Yoko Moriwaki was born in Japan in 1932 on the picturesque island of Itsukushima, better known to locals as Miyajima, and until war broke out in 1941 her childhood was a happy one, filled with simple joys. In 1944, with the conflict casting a heavy shadow, her father was called up for duty, leaving Yoko to endure such testing times with her mother and brother. As she began high school in April of 1945, Yoko, then thirteen, was asked by her teacher to begin a diary; unbeknownst to her, the entry she wrote on 5th August would be her last. The next day, as she and her classmates were clearing debris in Dobashi, the American B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb nearby, instantly killing thousands of civilians. Yoko survived only until that evening, with her mother unable to reach her for a last goodbye.
The Diary Entry
5 August (Sun)
Today was a home training day.
Today was the day of working at home. Yesterday my uncle came and so the house was very lively. I wish every day would be like that. From tomorrow morning we are joining the home demolition groups. I am going to do my best.
Yoko’s diary was discovered by her step-brother and published in Japan in 1996. In 2013 it was translated into English by Deborah Edwards in a book edited by Paul Ham, titled, Yoko’s Diary: The life of a young girl in Hiroshima during WWII. Published by HarperCollins. As you would expect, it is a devastating thing to read.
- Yoko Moriwaki at Wikipedia
- In 2018, Yoko’s belongings were donated to the Peace Memorial Museum
- Children of Hiroshima (Guardian)
Diary entry reprinted with the kind permission of Debbie Edwards.