10 Year Old Boy Carries Dead Baby Bro To Cremation

a day in history 3  japan boy

This heart rending photo was taken by Joe O’Donnell. He was sent by the US military to document the horrors inflicted upon the Japanese by air raids and atomic bombs in 1945.

In this photo, the little boy had bought his brother to a cremation spot. He was barefooted and in perhaps trying to play the role of oldest functioning family member left remaining, he was clearly copying the stand-to-attention stance he would have seen amongst the warring uniformed adults.

Joe O’Donnell in his words:

“I saw a boy about ten years old walking by. He was carrying a baby on his back. In those days in Japan, we often saw children playing with their little brothers or sisters on their backs, but this boy was clearly different. I could see that he had come to this place for a serious reason. He was wearing no shoes. His face was hard. The little head was tipped back as if the baby were fast asleep. The boy stood there for five or ten minutes.”

“The men in white masks walked over to him and quietly began to take off the rope that was holding the baby. That is when I saw that the baby was already dead. The men held the body by the hands and feet and placed it on the fire. The boy stood there straight without moving, watching the flames. He was biting his lower lip so hard that it shone with blood. The flame burned low like the sun going down. The boy turned around and walked silently away.”


Let’s have more war at the drop of a hat yeah?


75 thoughts on “10 Year Old Boy Carries Dead Baby Bro To Cremation

  1. Reblogged this on jpowerkaiun and commented:
    The boy stood there straight without moving, watching the flames. He was biting his lower lip so hard that it shone with blood. The flame burned low like the sun going down. The boy turned around and walked silently away.

  2. Just reading this made my heart broken to pieces. I maybe grateful that i never has experienced such in my life, even the trying political times of the Philippines called Martial Law, but i can’t just shrug my shoulder and that’s it. I pray that nations would come to terms that innocent may not suffer.

  3. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I don’t even know what I would do in a situation like that. And the sad thing is that it happens every day. What kind of people do these children grow up to become after they’ve seen and lost so much? And what kind of world are we living in when we can be so distracted by bullshit that we can turn a blind eye to this? Jesus Christ!

    1. That is a really interesting question. I expect some people would be very disturbed by this kind of experience late into their lives and some people would merely move on…or at least think they have.

  4. Reblogged this on Aeysha's and commented:
    And we’re doing it all over again. 😦
    Does the human race ever learn or are we just like goats doing the same stupid things over and over again, irrespective of the outcome?

  5. I recently visited the War Remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh, (post on my blog) truly heartbreaking place, photo’s like this and others should be published often. ‘Lest we forget.”

  6. The ugliness of war. Like mincs1 had posted, when will we learn? Even though this photo was taken in 1945 there are many unseen images like this one around the world, present day.

  7. Sad story, I wonder how the boy turned out.
    By coincidence I was thinking today about the main photo, with the naked girl burned by napalm (i think), I know she still lives and tells her story.
    My heart is breaking these days with the latest photos.

  8. My response is long…bear with me
    The desperate sadness doesn’t begin to describe the feelings this picture evokes. The horror, the disbelief and the sheer vomit that wells up inside, is sometimes difficult to contain when we are bombarded with the reality of what is and has happened in this world.

    When Children, so deeply innocent, like this small child, yet trying to very hard to be grown up, as taught in the Japanese culture, have to endure emotional as well as physical suffering on a scale that only Hollywood makes up, and then we leave the theatre knowing it was just a story, only, in this case, it’s no story, it’s real in every sense of the word, you have to KNOW you live in a sick, sad, hateful, vomit inducing world.

    Children mean nothing, humans have been reduced to fleshy bits that get in the way of guns, and the fun of men playing at being soldiers, who, sadly, only once they have slaughtered babies, realise that what they signed up for, isn’t the ‘cowboys and Indians’ game they played when kids. They realise, too late, that they signed up to become murderers of innocent people, who have been made the targets of greedy Politicians, whose only desire is to line their pockets, and feed their greed.

    So today, while Israel happily bombs children, how many more little boys like this, will watch their baby brothers or sisters die? How many photographs will be captured, that will, one day, make our children gasp at the sheer cruelty, the horror, the deep sadness and the realisation that it was not worth it, hit home?

    Just like this picture, that speaks a thousand words, we’ll look back, reflect, shake our heads in shame at what we are, whilst another country will be killing more children.

    The greatest victory to be won here, is not a WAR, it would be that all men REFUSE to go to war!

  9. Horrifying! The ‘Leaders’ who instigate these wars never suffer its physical harms. It is usually the soldier following orders or the young boy playing outside his house. Sigh 😦

  10. Well – that was guaranteed to bring tears first thing in the morning! At the moment we are commemorating WW1 and remembering the dead. How many more wars will be commemorated in years to come? – why don’t they just stop? why doesn’t anyone learn the lessons of previous wars?

      1. What you posted was so sad…but people need to know that war has consequences and more often than not, it is the innocent who pay a very heavy price!!!!!

  11. It’s easy (and appropriate) to be disgusted at the evils of war. But when you think about it, the seeds of war are planted in each of us whenever we put our own wants and desires ahead of the good of others – and it’s so easy to do. A difference of degree but not of kind?

  12. Jesus. I don’t… I’m sorry. This is confronting, and it should be. All the heads of state and other such self important men can get in a killing cage and sort their differences out that way. The rest of us are never fighting their pointless, bloody wars ever again. I just… all those poor children brutalised (and worse) in a supposedly “adult” world. It’s disgusting, and now I have no words…

  13. I saw this picture at the Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki, Japan and it stuck with me. Even more heartbreaking is that today scenes like this still exist.

  14. I want to comment but I don’t know what to say. That poor kid had to live the rest of his life with that memory. I am still sad because the one who had been my brother for 84 years died two years ago so I can’t even imagine what that boy’s life was like. I simply cannot comprehend this unending desire of the human race to keep slaughtering each other.

  15. Far too often, It is the innocent who suffer in wars created by the very government the people voted into power. Stories like these need to be brought to light, otherwise they are left forgotten and unheard.

    What a brave boy, Faithful and true to his family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s