Hiroshima

Dr. Terufumi Sasaki Character Analysis

A young doctor in the Red Cross Hospital, and one of the six central characters of Hiroshima. Dr. Sasaki is one of the only uninjured doctors left in Hiroshima after the bombing, and, as a result, he gets to work tending to the wounded almost immediately. In the Red Cross Hospital, he works for more than twenty-four hours straight. Years later, Sasaki becomes a highly successful private practitioner; however, it’s implied that the memory of Hiroshima haunts him, and that his vigorous work ethic is in many ways an attempt to forget about the horrors of the bombing.

Dr. Terufumi Sasaki Quotes in Hiroshima

The Hiroshima quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Terufumi Sasaki or refer to Dr. Terufumi Sasaki. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Hiroshima published in 1989.
Chapter 1 Quotes

A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died.

Page Number: 2
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Chapter 2 Quotes

Dr. Sasaki lost all sense of profession and stopped working as a skillful surgeon and a sympathetic man; he became an automaton, mechanically wiping, daubing, winding, wiping, daubing, winding.

Related Characters: Dr. Terufumi Sasaki
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

She would say, "It was war and we had to expect it." […] Dr. Fujii said approximately the same thing about the use of the bomb to Father Kleinsorge one evening, in German: "Da ist nichts zu machen. There’s nothing to be done about it."
Many citizens of Hiroshima, however, continued to feel a hatred for Americans which nothing could possibly erase. "I see," Dr. Sasaki once said, "that they are holding a trial for war criminals in Tokyo just now. I think they ought to try the men who decided to use the bomb."

Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

Dr. Terufumi Sasaki was still racked by memories of the appalling days and nights right after the explosion—memories it would be his lifework to distance himself from.

Related Characters: Dr. Terufumi Sasaki
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. Terufumi Sasaki Character Timeline in Hiroshima

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Terufumi Sasaki appears in Hiroshima. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One: A Noiseless Flash
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
...in her kitchen; Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest, is sitting in his mission house; Dr. Terufumi Sasaki is walking through the city hospital; and Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto is standing outside a house... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
On the morning of the bombing, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki , a twenty-five-year-old Red Cross Hospital surgeon, is on the train back to Hiroshima from... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Dr. Sasaki arrives at the terminal and takes a streetcar to the hospital. There, he draws blood... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki, aged twenty, isn’t related to Dr. Sasaki —she is a clerk for East Asia Tin Works. At three am, she wakes up... (full context)
Chapter Two: The Fire
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
...ruins, like most other buildings. The only uninjured doctor in the Red Cross Hospital is Dr. Sasaki , who is frantically gathering bandages from the storeroom. Without his glasses, Sasaki can barely... (full context)
Chapter Three: Details Are Being Investigated
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
That night, the Red Cross Hospital is overflowing with bombing victims. Dr. Sasaki is utterly worn out—he’s been treating burns non-stop. A few other doctors, some of them... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
At the Red Cross Hospital, Dr. Sasaki works for three days on an hour’s sleep. He begins treating serious wounds on the... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...learns that her mother, sister, and brother are dead. Meanwhile, in the Red Cross Hospital, Dr. Sasaki returns to work and begins to establish some order. With the help of some other... (full context)
Chapter Four: Panic Grass and Feverfew
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...Sasaki notices the incredible beauty of Hiroshima’s flora: the atomic blast has stimulated plant growth. Dr. Sasaki cares for Toshiko Sasaki, noting that his new patient seems to be suffering from strange... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
...can. He is sent to live with his father in the town of Shikoku. Meanwhile, Dr. Sasaki and his fellow doctors begin to understand radiation poisoning. Radiation from an atomic explosion can... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...he resumes practicing medicine; he even treats Allied soldiers, with whom he practices his English. Dr. Sasaki treats Toshiko Sasaki on October 23. Her bones heal very slowly, but her leg is... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...in her talks with Kleinsorge. Then, in the early summer, she converts to Catholicism. Meanwhile, Dr. Sasaki continues to work hard at the Red Cross Hospital—he almost never leaves. In March, he... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...a cripple, Mrs. Nakamura was destitute, Father Kleinsorge was back in the hospital,” and “ Dr. Sasaki was not capable of the work he once could do.” Furthermore, Dr. Fujii has lost... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...of the explosion, “It is war and we had to expect it.” However, others, including Dr. Sasaki , believe that America’s leaders are war criminals—Dr. Sasaki wants American generals to be hanged.... (full context)
Chapter Five: The Aftermath
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
In a way, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki spends the rest of his life distancing himself from his memories of the bombing. He... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Dr. Sasaki spends the next five years at the Red Cross Hospital working on treating keloid scars,... (full context)
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Dr. Sasaki tries to open his own clinic, but finds that he can’t get enough credit; as... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...many mothers who were pregnant on that day gave birth to children with shrunken heads. Dr. Sasaki , however, doesn’t treat or pay much attention to hibakusha—in a way, “he lived enclosed... (full context)
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Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
In 1963, Dr. Sasaki visits with the director of the Red Cross Hospital in Yokohama, Dr. Tatsutaro Hattori. Hattori... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
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In 1972, Dr. Sasaki ’s wife dies of cancer. Sasaki is devastated by this, but he throws himself back... (full context)
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As Dr. Sasaki ’s fortunes boom, he develops other plans for public works, including a hot-springs spa. In... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...have more time to rest. The church is located in Mukaihara, the same town where Dr. Sasaki is practicing. Father Kleinsorge’s new church is lonely, and sometimes nobody shows up for Mass.... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...visit him. Then, in 1976, he slips and falls in the bathroom. After going to Dr. Sasaki for X-rays, Kleinsorge finds fractures in his vertebrae and is, from then on, bedridden. He... (full context)