Sumiteru Taniguchi is one of Nagasaki Survivor and he was only sixteen when Nagasaki was bombed on the 9th of August, 1945. It has been 70 years since the world-altering tragedy, but Taniguchi lives with its dreaded memory even today.
This Nagasaki survivor’s body is covered with wounds that hurt to this day, in spite of the cream that his wife applies every day to soothe the pain and bring relief to the scars that still burn. These scars are visible almost everywhere – his frail body has dents in several places, and a conspicuous swelling covers his chest. The remains of three of his ribs, now half rotten, press into his lungs, making it difficult for him to breathe. And it has been 70 years since Taniguchi straightened his left arm, simply because he couldn’t.
At the moment that the “Fat Man” bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on the 9th of August, 1945, Taniguchi was about 1.8 km from the epicenter; the blast threw him off his bicycle. Taniguchi says that he spent the next three days in a daze, his skin hanging off his back and shoulders like an old rag.
The next 21 months were spent lying on his stomach, drifting in and out of consciousness, while waiting for his burned back and exposed bones to heal. He vaguely remembers nurses asking one another if he was still breathing. His condition was critical, and the fact that he survived is a wondrous miracle.
Today, he heads a Nagasaki survivors group that is working against nuclear proliferation, although his advancing age does not allow him to play an active role. He hopes that no one would ever have to suffer the pain that nuclear weapons can cause: ‘I want this to be the end,’ he says.