Hiroshima: Stories of Tragedy and Hope

1. Introduction

Hiroshima is a novel by John Hersey that was published in 1946. It tells the story of six survivors of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. The characters that are followed in this story are Reverend Tanimoto, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, Dr. Masakazu Fujii, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, and Dr. Terufumi Sasaki.

2. Reverend Tanimoto

Reverend Tanimoto was a Methodist minister in Hiroshima. He was 39 years old at the time of the bomb. He was married and had one daughter. When the bomb hit, he was at home with his wife and daughter. His wife and daughter were both killed in the blast. Reverend Tanimoto survived because he was shielded by his wife’s body.

After the bomb, Reverend Tanimoto went into shock. He could not speak or eat for days. When he finally came out of it, he devoted himself to helping other survivors. He went from house to house looking for people who needed help. He also helped to set up an emergency clinic in the Methodist church.

Reverend Tanimoto became known as the “Running Priest” because he ran everywhere he went looking for survivors. He even ran all the way to Nagasaki, which was about 60 miles away, to see if there were any survivors there.

3. Miss Toshiko Sasaki

Miss Toshiko Sasaki was a 29-year-old secretary at the East Asia Tin Works at the time of the bomb. She lived with her parents and her brother Kazuo in a house near the factory. Kazuo Sasaki was away from home at the time of the bombing, so he survived. But Miss Sasaki’s parents were killed in the blast.

Miss Sasaki was wounded by flying glass when the bomb hit. She had cuts on her face and arms and glass in her eyes. She could not see for several days after the bombing because of the glass in her eyes. When she could finally see again, she went to look for her parents but could not find them anywhere. She later found out that they had been killed in the blast.

Miss Sasaki moved in with her brother Kazuo after the bomb because she could not bear to be alone in her parents’ house anymore. Kazuo had been wounded in the bombing too, but not as badly as his sister. The two of them helped each other to recover from their injuries and their grief.

4. Conclusion

Reverend Tanimoto and Miss Toshiko Sasaki are just two of the many characters in Hiroshima who experienced great tragedy during and after the bombing of their city on August 6, 1945. But they are also two examples of how people can find strength in adversity and go on to help others who are suffering as they have suffered themselves


Reverend Tanimoto is motivated to help those affected by the Hiroshima bombing because he feels it is his duty as a Christian. He also feels that it is his duty to help those who are suffering.

Miss Toshiko Sasaki copes with the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing by trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in her life. She continues to go to work and tries to keep up with her hobbies. 3. Religion and faith play a very important role in Reverend Tanimoto's life. He believes that it is his duty as a Christian to help those who are suffering.

Hersey uses juxtaposition to contrast the experiences of Reverend Tanimoto and Miss Sasaki by showing how they both cope with the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing.

Each character embodies hope in spite of their circumstances because they continue to live their lives despite the tragedy that has occurred.

We can learn from the stories of Reverend Tanimoto and Miss Sasaki about resilience in the face of tragedy by seeing how they both continue to live their lives despite what has happened.