The Day the Sun Fell

The Day the Sun Fell

Author
Bun Hashizume, translated into English by Susan Bouterey
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Imagine yourself as a 14 year old! of course 14 years today are so much more self assured and have access to a wider range of knowledge and information but back when most of us grew up pre-internet, our life was focused around our social environment and family and friends. Now imagine yourself a 14 year old in the strict Japanese society of 1945, how would you cope with life changing events, events that are so powerful and beyond your ability to fully comprehend , and yet with very little knowledge and some training you endure and survive something so terrible it cannot easily be put into words?

August the 6th 1945 and Bun Hashizume a third year student was working in the savings bureau, under the student mobilisation scheme, the office block situated in the South of Hiroshima was some considerable distance from her home in the North. Students were forbidden to use public transport, so this young girl had to walk for an hour each way

En route to work Bun heard the Air raid sirens and returned home, but finding it calm she returned to work and arrived half an hour late. Climbing the stairs to the third floor office of a solid ferro concrete block, she went to pay for her case of mandarins obtainable under a budget aid scheme, as she passed the money she was aware of a tremendous flash of light. Some time later she came to, trapped underneath furniture and bleeding, reaching for a first aid kit she was ordered out of the office as a high voltage cable had smashed through the windows and lay on the floor. She reached out and touched the high voltage cables and found them dead!! The office was partially destroyed and the dead and dying lay around her; ordered to evacuate she tries to make her way home however so much of the city had been flatted or was burning that she became quickly disorientated. Collapsing she was taken to a first aid dressing station and treated. She then writes about her search for her family, which took several days due to her weakened state, and at one time being feet away from her father who was calling her. Helping to treat the sick and injured, she walked into the city towards the centre of the blast, and records the alien sights around her; blackened and burning telegraph poles, water tanks that people had sheltered in, but devoid of water and containing the whitened skeletons, piles of ashes and the ever increasing amount of bodies.

Eventually she is re united with parts of her family, and they seek shelter, but survival is difficult with limited food and shelter.

Bun relates all of this and more with great honesty and without trying to add to the drama, almost as a silent witness. Her partial recovery and life afterwards are related clearly and without drama, also many myths and lies told about the survivors are here put straight.

Bun went on to become a Poet and Writer and to always speak out against the lies spoken about the survivors of this tragedy.
Whatever your view of the Japanese actions in the Second World War, this book is a humbling read and an honest untainted description of survival and recovery.

Author
Joshua Slocum
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