Wednesday, January 6, 2010

He Survived Hiroshima, Went Home To Nagasaki

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person that the Japanese government officially recognizes as a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, has died at the age of 93. He was in Hiroshima on a business trip for shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy when the first atomic bomb was dropped there on August 6, 1945. He survived, but sustained serious burns to his upper body. The next day he returned to his hometown of Nagasaki. But then a second atomic bomb was dropped there two days later, on August 9, 1945. Wow: how unlucky would you feel?

But interestingly, according to his New York Times obituary today, "Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi Heavy. He was in good health for most of his life, said his daughter, Toshiko Yamasaki, which is why he avoided joining in anti-nuclear protests." You can read this obit in its entirety HERE.

His story also highlights some cultural and generational differences with modern day Americans. How many Americans today do you think would return to work dutifully for their employer after they had been caught in an atomic bombing while on a business trip? Ask yourself how many more would instead call a lawyer and sue, alleging that they were negligently (and heartlessly) sent to a war zone by that employer and had, as a result, endured "pain and suffering" (for which they needed to be compensated millions of dollars), on top of damages for ongoing "medical monitoring," as well as "punitive damages" (to teach that nasty corporate employer a lesson 'once and for all').

And how many Americans would shake off the radiation poisoning by a Japanese atomic bomb and then go to work for the occupying Japanese army?

No comments:

Post a Comment