki Mikami was 12 at the time of the atomic bombing, a first-year student at Municipal Junior High School (present-day Motomachi High School). He was in the schoolyard when the bomb exploded and died soon after returning home. His last words were: “As I am a mobilized student, I have been prepared to die. Mom, I hope you will do the best you can for others.” Accompanying these words are notes written by Satsuki, his mother, who was by his bedside when he died, and a photo of the boy. Alongside these panels are the trousers of the school uniform he was wearing at the time of the A-bomb attack, a moving reminder of his death.

Other items on display include the school uniform of a male student from Hiroshima Second Middle School (now Kanon High School), who was mobilized to help dismantle buildings to create a fire lane and died as a result of the attack. His experience of the bombing is described in his sister’s account, who listened directly to her dying brother before he passed away.

Ryo Imaizumi, 35, an office worker, was studying the exhibition intently, and said, “I’m moved by the sorrow of family members who lost a child, brother, or sister to the atomic bombing.”

(Originally published on February 4, 2016)