Hiroshima

A clerk in the East Asia Tin Works corporation, and one of the six central characters of Hiroshima, Toshiko Sasaki is the character whose life is arguably most overtly changed by the Hiroshima bombing. Sasaki endures a horrific injury to her leg after the explosion throws a heavy bookcase on top of her. She is engaged to be married, but (largely because of her injury, it’s implied), her fiancé abandons her. In the hospital, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki (no relation to her) operates on her leg, and later on, she regains the ability to walk normally. Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge visits her in the hospital and inspires her to embrace Catholicism, with the result that she becomes a nun. In the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy, in other words, Sasaki copes with misery and pain by turning to religion. She ultimately finds the spiritual strength to live a long, rewarding life spent helping other people.

Toshiko Sasaki Quotes in Hiroshima

The Hiroshima quotes below are all either spoken by Toshiko Sasaki or refer to Toshiko 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

At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.

Related Characters: Toshiko Sasaki
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
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There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.

Related Characters: Toshiko Sasaki
Related Symbols: The Bookcase
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

"My child," Father Kleinsorge said, "man is not now in the condition God intended. He has fallen from grace through sin." And he went on to explain all the reasons for everything.

Related Characters: Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge (speaker), Toshiko Sasaki
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

Her greatest gift, she found, was her ability to help inmates to die in peace. She had seen so much death in Hiroshima after the bombing, and had seen what strange things so many people did when they were cornered by death, that nothing now surprised or frightened her

Related Characters: Toshiko Sasaki
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:
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Toshiko Sasaki Character Timeline in Hiroshima

The timeline below shows where the character Toshiko 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
...and an atomic bomb explodes over the city. At this precise moment, a clerk named Miss Toshiko Sasaki is sitting down to her job at the East Asia Tin Works. Also at the... (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... (full context)
Chapter Two: The Fire
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
In the East Asia Tin Works office, Toshiko Sasaki lies on the floor, crushed by books. After about three hours she regains consciousness and... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki hears voices crying out for help. She begins calling back to them—the closest person to... (full context)
Chapter Three: Details Are Being Investigated
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki spends two days and nights in the courtyard. Her leg becomes swollen, and she has... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
...11, radios broadcast the news that civilian patients are to be evacuated from Hiroshima immediately. Toshiko Sasaki is taken to a hospital in a nearby town. At the Novitiate, Father Cieslik tries... (full context)
Chapter Four: Panic Grass and Feverfew
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki has a horrible infection in her left leg. In the hospital, the doctors conclude that... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
...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 going to be... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
In February 1946, Father Kleinsorge is summoned to Toshiko Sasaki ’s hospital bed. He speaks sympathetically about her condition, and he doesn’t even mention religion.... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
By April of 1946, Toshiko Sasaki ’s wounds have healed. Her fiancé has abandoned her, but she takes comfort in her... (full context)
The Atomic Age, Politics, and Morality Theme Icon
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
One year after the bombing of Hiroshima, “ Toshiko Sasaki was a cripple, Mrs. Nakamura was destitute, Father Kleinsorge was back in the hospital,” and... (full context)
Chapter Five: The Aftermath
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
In 1946, Toshiko Sasaki is beginning to recover from her injuries. Then, very suddenly, “a new blow came.” She’d... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
By 1947, Toshiko Sasaki has taught herself to walk without crutches. She sends her children to live in an... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Trauma and Memory Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki loves working at the orphanage, and she feels tremendous compassion for the children. Many of... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki keeps in touch with her family in Hiroshima; during one of her visits, she runs... (full context)
Survival and Cooperation Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Toshiko Sasaki is assigned to work at a home for the elderly in Kyushu, where she wins... (full context)