“Everything that follows is a bonus.”
Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Survivor of 2 Atomic Blasts, Dies at 93
By MARK McDONALD
Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only official survivor of both atomic blasts to hit Japan in World War II, died Monday in
The cause was stomach cancer, his family said.
Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29-year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was in
Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than two miles away from ground zero that day. His eardrums were ruptured, and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city’s buildings and killed 80,000 people.
Mr. Yamaguchi spent the night in a
Mr. Yamaguchi was in his
“I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from
Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi.
There were believed to have been about 165 twice-bombed people, known as nijyuu hibakusha, although municipal officials in both cities have said that Mr. Yamaguchi was the only person to be officially acknowledged as such.
One of his daughters, Toshiko Yamasaki, who was born in 1948, said her mother had also been “soaked in black rain and was poisoned” by the fallout from the
“We think she passed the poison on to us,” Ms. Yamasaki said, noting that her brother died of cancer at 59 and that her sister has been chronically ill throughout her life.
In his later years Mr. Yamaguchi spoke out against atomic weapons, though he had earlier avoided joining antinuclear protests because of the attention he might have attracted, Ms. Yamasaki told The Independent. “He was so healthy, he thought it would have been unfair to people who were really sick,” she added.
Mr. Yamaguchi rarely gave interviews, but he wrote a memoir and was part of a 2006 documentary about the double bombing survivors. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a showing of the documentary, “Niju Hibaku” (“Twice Bombed”), at the United Nations that year.
At a lecture he gave in
Mr. Yamaguchi was philosophical about his surviving the blasts. “I could have died on either of those days,” he told The Mainichi Daily News of Japan in August. “Everything that follows is a bonus.”