As someone who has openly spoken for universal nuclear disarmament, I am fascinated by Tsutomu Yamaguchi.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima, Japan on business when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing 90,000 - 166,000 people. He survived the blast and despite severe injuries, returned to his home in Nagasaki, Japan the following day. Just 3 days after the first bombing, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan - this one on Nagasaki. 40,000 - 80,000 people were killed in the blast, but Mr. Yamaguchi survived. According to some reports, he was actually describing the first bombing to his boss when the second bomb hit. He actually lived to be 93 years old, passing away just 4 years ago. According to his 3 children, he lived a relatively normal life following the disaster other than hearing loss, temporary baldness, and skin disorders. He also suffered from cataracts and leukemia from the blasts. Unfortunately, Mr. Yamaguchi was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2009 and passed away 04 January 2010, the cancer was likely due to his experiences.
It is believed that 160 people had the same experience with both bombs, but he was the only to be officially recognized by the Japanese government. He also became a prominent figure who called for the world to abolish nuclear weapons.
"I can’t understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs. How can they keep developing these weapons?"
I have always been inspired by the Japanese people. The strength and resilience they display during both man made and natural disasters is the most inspiring thing to me. From Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Kobe and Fukushima, the people of Japan represent what mankind can accomplish in the face of unthinkable catastrophe.
R.I.P. Mr. Tsutomu Yamaguchi (1916-2010)