Meet Tsutomu Yamaguchi, world’s only, officially certified nijyuu hibakusha or Twice Bombed.
As a 29 year old in 1945, Tsutomu worked as a Naval Engineer in a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi conglomerate. On 6th August, 1945, at the peak of the World War II, he was in Hiroshima on a work related trip.
Early in the morning, while he was walking towards his work place, he heard the loud noise of an aeroplane flying overhead - When he looked up to check, he saw an object dropping from the sky, connected to a parachute.
First, the whole sky turned bright white, and then pitch black. Soon, a torrent blew away some homes and vehicles, the earth trembled, the sounds stopped - and then appeared a sensation of burning pain - There was a huge cloud, right in front of him - shaped like a mushroom. His ear drums were ruptured - both his hands and most of his face was burnt - He, was alive.
He limped his way to bomb shelter and stayed there for rest of the day,next-morning he woke up - walked through debris - swam through dead bodies - reached a train station - took the overnight train to his hometown,Nagasaki.
On reaching his hometown - he went straight to hospital - got bandages - then went home.
Next morning,9th of August,he reported to his office in bandages - while he was recounting his ordeal to his disbelieving boss - Both of them heard a loud whirr of bomb just as he described - the boss got a live demo.
First, the whole sky turned bright white, and then pitch black. Soon, a torrent blew away some homes and vehicles, the earth trembled, there anyways was no sound - and then re-appeared the sensation of a burning pain - There was a huge cloud, right in front of him again - shaped like a mushroom. his bandages on fire, his clothes torn - He, was still alive.
Digest this :- Tsutomu Yamaguchi was within a 2 mile radius of a nuclear explosion, twice in 3 days - and still managed to survive.
As soon as he could, he ran towards his home - found his family alive. They admitted him to a hospital. In the coming days, all his hair fell, his wounds became gangrenous.
Japan surrendered in WWII while he was vomiting on his sickbed. He thought, his time was over .
But, miraculously, he started showing signs of improvement, and slowly recovered to eventually lead a relatively normal life. He and his wife went on to have 2 more children and he joined a school as a teacher.
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed atleast 130k people instantly, and affected over 6,50,000 due to radiation. It is a dark chapter of our collective history which one hopes, never repeats itself again.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi become a walking-talking ambassador of Global Nuclear Disarmament and was invited in 2006, to the United Nations General Assembly to share his experience.
He died in 2010, at the prime age of 93.
Thank you for reading. Cheers and peace :)