’We heard only good news,’ said Kiyomi Igura, a young nurse from Nagasaki in 1944. The city held a lantern festival at news of the fall of Singapore and ‘everybody walked about holding lanterns’. That was February 1942; in the winter of 1945, Nagasaki ‘began to have doubts’, she said, ‘but no-one could bring themselves to say that Japan might lose.’ Victory was assured, despite the food shortage: ‘The mood of the time was very much that Japan would definitely win the war.’
A few brave citizens dared to criticize the government and challenge the Peace Preservation Law. Some broke the censorship rule that forbade the reading of pamphlets dropped from American planes; they read of terrible losses on distant battlefields – in New Guinea, Burma and the Philippines. The people grew dimly conscious of a coming trauma, of a creeping realization that ‘we were all going to be killed’.
Ham, Paul. “Chapter 1: Winter 1945.” Hiroshima, Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath. Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martins Press, 2014. 21. Print.