The world's most Unlucky Man, cheated death 7 times

Have you ever felt unlucky, like you just run out of luck in everything you do? Many people feel unlucky in different ways. One might claim to be unlucky when he doesn’t win the star prize in a raffle draw or when he doesn’t get a job after job hunting for five months. <!--more-->

Well, to some extent, these scenarios could be considered “unlucky” but none of them can be compared to the experiences of the unluckiest man in the world, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the man who got hit by an atomic bomb twice! Tsutomu Yamaguchi was a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings during World War II. Although at least 160 people are known to have been affected by both bombings, he is the only person to have been officially recognized by the government of Japan as surviving both explosions.

A resident of Nagasaki, Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on business for his employer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. It was August 6, 1945, and he had just finished designing a 5,000-ton tanker for his company, Mitsubishi. He was heading to the office to finish up, clear out and head home at 8:15am, and that was when he saw the plane, high up in the sky over Hiroshima. He watched it drop a silvery speck into the air, and instinctively, he dove to the ground and covered his eyes and plugged his ears with his thumbs.

This was no ordinary bomb. I’m talking massive nuclear explosion. The earth below shook, Yamaguchi was thrown up in the air, then smashed down and lost consciousness. This was the first atomic bomb the American bomber, Enola Gay, dropped near the centre of the city, only 3 km away from where Yamaguchi was at the moment. The explosion ruptured his eardrums, blinded him temporarily, and left him with serious burns over the left side of the top half of his body.

After recovering, he crawled to a shelter, and having rested, he spent the night in an air-raid shelter before returning to Nagasaki the following day. In Nagasaki, he received treatment for his wounds, and despite being heavily bandaged, he reported for work on August 9, only 3 days after being severely hit by the atomic bomb.

At 11 am on August 9, Yamaguchi was describing the nuclear blast in Hiroshima to his supervisor, when the American bomber Bockscar dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb over the city. His workplace again put him 3 km from ground zero, but this time he was unhurt by the explosion. However, he was unable to replace his now ruined bandages, and he suffered from a high fever for over a week. He was so horrified by the second incident that he felt “the mushroom cloud had followed him from Hiroshima”.

The thing is, the US wasn’t even planning on bombing Nagasaki. It was the secondary target. Weather made it so the primary target that day, Kokura, was unfeasible. Even Nagasaki barely happened because of cloud cover (they were ordered to do a visual drop) and things only cleared up at the last minute right before they’d have to leave because of fuel. So, it was essentially thanks to the weather that Yamaguchi got hit twice. Now is that unlucky or what?

However, the human body is quite resilient to radiation. We evolved for millions of years in an environment where we were constantly being bombarded by radiations from the sun and other elements. But, it’s not just our ability to take radiation. So long as we don’t receive a fatal dose of it, our body can actually heal itself over time. Since radiation damages our DNA and the chemical bonds inside, it definitely takes a while but our body is constantly repairing solar radiation damage like this on a much smaller scale. All that being said, though, it’s probably not a great thing to be hit by atomic bombs.  While most radiation is fairly harmless to people in normal quantities, nuclear blasts are pretty full of radiation and a lot of people got caught up in it. So many people died from it and are still feeling the effects.

The inspiring part of Yamaguchi’s story is that in the 1950s, he and his wife decided it was time to have children. At the time in history, it was thought that radiation damage would last a thousand years and be passed down from parent to child generation after generation. However they had a strong feeling about it and decided to give it a try. Considering Mrs.

Yamaguchi was hit by one atomic bomb and Mr. Yamaguchi two, people probably thought their children would come out looking like monkeys. But, turns out all of that was wrong. There is no evidence of DNA damage to the two daughters they bore after the explosion.

Despite the freakishly dangerous effects of exposure to radiations from nuclear bombs, Yamaguchi went on to lead a healthy life. Late in his life, he began to suffer from radiation-related ailments, including cataracts and acute leukemia. His wife also suffered radiation poisoning from black rain after the Nagasaki explosion and died in 2008 (age 88) of kidney and liver cancer after a lifetime of illness.

All three of their children were reported to suffering from health problems probably connected with their parents' exposures. This is why he is known as the unluckiest and luckiest man in the world.
Mr. Yamaguchi himself died in January of 2010 at the age of 93. He died of stomach cancer, and while this cancer may have been caused by the radiation from the bombings, most would agree that 93 year olds tend to get cancer of some kind or another. His son was not so lucky unfortunately, dying at the age of 59 of cancer, possibly due to radiation from the bomb as he was only 2 when the explosion hit Nagasaki. The two daughters born after the explosions are still alive and seem to be doing okay, though I suppose time will tell if they actually did receive any lasting effects.

There is one particular quote by Tsutomu Yamaguchi that stands out about his surviving two atomic blasts:
“I could have died on either of those days, everything that follows is a bonus.”
This man, Tsutomu Yamaguchi is a survivor and an inspiration. Seriously, you have no reason to complain. Ever. If you ever feel like your life sucks or that the world is out to get you, just think about Yamaguchi here and know that there’s someone out there with a worse case than yours and all you need to do is find a solution to your problems because where there’s a will, there’s always a way. More pics after the cut

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About Ukandu Jerry Paul

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