Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the Japanese Man who Survived Two Atomic Bombings

Ilsa Z.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi in 2009Photo byWikipedia

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was a Japanese naval engineer who made it through the atomic bombs of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese government has officially acknowledged him as the sole individual to have survived both bombs, despite at least seventy others being injured or killed.

The First Attack

Around 8:15 that morning, when Yamaguchi was making his last trip to the Mitsubishi shipyard, he heard the distant buzz of an aircraft. He looked upwards and observed a United States B-29 bomber circling the city before dropping something tiny with a parachute. There was a sudden explosion of light that filled the sky.

A sudden, deafening explosion gave him barely enough warning to dive into a close ditch. Yamaguchi was hurled into an adjacent potato field by the ensuing shock wave, which lifted him off the ground and spun him around like a tornado. He was found two kilometers away from the catastrophe area.

How He Returned Home After the Bombing

Several of the city's bridges were bent into the rubble when Yamaguchi awoke, while others were broken, forcing him to wade over a sea of floating corpses at a couple of river crossings. As he arrived at the station, he joined the other injured and confused passengers on a train bound for Nagasaki, where he was planning to spend the night.

When Yamaguchi finally got back to his wife and kid in Hiroshima, the whole world was focused on the city. It took President Harry Truman 16 hours after the bomb was detonated before he made the first public statement of it.

On August 8th, Yamaguchi flew into Nagasaki, where he immediately made his way to the hospital on crutches. Even though the doctor who helped Yamaguchi was an ex college acquaintance of his, the extensive burns on Yamaguchi's body likely prevented the doctor from recognizing him at first.

The Second Attack

In spite of the fact that he was on the point of passing out, Yamaguchi pulled himself on August 9 and went to work at the office of Mitsubishi in Nagasaki, where he was met with pressing questions about the severity of the events of the past three days.

While Yamaguchi tried to explain himself, the scenery outside abruptly erupted in a brilliant white light. Yamaguchi dove to the ground when the shock wave was about to smash the windows and send shards of glass and other debris staggering into the office.

While the atomic bomb that struck Nagasaki was much more destructive than the one that was dropped on Hiroshima, the explosion inside the building was silenced due to a combination of the city's mountainous geography and a reinforced stairway, as Yamaguchi would discover later. Even when his dressings were blown off, and he was exposed to yet another burst of radiation that causes cancer, he escaped largely unscathed from the situation. He would have the misfortune of being close to a nuclear explosion for the second time in the past three days, this time within two miles of it both times. The second time around, he would be spared death by some stroke of good luck.

The After Effects of Surviving Two Atomic Bombings

The effects of Yamaguchi's twofold radiation exposure were apparent during the following days. The sores on his arms became gangrenous, his hair started falling out, and he started violently puking. Yet Yamaguchi, unlike many others exposed to radiation, gradually healed and led a normal life. During the American occupation of Japan, he worked as a translator and subsequently as a teacher before picking up where he left off as an engineer for Mitsubishi.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

Loves to write about historical personalities. Always up to have interesting conversations over a cup of coffee.


More from Ilsa Z.

Comments / 0