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Who Was The World’s Luckiest Person?

Survived 2 nuclear explosions


Who Was The World’s Luckiest Person?

Many believe the world’s luckiest person to be Tsutomu Yamaguchi. But he could also be considered the world’s unluckiest man too. What made him so lucky?

It’s a pretty subjective question to be sure, but one person that may surpass that subjectivity with his extraordinary luck is Japan’s Tsutomu Yamaguchi. Mr. Yamaguchi’s luck is a double-edged sword, however. What put him in contention for the world’s luckiest man could also be seen as something incredibly unlucky as well. But what made this nondescript man so lucky?

A Flash In The Sky

It was August 6th, 1945. Mr. Yamaguchi was on a business trip in Hiroshima, Japan. He was just about to head to the train station with 2 coworkers and return to his home in Nagasaki, when he realized he had forgotten a personal item back in the city.

He was walking back to retrieve the item when the American bomber Enola Gay dropped a nuclear bomb near the center of the city, only 2 miles away from where he was.

The blast blew out his eardrums, temporarily blinded him, and left him with major burns on one side of his body. Yamaguchi recalled seeing a bomber and two parachutes, before there was “a great flash in the sky, and I was blown over“. After finding that his two coworkers also survived, they returned to his home in Nagasaki and had their wounds treated and bandaged.

A Repeat Performance

Despite being seriously wounded, he still showed up for work in the morning. Mr. Yamaguchi was recounting the blast in Hiroshima to his supervisor, when an American bomber dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb onto Nagasaki. His workplace again put him roughly 2 miles from ground zero, but this time he suffered no injuries from the bomb. Unfortunately, he was unable to seek treatment for his now ruined bandages, and suffered from a high fever for over a week.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi

Tsutomu Yamaguchi

After the war, Yamaguchi worked as a translator for the occupying American forces before he later returned to work for Mitsubishi. Later in life, Yamaguchi became a vocal proponent of nuclear disarmament. In an interview, Mr Yamaguchi said, “The reason that I hate the atomic bomb is because of what it does to the dignity of human beings.” During a telephone interview he said, “I can’t understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs. How can they keep developing these weapons?” He also wrote a book about his experiences in the late 1980’s.

In March 2009, Japan officially recognized Yamaguchi as a survivor of both blasts. He is now the only person officially recognized as surviving two nuclear bomb explosions.

Mr. Yamaguchi lived to ripe old age of 93 and died on January 4th, 2010 at his home in Nagasaki.

Luckiest or unluckiest? You be the judge.

BBC “The only person recognized as having survived both atomic bombings in Japan dies at the age of 93.”



  1. pepsi

    November 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Now thats one lucky man.

  2. Fishy Head

    May 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Dang. This man is just so lucky that God decided to let him live. It is just unfortunate that he had to go not just 1, but 2 nuclear blasts. This is what our world has turned into.

    • Chen Li

      May 13, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Don’t bring religion into this. You do realize that hundred of thousands DID NOT live. This man is simply a rare survivor of the most terrible war on this planet.

      • CrouchingWeasel

        February 28, 2016 at 5:40 am

        And millions more people did survive. Your point?

        • Donna Li

          December 18, 2016 at 3:22 am

          So…. What point are you making? You’re saying that god gets to decide who survives and who dies from man made weapons of mass destruction? Dont get me started in this crap, dont bring your petty religion into real life scenarios please.

        • Fraught

          December 27, 2016 at 11:33 am

          He literally just told you his point. “Don’t bring religion into this.”

          Beyond the fact that religion has nothing to do with anything, as there is no direct intervention from God, because God is a fictional character, there’s also the fact that there is no reason God should’ve willy nilly chosen completely innocent people (and families) to die, while letting this guy, and probably some evil people living in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki at the time to also survive. It’s all biology, it’s all up to the places these people were at at the time (distance from the blast etc), and it has NOTHING to do with a fictional character you nutters believe randomly picks completely fuckin’ haphazardly people to survive things.

        • GodisaD

          February 26, 2017 at 8:00 am

          Yeah, because God in his infinite wisdom decided that millions should die while millions were deemed worthy of saving.
          According to your logic, if God was the cause for that person’s survival, then he is also responsible for the millions who died.

    • Ian Cooper

      December 22, 2016 at 7:01 am

      Grow up! There is no god.

  3. Anonymous Super Saiyan

    May 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    If only the world was as lucky as him. If another nuclear war were to erupt, our Earth will surely be scarred.

    • BB

      February 21, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      If you’ve ever played a fallout game, then you’d have a good idea of what the landscape would look like.

      • That One Guy

        February 1, 2017 at 5:40 am

        Yeah except for the giant insects, genetically modified mutants, and massive radioactive fallout on literally every surface that’s still lethal 200 years after the fact. The world would take a hit but it would bounce back within a few decades realistically.

  4. CrouchingWeasel

    February 28, 2016 at 5:40 am

    People say he’s lucky, how unlucky do you have to be to get smacked by 2 atomic bombs? The only luck here is the fact that he somehow managed to survive.

  5. Billwill

    October 25, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Why did he not die from radiation poisoning or cancer later in life?

    • Sam

      September 8, 2017 at 4:07 am

      I think because both bombs detonated high in the air to maximize destruction. Because of that the fallout was not as bad as one would imagine. I mean today the radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are as low as the average amount of natural radiation anywhere. I think that would make cancer less likely.
      And maybe he was just far enough away to suffer from direct radiation poisoning.
      Or he just got lucky a third time.

  6. Lucky Man

    March 9, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I think he has an amazing story to tell. Wish he was still alive.

  7. beowolf

    July 29, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Concern for the dignity of what nukes do to human beings? Nukes are a scourge, but this attributed quote is beyond the pale. Japan occupied Korea for 35 years, stealing their natural resources, humiliating their people, turning their young women into prostitutes. Then, for a war they started, the Japanese military murdered 6 million Chinese, Koreans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. Many people were blindfolded killings to avoid having to feed prisoners. Another 8 million Chinese, Philippians and other islanders died of war related famine. The Nanking Massacre saw entire families murdered together, tens of thousands of women raped, 200k plus deaths. Dignity?

    • john matich

      July 11, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      Is all that his fault? Does all that negate the indignities he was talking about?

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