Tsutomu Yamaguchi, THE MAN WHO LIVED

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Humans are cynical in nature. Even then, some stories are bound to make one wonder whether our lives are truly in the hands of Three Sisters with their spindle ad scissor. One such incident which leaves us all baffled is the life story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi. The futility of war is best explained by those who lived and survived the war. Tsutomu Yamaguchi not only lived the war but went through the worst chapter of it twice within three days. Born on 16th March 1916 in Nagasaki, Japan,Tsutomu Yamaguchi grew up to work in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Tsutomu Yamaguchi family suffered from the ensuing war along with thousand other families and the economic state was perilously getting worse in Japan. But that wasn’t the only challenge that war had to curse him with.

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On 6th August 1945 he happened to be in Hiroshima for work. Incidentally Tsutomu Yamaguchi was supposed to leave Hiroshima that morning but got delayed. While approaching the docks around 8 in the morning Tsutomu Yamaguchi,saw a massive flash followed by him being flung across. The “Little Boy” was dropped 3kms from his position, by the US. Like many, his eardrums were ruptured and he was temporarily blinded. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was grievously burned waist above. After spending a night in the air-raid shelter, Tsutomu Yamaguchi returned to his home, Nagasaki the next day. He got treatment and perhaps because his fate wanted, he went to work on 9th August despite being under treatment for serious injury. Ironically, just when his boss was expressing his shock over the tragedy at
Hiroshima, another nuclear bomb, “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki at 11 am.

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Thankfully Tsutomu Yamaguchi was again 3kms away from the epicenter and was uninjured. His bandages were ripped apart due to the effect and he suffered high fever and vomiting for over a week. Despite this twist of fate he lived a relatively healthy and normal life. He continued to design oil tanks for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and even had two daughters with his wife who was Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor too. Tsutomu Yamaguchi eventually lost his hair and hearing in the left ear.

Yamaguchi very passionately spoke against wars, especially nuclear war. Tsutomu Yamaguchi wrote his autobiography, Ikasareteiru inochi where he explained his horrifying experience and begged for nuclear disarmament. He once said “The reason that I hate the atomic bomb is because of what it does to the dignity of human beings” he added “I can’t understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs. How can they keep developing these weapons” When in 1957, Japanese government acknowledged atomic bombing survivors as Hibakushi, he didn’t claim for the recognition of double survivor?

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Although, later he understood that this title could provide him with more opportunities to spread awareness against nuclear weapons and war. So he claimed for the recognition which was granted and as of March 2009, he is the only official survivor of two atomic bombings although there are others who claim to have been double survivors too. Because of the official record he could voice his story and plead against the futile war even more. Due to the radiation, his wife and he both, suffered from diseases. His wife lost her life to kidney and liver cancer and he, to stomach cancer. He breathed his last on 4th January, 2010. In his 93 years of life, he lived and awed us but above all, he told “Not Today” to Death twice.

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