@3 days until Hiroshima Summit: Volunteer Army Corps

by Yumie Kubo, Staff Writer

Kawauchi Village (now the area of Kawauchi in Hiroshima’s Asaminami Ward), which was located about ten kilometers north of the central area of Hiroshima, was called “Pika village” (‘pika’ being the Japanese vernacular for the flash generated by the atomic bombing). On August 6, 1945, many of the men in the village were mobilized to help in the work of demolishing buildings to create fire lanes for the war effort and fell victim to the A-bombing. More than 70 women lost their husbands in the A-bombing.

The Monument for the Volunteer Army Corps along the Honkawa River at the west end of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, located in Naka Ward, is engraved with the names of 180 people from Kawauchi Village. After the war, women in the village supported each other by engaging in farming and day labor in order to survive and raise their children.

“I pulled a large two-wheeled cart with my baby on my back.” “At two o’clock in the morning, I loaded manure buckets into a horse-drawn carriage and left home.” The collection of A-bomb survivors’ testimonies contains words that evoke the hardships of that time.

(Originally published on May 16, 2023)