‘Memories of War’ is a project which leaves voices of the people who survived the war. We are not supporting any specific organization, and we are not agitating any thoughts.
Moreover, please be consent about the following descriptions.
- The contents of the interview have left the voices and thoughts of the people who survived from the war.Moreover, there might be inappropriate expressions but we have left the voices as it was spoken.
- The articles were recorded based on the knowledge and memories during the interview were taken.Therefore, there might be memories difference and some ambiguous point.
Memory 5 Yusuke Noma
He became a dermatologist after being an intern as a medical officer. The things he saw both during the war and after the war.
born in 1920, Kure City, Hiroshima Doctor
He was born in Kure City, Hiroshima. His father was a doctor. During World WarⅡ, he went to “Gunni Gakkou” in another prefecture.
(Gunni Gakkou means medical-related education organization)
That is why he didn’t live in Hiroshima at that time.
After the war ended, the school disbanded. He went back to Kure City and started to help in his uncle’s job. (His uncle’s job was an internal
medicine doctor). After that, he became a dermatologist and continued
the job for about 50 years.
He examined the members of the occupation troops as his patients too.
He said he didn’t have any firsthand experiences fighting in the
I interviewed him about what his uncle, who was a medical
officer, told him and the state of things at that time.
He was born from a long line of doctors and tried to do his best to become a medical officer
──You were a dermatologist in Kure City, Hiroshima for a long time, right？
Well… it may have been for about 50 years.
──Had you already been a doctor around World WarⅡ？
When the war ended, I was 24 years old and was a reserve officer of
Gunni Gakkou. In general, after the reserve officers graduate from the school, they become first lieutenants, but I was treated as a third
lieutenant. A third lieutenant is ranked lower than a second lieutenant.
My father was a doctor, so I thought it would be natural for me to
become a doctor. He passed away during the war because of sickness. That was the same time “Kannmonn Tunnel” was completely
built. (Kannmonn Tunnel is a name of an undersea tunnel. It connects
between Shimonoseki Station of Sanyo main line and Moji Station. It was opened to traffic in July, 1942.)
At that time, Japan won the battles in Malay and Hawaii, so was in an
excited mood. He passed away with his confidence of Japan’s victory.
Five people out of my father’s brothers were doctors too. One of them
was a naval surgeon and was in charge of a naval surgeon general.
However, he passed away because of an American torpedo on his way
to Sasebo from Kii County.
I was in Kure City at that time. I wanted to join the navy. However, my
uncles said,” You must experience hard times in the navy.” Actually,
many soldiers, who graduated from school last year and became
members of the navy, passed away because of the battlefield in the
That is why I took a test to become a member of the army. I was a
second year student. At that time, the allowance of a medical officer
may have been 40,000 yen per month. My expenses came to
100,000 yen per month.
My uncle managed my money.
At that time, the bombing damaged Kitakyushu City. My Gunni Gakkou was in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. (Kitakyushu is in the Kyushu
area. Yamagata is in the Tohoku area.)
After I began to go to school there, I heard the sound of the bombing of
the steel plant in Shiogama.
There was an airport near the northern part of Yamagata. The Air Force
bombarded it. That is when I felt the war firsthand.
There was Kure City damaged by an air raid. Then the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. I heard these things in my Gunni Gakkou.
My family was in Kure City. My mother, younger brothers… and my
uncle’s bereaved family was there too. The family members may have
totaled around 4 people.
When I came back to my house, my grandmother had picked up
cartridges of casings and put them into a bucket. The bucket was full of them. These things were blank cartridges which the bombers dropped on the ground. It may have been expected these things would lead to
much money being brass.
After the end of the war, the school disbanded and I wasn’t able to
become a medical officer.
My school gave me transportation fee and much rice which was packed
in army white socks and I passed through Kyoto and went to Osaka.
I came back to Kure City 2 days after the end of the war.
Farewell of uncle who was on “Sennkann Konngou”
(Sennkann Konngou is the name of the battleship)
──You didn’t go to the battlefield firsthand, right？
Yes. That’s right. I didn’t go firsthand. I didn’t experience any dangers of
I knew the news of the end of the war on the ground of a temple in
I heard that the Imperial Majesty’s special word, “Imperial Rescript” is
going to be announced, so I changed my schedule on that day, and
went to listen to it there.
We were in back, so we couldn’t hear clearly what the Imperial Majesty said, but our chiefs were crying. When I asked them the reason, they said, “We surrendered fully.” I thought if American occupies our country,
something hard must happen. However, I was relieved.
──At that time, I heard that some media broadcasted Japan kept winning. How did you feel about？
When I came back to Kure City, one of my uncles, who was one of the
crew of Sennkann Konngou, came to my university and visited me.
