Twice Lucky or Unlucky? – Know Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings
In three days, death was close on heels with him but returned unlucky. Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived the Hiroshima Bombing on August 6, returned to his town Nagasaki on August 9 to survive the second explosion. One of 160 survivors to have survived both the explosions, Yamaguchi is the only person to have been recognized by the government as double-explosion survivor.
Born in 1916, Yamaguchi joined the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries during the 1930’s as a draftsman designing oil tankers. During a the fag end of World War 2, Yamaguchi was sent to Hiroshima on a 3-month business trip. Preparing to leave for Nagasaki on August 6, Yamaguchi was at the docks when American bombers dropped The Little Boy at the Hiroshima’s center, 3 km away from his location.
The explosion deafened Yamaguchi and blinded him temporarily leaving him with serious burns over the top left side of his body. He took shelter in an air-raid safe house at night before moving to Nagasaki the following day. On reaching Nagasaki, he was treated for his injuries and reported to work on August 9 unfettered by his wounds.
While mentioning about the Hiroshima bombings to his supervisors, around 11 A.M The Fat Man exploded. This time Yamaguchi was unaffected as his office beyond the strategic 3km radius. With lack of all basic amenities, Yamaguchi suffered from his untreated wounds and suffered from high fever for the next few days.
Aftermath the WWII, Yamaguchi initially worked as a translator to American Marines and as a schoolmaster before returning to his old job as an Oil Tanker Designer. During the 1950’s Yamaguchi and his family (his wife and two daughters) were exposed to atomic radiations having profound effects on their health. Their daughters have to be wrapped up in bandages till they were 12 while his wife suffered radiation poisoning with Yamaguchi himself going bald and permanently losing his left ear.
Yamaguchi was initially content with the government officially recognized him only as survivor of the Nagasaki Explosion. It was only in Jan 2009 he applied for double survivor recognition and the government recognizing him subsequently in March 2009. Till his death in 2010, Yamaguchi strived for atomic bomb abolition and strongly advocated of Nuclear Disarmament mentioning the horrors he, his family and his fellow humans endured.