EXPIRED: 01/04/10 – Tsutomu Yamaguchi, 93, was what they call a nijyuu hibakusha – or bombed twice. And we’re not talking doubly drunk!
Yamaguchi had the unfortunate luck of being in the path of an atomic bomb twice — first in Hiroshima and again in Nagasaki.
Yamaguchi was on a business trip in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and was just stepping off a tram when the atomic bomb, named Little Boy by US forces, was dropped over the city . The explosion destroyed his eardrums, blinded him temporarily, and left him with serious burns over his upper torso.
Yamaguchi spent a fitful night, bandaged and scared, in an air raid shelter before returning to his hometown of Nagasaki the following day. Ever the diligent employee, Yamaguchi was explaining to his supervisor why he didn’t make the sale the day before when the second bomb, Fat Man, was dropped not far away.
A decade ago he wrote a book about his experiences as one of only 165 nijyuu hibakusha, citing “I can’t understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs. It was my destiny that I experienced this twice and I am still alive to convey what happened.”
Avatar director James Cameron vistited Yamaguchi in a Nagasaki hospital 2 weeks ago to discuss his plans to make a movie about nuclear weapons. Yamaguchi, who was obviously a a vocal proponent of nuclear disarmament, gave the idea a thumbs up.