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His Memory of August 6, 1945

It was Monday morning, a bright sunny day, probably a beautiful day as I recall. And we got ready for school. In Japan, there was no summer vacation in those days. We had school in August. So my brother Kenny and I, we got dressed and started towards school when we saw quite a number of kids coming back from school, towards us, and they told us that there has been enemy aircraft warningin the neighborhood—vicinity of Hiroshima. So the school was canceled that day. Happily, we ran home, changed into our play clothes and just about that time was about eight o’clock in the morning or maybe thereafter, and then the air raid siren sounded again.

Kenny and I, when we heard the siren, we climbed up onto the roof of our house, watching the vapor trail in the distance coming over. The B-29 always had nice, beautiful vapor trail[s]. And it was such a clear day you could see it clearly. During that time my grandmother came out of the kitchen extremely mad, and she told us to get off the roof. So we grudgingly came off the roof.

Then my brother Kenny went towards the front, [where there] was a side gate, like a mon. And he went through there. My grandmother, seeing that we came off the roof, went back to the kitchen and presumably she continued doing the dishes. I myself went into a separate structure which we had next to the kitchen or next to the house that housed the bath house, ofuro. And I went underneath that structure when the bomb exploded. Exploded or detonated.

Now in the outskirts of Japan, people will say that there was a huge flash, and then several seconds later there would be a huge boom and cloud of dust coming towards them at tremendous speed. Well I was only three quarter or one kilometer from ground zero*, which is 3300 feet, which is relatively close. The flash and the boom were probably less than a second apart.

 

*Note: Howard was actually 1.3 kilometer (about 4300 feet) from ground zero.


atomic bomb atomic bomb survivors hibakusha Hiroshima (city) Hiroshima Prefecture Japan World War II

Date: September 3, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Masako Miki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Howard Kakita was born in 1938 in East Los Angeles, California. His family took him to Japan in 1940. His parents and younger brother came back to the United States in 1940, to take care of the family business, but Howard and an older brother, Kenny, stayed in Japan.

When the war broke out, his family in the U.S. were incarcerated in Poston, AZ. On August 6, 1945, the Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. Howard was 0.8 miles from the hypocenter and survived. He and Kenny came back to the U.S. and reunited with their family in 1948.

Howard pursued a career in computer engineering. After his retirement, he joined American Society Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors (ASA) and has been actively sharing his A-bomb experience. (September 2019)

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