Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura
A tailor’s widow living in Hiroshima. Mrs. Nakamura
narrowly escapes disaster when the explosion destroys her house.
She and her three children cope with illness and radiation poisoning
for years after the bomb, and she faces tremendous difficulties
finding work and housing in the years after the explosion.
in-depth analysis of Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura.
Dr. Terufumi Sasaki
A young surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital in Hiroshima.
Dr. Sasaki treats thousands of the dying and wounded after the bomb,
and eventually operates on Miss Sasaki’s fractured and infected
leg. After the war, he studies radiation sickness and other effects
of the bomb.
in-depth analysis of Dr. Terufumi Sasaki.
Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge
A German Jesuit priest living in Hiroshima. Father
Kleinsorge comforts many of the dying and wounded, even as he falls
prey to radiation sickness. He helps Miss Sasaki recover her will
to live and eventually become a nun. In the years after the war, he
becomes a Japanese citizen and takes the name Father Makoto Takakura.
in-depth analysis of Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge.
young clerk who works in a tin works factory. Miss Sasaki becomes
trapped in the wreckage of a factory when a bookcase crashes onto
her. For weeks she receives no real medical care for her leg, which
is badly fractured and infected, and she remains crippled for the
rest of her life. After the war, with the guidance of Father Kleinsorge,
she becomes a nun, Sister Dominique Sasaki.
in-depth analysis of Toshiko Sasaki.
Dr. Masakazu Fujii
A physician whose clinic topples into the water
when the bomb strikes. He, like other doctors in Hiroshima, is too
badly injured to help anybody else. Though apparently unaffected
by radiation, he falls victim to a sudden, mysterious illness years
in-depth analysis of Dr. Masakazu Fujii.
Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto
A Methodist pastor living in Hiroshima. Mr. Kiyoshi
helps bring many of the nameless dying and wounded to safety as
fires rage around the city. In the years following the war, he becomes
a staunch peace activist and tours America giving speeches and appearing
in-depth analysis of Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto.
The ten-year-old son of Mrs. Nakamura. Toshio has
terrible dreams following the death of his friend in the explosion.
He also delivers the final words of the original edition, a school
report about the day the bomb dropped.
Father Schiffer and Father LaSalle
Two Jesuit priests who are badly injured in the
blast and have to be evacuated, with the help of Father Kleinsorge
and Mr. Tanimoto.
Jesuit priest who helps the others get medical attention. He also
locates the mother of the Kataoka children.
former head of the Nobori-cho Neighborhood Association. Mr. Yoshida
once boasted that fire would never come to his neighborhood. He
is pinned by the wreckage of his house but manages to free himself.
His hair turns white two months later.
man who hates all Christians and who accuses Mr. Tanimoto of being
an American spy. Mr. Tanimoto reads Mr. Tanaka a psalm on his deathbed.
Tanimoto’s next-door neighbor. After the explosion, she walks around
for days, clutching her dead baby in her arms and desperately pleading
with Mr. Tanimoto to find her husband—a missing, presumably dead,
The Kataoka children
A young brother and sister who believe they have
lost their family. They are comforted by Father Kleinsorge and Father
Cieslik for weeks until they are finally reunited with their mother.
secretary of the diocese at the Jesuit mission. Father Kleinsorge
carries Mr. Fukai out of the mission on his back, but Mr. Fukai
escapes and returns to throw himself into the flames.
Jesuit priest who writes a report for the Holy See in Rome about
the atomic bomb. He expresses mixed views about the morality of
using such a powerful weapon.
young woman who becomes Father Kleinsorge’s cook, nurse, and close
friend in the years leading up to his death.
A group of young, unmarried women in Hiroshima whose
faces are so badly burned from the explosion that many people, including
Mr. Tanimoto, help them receive plastic surgery.
prominent American editor. Mr. Cousins orchestrates many of Mr.
Tanimoto’s speeches and appearances in America in the postwar years.
prominent American author who befriends Mr. Tanimoto. She is the
author of The Good Earth.
daughter of Mr. Tanimoto. Koko is exposed to radiation as a baby
during the explosion and is unable to have children when she grows
One of Dr. Fujii’s sons. Shigeyuki finds Dr. Fujii poisoned
by gas leaking out of his heater in 1963