WHEN the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima 50 years ago, a young Japanese physician named Tarô Takemi, within hours, correctly analyzed the nature of the holocaust, then risked his life in a brazen effort to win time for the Japanese military leaders to come to their senses and surrender.
Nearly four decades after the bombing of Hiroshima, Takemi treated me to a personal account of his remarkable venture. It was a riveting tale of courage and legerdemain, and hearing it first hand from Takemi was a moving experience. Equally moving was the haunting Takemi memoir, wherein he reported the story in greater detail, though characteristically understated, published in JAMA only months before his death.1
When I first met Takemi, in 1979, I was somewhat taken aback. "This guy is right out of central casting," I thought. He was short and bandy-legged with a balding bullethead, furrowed
Cloud DT. Dr Takemi and the Atomic BombA Footnote to History. JAMA. 1995;274(5):413-415. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530050061033