Hiroshima By John Hersey Character Analysis Dr. Masakazu Fujii

Before the bombing, Dr. Fujii is a physician with compassion and concern for his patients and workers. After he survives the blast, he continues to help those around him even though he is terribly injured. This is a decided change from his usual lifestyle where he enjoyed himself and "did not believe in working too hard." Once he survives the bombing he is forced to work to pay for his hedonistic pleasures.

Unlike the other five survivors, Dr.Fujii is a wealthy physician with his own private hospital before the bombing. He evacuated his family from Hiroshima prior to August 6, fearing for their safety. In the remainder of the book his family is rarely mentioned because his values seem to be wealth, hedonistic pleasures, and status rather than family values and domestic duties. The bombing ends this lifestyle only temporarily.

Once the city begins reorganizing during the Allied occupation, Dr. Fujii acquires a new clinic and rebuilds his practice. Now, however, his interests involve learning languages so he can talk with occupation officers. He restores his social life at the expense of time with his family and surrounds himself with the upper echelon of the enemy-turned-conquerors.

Dr. Fujii resumes his life of self-indulgence and frequents the dance halls, geisha houses, and prostitution establishments. His interests include alcohol, billiards, photography, dancing, mah-jongg, golf, and baseball; these interests are topped only by his growing reputation as a "playboy." He joins an exclusive country club and also builds a sand bunker and drive-net to practice golf in his garden.

His trips to the U.S. fuel yet another desire: to be like the American doctors in New York. He is quite a celebrity with his jovial attitude and impeccable manners. Desiring to imitate American lifestyles, he builds a beautiful home and continues to surround himself with pleasures.

Throughout his life Dr. Fugii never fostered a spiritual life and his family seemed to be an occasional distraction from his busy social affairs. When he develops cancer, it appears that he attempts to end his life but fails. His last years are sad and declining, and his life ends on a far different note than it was lived. Although his earlier years were pleasant for him, they served to estrange him from his family, and in the end he is depressed and disconsolate, with no spiritual reserves to draw upon. Death is a specter that he cannot buy off or outrun.

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