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Poems of the atomic bomb

Sankichi Toge: Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor)

Sankichi Toge was born in Japan in 1917. He started writing poems at the age of eighteen. He was twenty-four when the A-bomb was dropped. He died at age thirty-six, a victim of leukemia resulting from the A-bomb. His first hand experience of the bomb, his passion for peace and his realistic insight into the event made him the leading Hiroshima poet in Japan.


August 6th

How could I ever forget that flash of light!

In a moment thirty thousand people ceased to be

The cries of fifty thousand killed


Through yellow smoke whirling into light

Buildings split, bridges collapsed

Crowded trams burnt as they rolled about

Hiroshima, all full of boundless heaps of embers

Soon after, skin dangling like rags

With hands on breasts

Treading upon the spilt brains

Wearing shreds of burnt cloth round their loins

There came numberless lines of the naked

all crying


Bodies on the parade ground, scattered like

jumbled stone images

Crowds in piles by the river banks

loaded upon rafts fastened to shore

Turned by and by into corpses

under the scorching sun


In the midst of flame

tossing against the evening sky

Round about the street where mother and

brother were trapped alive under the fallen house

The fire-flood shifted on


On beds of filth along the Armory floor

Heaps, God knew who they were....

Heaps of schoolgirls lying in refuse

Pot-bellied, one-eyed

with half their skin peeled off, bald


The sun shone, and nothing moved

but the buzzing flies in the metal basins

Reeking with stagnant odor


How can I forget that stillness

Prevailing over the city of three hundred thousand?

Amidst that calm

How can I forget the entreaties

Of the departed wife and child

Through their orbs of eyes

Cutting through our minds and souls?


At the First-Aid Station



Who weep although you have no ducts for tears

Who cry although you have no lips for words

Who wish to clasp

Although you have no skin to touch


Limbs twitching, oozing blood and foul secretions

Eyes all puffed-up slits of white

Tatters of underwear

Your only clothing now

Yet with no thought of shame

Ah! How fresh and lovely you all were

A flash of time ago

When you were school girls, a flash ago

Who could believe it now?


Out from the murky, quivering flames

Of burning, festering Hiroshima

You step, unrecognizable

even to yourselves

You leap and crawl, one by one

Onto this grassy plot

Wisps of hair on bronze bald heads

Into the dust of agony


Why have you had to suffer this?

Why this, the cruellest of inflictions?

Was there some purpose?


You look so monstrous, but could not know

How far removed you are now from mankind


You think:

Perhaps you think

Of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters

Could even they know you now?

Of sleeping and waking, of breakfast and home

Where the flowers in the hedge scattered in a flash

And even the ashes now have gone


Thinking, thinking, you are thinking

Trapped with friends

who ceased to move, one by one

Thinking when once you were a daughter

A daughter of humanity


Little ones,

Do not be silent, speak up

To fight against the adults all over the world

Who are trying to bring about war

Spring out shouting "Hey!"

With loud clear voices

Your round eyes shining

And open your arms

Free to hug everyone

Give an embrace that will bring back

Tears of good to everyone's heart

Then spring at them all over the world

Shouting, "We are the boys and girls,

The Children of Hiroshima!"


Hiroshima Monument Dedicated To Sankichi Toge

A poet Sankichi Toge was exposed to the atomic bombing 3km away from the hypocenter. Having experienced the tragedy of the bombing, he started peace movements with young people. In 1950, the Korean war broke out and on that occasion the US President Truman hinted that his country might again use nuclear weapons.

Hearing the statement by the President, Sankichi Toge decided to publish an atomic bombing anthology to call for peace in the world despite severe control of the press by the GHQ (General Headquarters) of the Allied. In 1951, his poem was publicly introduced in the Berlin Peace Conference and attracted a great response around the world.

Sankichi Toge died due to a lung-related disease at the age of 36. Even today, we can come in touch with his desire "No More Hiroshima" through reading his poem inscribed on the monument.

Give Back the Human
Give back my father, give back my mother;
Give grandpa back, grandma back;
Give me my sons and daughters back.
Give me back myself.
Give back the human race.
As long as this life lasts, this life,
Give back peace
That will never end.

By Sankichi Toge




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