THE FIRES were still burning throughout Hiroshima when Iri Maruki arrived in the devastated city, his birthplace, three days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug 6, 1945. Concerned about the fate of his family, Iri had taken the first train from Tokyo after reading newspaper reports of the powerful new bomb. He did not know what he would find at the end of his long journey.
"It was the dead of night when we finally reached Hiroshima Station," Iri later recalled. "After the train stopped, I could not bring myself to move for a long time. Finally I got up and staggered, like a sleepwalker, off the train. There was no station building, no sign of life. Though it was dark, I could see all the way to Hiroshima Bay and the islands of the Inland Sea."
In a state of shock, Iri made his way