Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Kiyoshi Tanimoto

Kiyoshi Tanimoto, a Methodist minister whose energy and perseverance help him save lives after the atomic bomb falls on Hiroshima. Initially feeling the pressure of fellow citizens’ suspicions because of his American education, Tanimoto works selflessly to help others. His charitable spirit and caring for others are exemplified in his comforting of one of his earlier accusers, Mr. Tanaka, who is dying of wounds suffered in the bombing. Tanaka, an influential, powerful man, is reduced to suffering and seeks redemption from someone earlier perceived as an enemy. Tanimoto’s good intentions, however, do not keep him from being perceived as a seeker of personal glory. His willingness to remain in contact with Americans is, like his Christianity, an indication to many of his fellow citizens that he is not truly Japanese.

Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge

Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest who identifies with the Japanese so strongly that he takes Japanese citizenship and changes his name to Makoto Takakura in the years after the bombing. The days immediately after the bombing prove Father Kleinsorge’s dedication to helping people. Those days also allow him to demonstrate strengths of which he had previously been unaware. For example, his practicality overcomes what had been his typical squeamishness when he discusses eating a fish right after helping give water to soldiers whose faces had been horribly burned. His...

(The entire section is 605 words.)