From the short story "Before Hiroshima: The Confession of Murayama Kazuo"

...I remember it was two years later on the sixth of June, 1945, when I noticed an intelligence wire of interest as it came into our command post. I was in the decoding room; it was three in the morning and the teletype machine was tapping lightly. The night was calm, and for some reason Kyoto had not yet been bombed during the war, so people slept without much fear of air raids. (Wild theories circulated on the streets that our city was safe because of protective spirits or because the Emperor would not permit such a beautiful city to be destroyed. But we in the intelligence community explained such a calculated error as propaganda to convince the people that they should surrender, to make them believe the Americans would not be cruel victors: though, how then could the regular fire bombings of Tokyo be explained?)

Anyway, I was quite drowsy that night, and the hot summer air and the sound of crickets mixing with the light tapping of the teletyper did nothing to keep me awake. Mizuoshi-san insisted I stay up the four nights a week when we received summaries of the enemy's activities from our outposts. The transmissions were sent at night because the enemy was asleep then, unlikely to be monitoring us. Or so, at least, Mizuoshi-san repeatedly argued they might be.

Of course there was no real reason why I had to be in the decoding room as the messages came in. I could just as easily have received them in the morning, as Mizuoshi-san did from me. Any of the intelligence operators could have warned us if something was urgent, and none of the others had to stay up each night, they rotated. But the one time I made this observation to Mizuoshi-san, he just laughed. "You still have much to prove," he barked loudly enough for the other lower ranking officers nearby to hear.

On the night of the sixth, then, I was reading each report as it came in, searching for any sign out of the ordinary, though my eyes were closing. The bombings were continuing in Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Himeji and Wakayama. One of our intelligence posts had been moved from Osaka to our own at the end of the fourth year of the war, the attacks were so ferocious there. Few cities of importance had not yet been bombed by the end of the war, and most of the secondary targets had been touched or destroyed as well. Numbers and symbols dashed across the brown paper in the teletype machine. The class of each group of bombers was cited, the quantity of planes, the height of enemy strikes and the success of any of our anti-aircraft fire as well as the calculated weight of bombs dropped and the expected damage. As the sheets jerked forward I scanned each list. By this time in the war the code was second nature to me. Nevertheless, the rhythm of the teletyper was too hypnotizing for me to force any careful scrutiny until morning, no matter how hard I tried.

And yet, although the jumble was too dense to dissect rapidly, a large number suddenly stood out from among the other slashes and dots, characters, parentheses and stars, as if a drop of blood shining brightly, fresh vermilion, in a field of snow. A bomb weighing an estimated two thousand three hundred kilos--a single bomb--had been dropped over Kobe near the center of the harbor, with only a few other smaller accompanying bombs. I put on my glasses and studied the number. Perhaps I had misread the zeros behind the twenty-three. I ordered Takayama over, one of the two other operators in the room who had been playing cards during the print-out, and asked him to look at the number too. He confirmed the figure and I told him to wire the source in Kobe. The source repeated the information, adding a damage description with a note that the planes which dropped the bomb had been flying very high when the bomb was released. The source asked for any action to take. I replied none at the moment but that someone would be down the next day to inspect the site. A few minutes later I put on my cap, and I combed my hair with my fingers. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and kneaded my cheeks to regain some color. I hurried to the far end of the palace, through the dark rooms of the old Shogun Ieyasu's meeting halls and across the various other inner courtly chambers. The palace was silent and delicate. The flower arrangements, scrolls, screen paintings, swords and cushions were all neatly ordered and faintly glowing in the bluish-white moonlight, yet there was a firmness too, a solidity to the wooden floorboards. Near Mizuoshi-san's chamber I slowed until I could no longer hear my footsteps. Mizuoshi-san insisted I report everything significant to him immediately. At least six or seven times before I had woken him up, after the first surprise bombing of Tokyo for example. Usually, I knocked on his paper door firmly but softly, then I waited in his hallway until he put on his nemaki coat, and then he ordered me in. But on this night I hesitated before knocking. A powerful smell of sake emanated from his room, and I knew he did not usually drink but that when he did he did not stop until he passed out. I turned to leave, but "Who's there?" he shouted. The floorboards had creaked. "It's me," I said hoarsely. I cleared my throat. "Why didn't you identify yourself earlier?" I knew he wanted no response so I waited quietly outside. At last, he opened his screen door, but unlike the other times he did not invite me in. He stood face to face with me, a few raw gray whiskers sticking out, highlighted by the moon. His firm jaw and heavy chest--covered with a stained undershirt--poked toward my skinny frame. His cheeks were red. Sharp lines ran across his sleep-creased face. "What is the news?" he demanded. "A large bomb has been dropped over Kobe. The flight pattern of the enemy is unusual." "What was destroyed?" "An area the size of fifty-two normal bombs. An entire long dock with a matériel shed and small barracks." Mizuoshi-san breathed heavily into my face. "And this is why you have come to me in the middle of the night?" I bowed like a dog trying not to be caned. "For false reports?" My lips tightened, my face still down. "I am sorry to have disturbed you," I said. "I did not want to bother you, but the source in Kobe confirmed the report." Mizuoshi-san stumbled closer to me. He spoke with slurred yet sharp speech. "Then the source in Kobe has confirmed an error twice." Spit flew from his lips onto my forehead and he tugged my ear until it stung. He staggered back and shut his door. I inched away from his chamber quietly. And then I moved to my own quarters to nurse my ear in cold water and to sleep.

The next morning I awoke on my mat. The weave of the old floor grass was splitting. I slept alone in a room in the ancient servant quarters, a series of wooden boxes where many of the other soldiers slept, too, but in groups. Mizuoshi-san's chamber lay on the opposite side of the palace. The sun had come up recently but the sky was brownish gray, and by the looks of it the weather was going to stay that way a couple of days. I sprawled on my back and studied the small holes in the ceiling where termites had eaten. Twice, Mizuoshi-san had told us to exterminate them, but we had no chemicals. The other soldiers were still asleep and I had at least an hour before I needed to report to Mizuoshi-san. I wondered how I could get to Kobe to see the effects of the giant bomb. Certainly the bomb did not seem like an insignificant development to me.