Bells of Nagasaki (Japan's Modern Writers)

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Among the wounded on the day they dropped the bomb on Nagasaki was a young doctor who, though sick himself cared for the sick and dying. Written when he too lay dying of leukemia, The Bells of Nagasaki is the extraordinary account of his experience. It is deeply moving and human story. Among the wounded on the day they dropped the bomb on Nagasaki was a young doctor who, though sick himself cared for the sick and dying. Written when he too lay dying of leukemia, The Bells of Nagasaki is the extraordinary account of his experience. It is deeply moving and human story.

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South of Nagasaki harbor on the hillside of Mount Hachiro about eight kilometers from Urakami is the village of Oyama. From here one can see the basin where Urakami lies, and beyond one can see Nagasaki hazily in the distance. Young Kato was taking his cow to pasture. In the expanse of green, he found some wild strawberries and he was picking them and putting them in his mouth.

And then came the flash. The cow saw it too and lifted her head. In the sky above Urakami rose a white cloud--a deep white cloud like an enormous ball of cotton--and it got bigger and bigger and bigger. It looked like a huge lantern wrapped in cotton. The outside was white but inside a red fire seemed to be blazing and something like beautiful electric lights flashed incessantly. The colors within this lantern were now red, now yellow, and now purple--all kinds of beautiful colors.

Next, the cloud took the shape of a bun. And then, as it gradually went up and up, it began to look like a mushroom. From the part of Urakami that was directly below the white mushrooming cloud, black smoke and dirt seemed to be sucked into the air--and this too went up and up. The mushroom-shaped cloud above rose higher and higher into the clear sky. When it reached a great height, it collapsed and began to flow toward the east. As for the dirt and smoke below, it rose higher than the mountain. Then part of it began to fall down and disperse, while another part flowed with the cloud to the east. Since the weather was clear, the light of the sun lit up the mountain and the sea. Only Urakami, directly below the cloud, fell under a great shadow and looked completely black.

And then came the blast! Kato's clothes were torn to shreds. The leaves of the trees were blown away. And yet the blast of wind had already weakened considerably when it reached him. The cow did not run wild. Kato supposed that another bomb had fallen nearby.

Language Notes:

Text: English, Japanese (translation)

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