Hiroshima

Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto Character Analysis

A Methodist minister, and one of the six central characters of Hiroshima, Reverend Tanimoto is uninjured in the bombing on August 6, 1945. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, he tends to the wounded, ferries victims across the river toward a Christian Novitiate where they can obtain medical care, and generally prioritizes the happiness and safety of other people. For the rest of his life, Hersey explains in the long final chapter of the book, Tanimoto devotes himself to raising money for his church (which was destroyed in the explosion) and campaigning for the design of a global peace center in Hiroshima. Tanimoto succeeds in raising funds for his church, and for burn victims from the bombing; however, he has difficulty enacting any of his more ambitious plans, partly because he acquires a reputation for being self-absorbed and publicity-starved.

Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto Quotes in Hiroshima

The Hiroshima quotes below are all either spoken by Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto or refer to Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto. 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.

Related Characters: Dr. Masakazu Fujii, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, Hatsuyo Nakamura, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

All the way, he overtook dreadfully burned and lacerated people, and in his guilt he turned to right and left as he hurried and said to some of them, "Excuse me for having no burden like yours."

Related Characters: Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto (speaker)
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

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He experienced such horror at disturbing the dead—preventing them, he momentarily felt, from launching their craft and going on their ghostly way— that he said out loud, "Please forgive me for taking this boat. I must use it for others, who are alive."

Related Characters: Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto (speaker)
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

The sounds came from one of the sandspits, and those in the punt could see, in the reflected light of the still-burning fires, a number of wounded people lying at the edge of the river, already partly covered by the flooding tide. Mr. Tanimoto wanted to help them, but the priests were afraid that Father Schiffer would die if they didn't hurry, and they urged their ferryman along.

Related Characters: Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto, Father Schiffer
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

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When they came to know the war was ended—that is, Japan was defeated, they, of course, were deeply disappointed, but followed after their Emperor's commandment in calm spirit, making whole-hearted sacrifice for the everlasting peace of the world—and Japan started her new way.

Related Characters: Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto (speaker), Emperor Hirohito
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Nor did he have any place in the Japanese peace movement, for he had been out of the country at crucial moments in its development and, besides, his Christian outlook made him suspicious of the radical groups that were on the cutting edge of antinuclear activity.

Related Characters: Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

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He was slowing down a bit. His memory, like the world's, was getting spotty.

Related Characters: Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

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Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto Character Timeline in Hiroshima

The timeline below shows where the character Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto 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
...his mission house; Dr. Terufumi Sasaki is walking through the city hospital; and Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto is standing outside a house in the western suburb. A hundred thousand people die in... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Reverend Tanimoto awakes early at his parsonage. His wife and child are staying with a friend in... (full context)
Chapter Two: The Fire
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
After the explosion, Reverend Tanimoto stares at the wounded soldiers crawling out of their dugout. He sees an old woman... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Tanimoto runs back to the garden outside the house where he’d been carrying the cabinet. From... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
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Mr. Tanimoto runs into the city of Hiroshima, desperate to find his family and his church. He... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Tanimoto comes to a large Shinto shrine surrounded by burning buildings. There, by incredible coincidence, he... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto continues toward his neighborhood, which is full of injured, bleeding people. He notices a small... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto arrives in the park, where he finds it difficult to distinguish between the living and... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
The rain subsides, and Mr. Tanimoto and Father Kleinsorge resume helping the bombing victims. Tanimoto and Kleinsorge decide to run into... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
As evening falls, Mr. Tanimoto encounters his neighbor, a young woman named Mrs. Kamai. She begs him to help her... (full context)
Chapter Three: Details Are Being Investigated
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...but they worry that walking will cause the men to lose too much blood. Mr. Tanimoto volunteers to use the boat to transport the priests away from the city, where they... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto helps to lower Father Schiffer into his boat, along with two other priests, and he... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto paddles the boat to the sandspit, where he finds about twenty men and women. He... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto transports the priests upriver. Nearby, there is a large case of rice cakes, which a... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...to rest. When a gas storage tower bursts into flame, they shriek with delight. Mr. Tanimoto, however, falls asleep immediately. The next morning, he awakens to the sight of dead bodies... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto decides to find a doctor to bring to Asano Park. He crosses the river in... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
On the morning of August 9, Mr. Tanimoto is in the park, tending to the wounded. He notices that his neighbor, Mrs. Kamai,... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
On August 11, Mr. Tanimoto returns to his ruined parsonage. In the ruins, he finds church records and cooking tools.... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
...announcement: on behalf of the Japanese state, he is surrendering to the Allied forces. Mr. Tanimoto later explains that hearing the Emperor’s voice is an almost religious experience. It feels depressing,... (full context)
Chapter Four: Panic Grass and Feverfew
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...Myeko, begins to feel weak, but her son and other daughter seem perfectly fine. Mr. Tanimoto begins to feel ill, too. Nakamura, Myeko, Tanimoto, and Kleinsorge don’t realize it, but they... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto is hospitalized with a fever of 104 degrees; doctors treat him as best they can.... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Mr. Tanimoto becomes friendly with Father Kleinsorge. He is jealous, however, that Kleinsorge and his fellow priests... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...the work he once could do.” Furthermore, Dr. Fujii has lost his hospital, and Mr. Tanimoto has lost his church. In other words, even six of the luckiest Hiroshimans present on... (full context)
Chapter Five: The Aftermath
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
In 1946, Kiyoshi Tanimoto is trying to rebuild his church. He has very little money, especially since his building... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
In America, Tanimoto campaigns for world peace, making emotional speeches and forging useful connections with American activists. In... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
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Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Tanimoto and Norman Cousins, the editor of the Saturday Review, launch a petition for the United... (full context)
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Back in Hiroshima in 1950, Tanimoto uses the 10,000 dollars he raised to build a new church, and he returns to... (full context)
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Tanimoto returns Japan and sets to work founding a Bible study group for his proposed peace... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
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...with radioactive fallout” from a nuclear test near Bikini. Norman Cousins, still in contact with Tanimoto, travels to New York to raise funds for more plastic surgery—he wants New York doctors... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
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Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
In 1955, Tanimoto travels to America with some of the women who are to receive plastic surgery. He... (full context)
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The day after the interview, the Japanese government telegrams the United States, explaining that Tanimoto is “something of a publicity seeker,” more interested in raising funds for a memorial peace... (full context)
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Tanimoto’s tour of the United States raises lots of money—from the TV interview alone, he earns... (full context)
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Mr. Tanimoto’s daughter, Koko Tanimoto, was only an infant during the bombing. Later on, she begins traveling... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
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In 1959, a baby girl is left outside Tanimoto’s church, and Tanimoto decides to raise the child, along with others who lost parents during... (full context)
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Almost forty years after the bombing, the Hiroshima peace center that Tanimoto proposed is “nominally still in place,” though it consists mostly of an orphanage for children... (full context)