Part 1 Summary

A Noiseless Flash

Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto was the pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church. Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura was a tailor’s widow. Dr. Masakazu Fujii ran a private hospital. Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge was a German priest with the Society of Jesus. Dr. Terafumi Sasaki was a surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital. Miss Toshiko Sasaki was a clerk in the personnel department at the East Asia Tin Works. Those six people survived the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima while approximately 100,000 were killed. They know that they were saved by small decisions they made that day.

Mr. Tanimoto was a “small man, quick to talk, laugh, and cry.” He was educated in the United States and spoke English fluently. Because of this, he was viewed with suspicion by some and was even questioned several times by the police. He had been moving items from his church to a house away from the center of the town in anticipation of an attack. He got up at 5 a.m. the morning of the attack. His wife and baby were in another town, Ushida. The people of Hiroshima were worried about a possible attack from American B-29s, because Hiroshima, unlike many other major Japanese cities, had not yet been bombed. Air raid warnings had gone off several times the night before. While Mr. Tanimoto was helping a friend move furniture into a house, he saw a brilliant flash of light and dove behind a rock. He thought that the house had been hit by a bomb. He did not hear an explosion, but he did see soldiers coming out of a hillside dugout bloodied and dazed.

Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura was a widow who lived in a section of Hiroshima called Noboricho. The night before, she had taken her three children to the designated “safe area” when the radio advised that B-29s were approaching the city. At about 2 a.m., she and her children returned to their house and decided to stay there even after another warning was issued. In the morning, Mrs. Nakamura was watching her neighbor tear down his house when “everything flashed whiter than any white she had ever seen.” The force of the blast knocked her through the air and buried her and her...

(The entire section is 878 words.)