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Many people consider themselves lucky in our world - but how many of them can say that they survived not one, but two nuclear blasts? As far as we know, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the only one who could say this about himself.

The tale of two bombs

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was a draftsman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries since the 1930s. His job was to design oil tankers, which he has done with the dedication and attention specific to the Japanese. He was a patriot and a pacifist, considering that Japan should have never joined the second World War.

He lived and worked in Nagasaki, but in the summer of 1945, he was detached to work in Hiroshima for three months. On August 6th, he was on his way to the train station, planning to return home, when he realized he forgot his "hanko" (a stamp used in Japan for validating train tickets) at his workplace. He returned to the office to take it, and he was leaving for the station when the bomber Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy, the first nuclear bomb ever to be used against a civilian target, on the city.

Being less than two miles away from the bomb site, he was affected by the blast: he suffered serious burns, the blast ruptured his eardrums, and he was temporarily blinded by the explosion. He managed to crawl to a shelter to rest before heading out to find his coworkers who have also survived. Ultimately he found a way to return to Nagasaki on the following day.

Three days later, as he was telling his supervisor about the explosion that leveled Hiroshima, the second nuclear bomb fell. This time he was inside, so the blast didn't affect him at all.

Later life

Even though he was caught in both nuclear explosions that shook Japan in 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi managed to live a long and fruitful life. His wife survived the blast to shake Nagasaki, too, and they had two daughters. In the 1950s, Tsutomu Yamaguchi worked as a translator for the occupying American troops, later becoming a schoolmaster. At first, he didn't even feel the need to emphasize on his survival of both blasts, but later he started considering it destiny and applied for the Japanese government to recognize his surviving of both of them. Ultimately he was recognized as the only person to survive both the Hiroshima and the Nagasaki explosion.

Despite being exposed to two nuclear explosions, Tsutomu Yamaguchi lived until the ripe age of 93. He passed away in 2010 of liver and kidney cancer, attributed to the effects of radiation.

Published by sandeep Malik