Hiroshima Graph - Everlasting Flow

On an early midsummer morning, from a clear, pure blue sky, a single bomb was dropped.
In an instant, the town was transformed into a sea of fire and lost everything.

Even now, more than 70 years after that day, people are still suffering from diseases caused by the atomic bomb. And the concern that those diseases may be passed on continues to instill fear in countless generations. From that day, the citizens of Hiroshima have continued to bear that heavy cross which they will never be allowed to set down.

After the War, as the leading Peace Memorial City, Hiroshima has arranged for some bomb survivors to become storytellers, and their tragic experiences have been delivered to people around the world. However, many other survivors like my grandmother, who is now over 90 years old, have mostly not talked about their own experience of the bombing or the struggles that they had to face after the war with their families.

In addition to the feeling that they don’t want to remember, they also say that they feel guilty that they are able to continue their lives while others cannot.

However, I am here now because my grandmother miraculously survived. As testimony to the history that Hiroshima carries, as an important testimony that needs to be carried on to the next generation, I must carry on my grandmother’s story.

To this day, the number of people who have lost their lives due to the atomic bomb has not been able to be accurately described. There is also data that there were 350,000 people including citizens and soldiers in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, and about 140,000 people had lost their lives by the end of December 1945.

It is said that about 50% of people who were bombed within 1.2 km of ground zero did not survive till the end of that day. On top of that, it is estimated that 80 to 100% of the people who were in regions close to the center of the explosion died. Furthermore, it is indicated that the rate of mortality was high among those who, despite being able to survive the initial blast and live past that day, had suffered major traumatic injuries by being bombed at a close distance.

My grandmother survived the 50% odds, as she was at her home at the time of the bombing, just 1.2 km from ground zero. “They could have survived if they were at such and such place then,” or “They died because they were doing such and such”; when such tiny things ended up deciding a person’s fate, my grandmother just barely survived. Just by looking at the data, one cannot even begin imagine my grandmother’s gravely sorrowful the expression as she talked about the people that she could have saved.

It seems she used to have many more scars apart from the large scar on her left leg. But now, they seem to have become indistinguishable from her wrinkles. As long as one doesn’t see her left leg, perhaps no one would even know that she is a hibakusha, a survivor of that bombing. And similarly, in the present day with skyscrapers lining the streets of Hiroshima and with the chance to hear the personal experiences directly from the hibakusha also decreasing, it is hard to grasp what happened more than 70 years ago.

However even now, there are people who bear illnesses and health problems due to the effects of the atomic bombs, and there are people who have faced discrimination regarding marriages and employment. And despite being told many times over that the inheritance of A-bomb-related illnesses cannot be medically proven, us descendants of the hibakusha still feel trapped by an obscure unease. All of those are the memories of Hiroshima, and so are the histories of our families and my grandmother, all of which must be recorded to tell all nations about the horrors of nuclear weapons.

Suppressing the pain and the anguish that comes with recollecting those memories, my grandmother talked about those memories for me and for future generations. With all my love and respect for her, I will bequeath this work for the generations who are yet to come. Lest we forget the wounds borne and the pain in the hearts that hibakusha have endured.

Yoshikatsu Fujii

Hardcover: 314 pages
Languages: Japanese or English
Size: 208mm x 286 x 39 mm
75 editions only (all made to order) all signed and given the edition number by the artist
Photo/ Text / Edit / Print / Bookbinding :Yoshikatsu Fujii
Special favor: Water-resistant paper print (165 x 237mm)

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真夏の早朝、真っ青に晴れ渡った空から一発の爆弾が落とされた。
一瞬にして街は火の海と化し、全てが失われた。

あれから70年以上経った今も原爆症に苦しむ人々。そして、それが遺伝するのではないかという見えない恐怖心は、何世代にも渡って植え付けられ続けている。あの日以来、広島市民は重い十字架を背負い続け、降ろすことをずっと許されていない。

戦後、広島は有数の平和記念都市として被爆者が語り部となり、彼らの悲惨な経験が世界中に発信されてきた。しかしその他多くの被爆者と同じく、私の祖母も90歳を越えた現在まで、自身の被爆体験や戦後に味わった苦労を家族にもほとんど語って来なかった。

思い出したくもないという感情に加え、今こうして自分が生きていることが、あの時亡くなった人たちに申し訳ないという気持ちもあるという。

しかし奇跡的に生き延びた祖母がいたからこそ、今ここに私がいる。広島が背負った歴史の証明として、次の世代へと伝えていくべき重要な証言として、祖母の物語を私が語り継がなければならない。

原爆によって死亡した人の数については、現在も正確にはつかめていないが、被爆当時、広島には約35万人の市民や軍人がおり、昭和20年(1945年)12月末までに、約14万人が死亡したとするデータもある。

爆心地から1.2㎞圏内で被爆した人々は、その日のうちにほぼ50%が死亡したと言われている。 それよりも爆心地に近い地域では80〜100%が死亡したと推定されている。また、即死あるいは即日死をまぬがれた人でも、近距離で被爆し、傷害の重い人ほどその後の死亡率が高かったようだ。

祖母が被爆したのは、ちょうど爆心地から1・2㎞にある自宅だったので、50%の確率で生き残ったことになる。「あの時、あそこにいれば無傷で助かったのに。」或いは「あの時、あんなことをしてしまったから死んでしまった。」ほんの些細なことが人間の生死を分け、祖母はかろうじて生き残った。しかし、自分が助けることができたかもしれない人のことを語る祖母の表情は、データを見ているだけでは想像すらできない、重く暗いものだった。

以前は、左脚の大きな傷跡以外にも多くの傷跡が残っていたようだ。しかし今では、ほとんど皺と見分けがつかない。左脚さえ見なければ、彼女が被爆者ということさえ誰も分からないだろう。同じように、広島の街には高層ビルが立ち並び、被爆者から直接体験を聞ける機会も減少した今、70年以上前の出来事を感じ取ることは難しい。

しかし今でも、原爆の影響で健康被害を持つ人がいるし、結婚や就職で差別されてきた人々も存在する。そして私達、被爆者の子孫は、いくら原爆症の遺伝は医学的に証明できないと言われても、漠然とした不安に囚われている。それら全てがヒロシマの記憶であり、祖母と私達家族の歴史もその一端である。そしてそれらは、核兵器の恐ろしさを世界に伝えるために記録されねばならないものだ。

思い出すことの辛さを押し殺して、私や未来の誰かのために話してくれた祖母。彼女への尊敬と愛情を込めて、私はこの作品を後世のために遺す。被爆者が負った傷と心の痛みを忘れてしまわないために。

藤井 ヨシカツ

 

藤井ヨシカツ 写真集「Hiroshima Graph – Everlasting Flow」
◎本文:314ページ
◎言語:日英併記
◎サイズ:208mm x 286 x 39 mm
◎部数:75部
◎写真・編集・印刷・製本: 藤井ヨシカツ
◎特典:耐水紙プリント付き(165 x 237mm)

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