Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi ... Most fucked person in history dies

By J. Thomas Duffy

Yeah, we know the title is jarring, but, even going that graphic, that in-your-face, doesn't do justice, doesn't begin to come close to what Tsutomu Yamaguchi went through in his life.

His plight, his "lot-in-life," became a wry joke to illustrate just how much a sorry-assed-loser a person might be.

Yet Tsutomu Yamaguchi was anything but a loser:

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, victim of Japan’s two atomic bombs, dies aged 93

He was an impassioned and articulate man, a respected teacher, beloved father and grandfather — but none of these explain the unique distinction of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who has died in Nagasaki aged 93.

He was the victim of a fate so callous that it almost raises a smile: he was one of a small number of people to fall victim to both of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.

On August 6, 1945, he was about to leave the city of Hiroshima, where he had been working, when the first bomb exploded, killing 140,000 people. Injured and reeling from the horrors around him, he fled to his home — Nagasaki, 180 miles to the west. There, on August 9, the second atomic bomb exploded over his head.

A few dozen others were in a similar position, but none expressed the experience with as much emotion and fervour. Towards the end of his life, Mr Yamaguchi received another distinction — the only man to be officially registered as a hibakusha, atomic bomb victim, in both cities.

In an interview he did early last year, his only with a British newspaper, Yamaguchi described what happened:

Among them was the young engineer – who was in town on a business trip for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – who stepped off a tram as the bomb exploded.

Despite being 3km (just under two miles) from Ground Zero, the blast temporarily blinded him, destroyed his left eardrum and inflicted horrific burns over much of the top half of his body. The following morning, he braved another dose of radiation as he ventured into Hiroshima city centre, determined to catch a train home, away from the nightmare.

But home for Mr Yamaguchi was Nagasaki, where two days later the "Fat Man" bomb was dropped, killing 70,000 people and creating a city where, in the words of its mayor, "not even the sound of insects could be heard". In a bitter twist of fate, Yamaguchi was again 3km from the centre of the second explosion. In fact, he was in the office explaining to his boss how he had almost been killed days before, when suddenly the same white light filled the room. "I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from Hiroshima," Mr Yamaguchi said.

It is nearly incomprehensible, the thought of surviving, not one, but two nuclear blasts.

Was he bitter, did he hate the Americans?

No, he remained a human being.

From Wikipedia:

As he aged his opinions about the use of atomic weapons began to change. In his eighties, he wrote a book about his experiences and was invited to take part in a 2006 documentary about 165 double A-bomb victims called Nijuuhibaku ("Twice Bombed"), which was screened at the United Nations. At the screening he pleaded for the abolition of atomic weapons.

Yamaguchi became a vocal proponent of nuclear disarmament. In an interview he said "The reason that I hate the atomic bomb is because of what it does to the dignity of human beings." Speaking through his daughter during a telephone interview he said; "I can't understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs, how can they keep developing these weapons?

And this:

"My double radiation exposure is now an official government record," Mr Yamaguchi told reporters.

"It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die."

Yeah, it can tell the younger generation, as well as the current one.

But will they see, will they listen?

Here's hoping Tsutomu Yamaguchi has the absolute best, most tremendous, most peacefully satisfying afterlife ... ever!

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Wouldn't it be nice if all victims of war had a wonderful afterlife? That should of course include the nearly 30 million Asians killed in the various Japanese atrocities, the 400,000 US soldiers. . .

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 11:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home