I thought he may have come to say to me “Good bye”.
There was a space which commissioned officers get together there.
However, the food situation was in short supply at that time, so we
couldn’t have a meal even there. I thought my uncle wanted to take me
and show me many things.
After that, he got aboard Sennkann Konngou from Sasebo. Heading to
the south area and on his way back to Sasebo, he passed away because of the attack.
If he hadn’t suffered from that, he could have arrived at Sasebo the next
In the first place, it was unbelievable for me to pass the Gunni Gakkou’s
examination although my body was gangly. Moreover, in the education
system, the teachers forced students to connect death charges to a
tank. I was a doctor but I had to take this training.
I thought Japan was fated to lose this war.
There was a bulletin board in the commons with the following sentence; we make students have hundreds of dozens of rice a day. I was
wondering if there was that amount of rice there or not. I also heard that the top of members took a cut, so the amount of our rice was short.
After the war, food state and black market
──I heard many people had hard times after the war, how did you feel about it？
My uncle ran a hospital, so I helped him at his job. I went to make house calls too.
We needed various kinds of medicines so had to get them from the
pharmacy shops in Karuke by bicycle. The pharmacy shops made us buy
not only what we needed but things we didn’t need.
One day, it rained heavily. The drum bottles, which remained in a bomb
shelter, flowed on the water. Methyl alcohol was in the bottle. There were
many people who drank it instead of alcohol.
I saw more patients who digested methyl alcohol compared with the
victims of the atomic bomb. The patients’ eyes’ condition got worse and
they became blind.
There were many patients who passed away. There were also
tuberculosis patients. However, I couldn’t give them effective medicine.
I just injected them with Vitamin C because we were in short food supply.
We were doctors so we were able to buy foods on the black market.
The American food was called “Ration”, which were full of chocolate,
pudding, and extravagant canned things. We bought them and had
them instead of rice.
Rice was in short supply.
The occupation forces may have stayed there until about Showa 30
I helped with my uncles’ job for about 1 year and started to work as a
dermatologist through my alma mater.
──Could you tell us how you spent hard times from the middle of the war to the end of the war？
I am quite an optimist. I may not think what I don’t want to think.
However, skilled people like the person, who their former teacher gave
their watch to, passed away because of the war. It was so regretful.
Powers, which stop the war
──How do you feel about Japan and the world now？
The doctors’ organization in Hiroshima held the” IPPNW meeting” two
times. (IPPNW stands for International Physicians for the Prevention of
America and Russia say,”North Korea and Iran shouldn’t produce
nuclear weapons.” However, I think they lack the power of persuasion.
I guess these countries probably think that if they didn’t have any nuclear
weapons, they would be destroyed. It is easy for us to say,
“No Nuclear Weapons”, but I think it may be difficult for it to come true.
In Japan, the Tohoku area has been under a serious situation, so I can’t
understand Japan wanting to export nuclear power plants to other
countries. It is conflicting.
──When we heard the news of “Export of nuclear power plant” and
“Amendment of the constitution”, I felt Japan may be on the way to
war in a big wave. How do you feel about it？
“If the Alliance partner suffers from other countries, Japan should take
part in the war”
The government tries to begin to amend the constitution, right？
I understand it in part because China came to Senkaku Island and made battleships.
If they insult us, it can’t be done in any other way but with the
understanding of the Japanese government’s decision.
I think we should have the power to stop these kinds of problems.
However, even if these things happen, the world public opinions
carries weight, right？ I think the real war must not occur.
──Could you tell the listeners your message？
War is never ever a good thing.
It is hard for me to say that wars will never ever take place in the future,
but each country should have the power to stop war from happening.
We must make people not have strong passion and not provoke them through public opinions.
Of course, I think strongly that everybody knows that war never brings us
anything positive. We should educate children well. Media should
educate as well.
The occupation forces looked like gentle people. I heard the bad news
In Okinawa where some US navy personnel raped girls there but there
wasn’t anything like that where I was. My patients who were occupying
force members were good patients. They had YEN and paid in YEN.
At that time, I recognized that British force’s salary was the cheapest.
After that, Australia.
There weren’t many American soldiers, so I don’t know for sure or not
but assume American soldiers must have been the richest.
──There are many opinions about the Imperial Majesty’s responsibility or
army at that time. How did you feel about it？
I have the greatest respect for the Imperial Family. I think that Hideki Tojo
did stupid things.
The navy of that time must have known the world well, but they couldn’t
control him. It is regretful.
（Interviewer:Yohei Hayakawa, Writer:Akiko Ogawa, Translator: Yoshino Wakamatsu）