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Masako Ishida Memoir, 1945

Manuscript Collection #718

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Masako Ishida Memoir
Creator: Ishida, Masako
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: First person account "Masako Never Die" of atomic blast at Nagasaki, Japan (August 9, 1945), as translated by Hiroaki Otwa.
Extent: 0.055 Cubic feet, 1 item , consisting of a forty-six-page typescript memoir, "Masako Never Die."

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

December 1, 1995, 1 item, typescript; First person account "Masako Never Die" of atomic blast at Nagasaki, Japan (August 9, 1945), as translated by Hiroaki Otwa. Gift of Ms. Margueritte Williams, Fredericksburg, VA.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Masako Ishida Memoir (#718), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Ms. Margueritte Williams, Fredericksburg

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Masako Ishida (b. 1931) was working as a student-laborer at the Mitsubishi Arms factory in Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped. She survived the blast and subsequent radiation sickness. After the Second World War she entered Ngasaki Woman's College to study English Literature. Ishida wrote of her experiences and published her memoir, "Masako Never Die," in August 1949.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The collection consists of the memoir, translated by Hiroaki Otawa in January 1950. Otawa included a two-page introduction, which provides some background on Ishida as well as himself. He translated the work after having two years of English. As a result, the writing contains misspelled words, grammatical errors, and choppy sentences. Despite these shortcomings, it is considerably well written and understandable.

The memoir is divided into four chapters: "The Day of Destiny," "Masako Never Die," "Fighting Against Atom," and "A New Life." Through these chapters she discusses her plight, beginning with her morning routine, what she was doing, and where she was when the bomb exploded. The account is graphic as she describes the chaos she sees running through the post-nuclear city in a surreal daze, walking on broken glass everywhere, the smell of blood, people hurt and burnt, flames, smoke, and burning buildings. She conveys personal feelings of confusion and dizziness, and her physical condition of bleeding and vomiting. Ishida's struggle for survival brings her into encounters with other victims and a long first night spent in a tunnel. The reader feels her thirst for water and desire to know of the fate of her family. After reuniting with her family in Nagasaki, she describes trying to recover from her wounds and low white corpuscle blood count. She was moved to the family villa in the Noma Mountains and finally to the Kyushu Imperial University Hospital in Fukuoka. In the hospital she battles sickness, nausea, fatigue, and fever as she convalesces. She describes her disbelief upon hearing of the emperor's surrendering of Japan. The Urakami Catholic Church, Imperial University Hospital and Kyushu University Hospital (probably the same hospital), Hiroshima, and various cities are mentioned in the account.

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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