While working as an insurance agent in the morning of March 10, 2000, Tsuneo Kojima suffered a brain hemorrhage. The hemorrhage caused aphasia--which damages the part of the brain responsible for language and communication--leaving him unable to speak.
In his book, "Ki ga Tsuitara Shitsugosho --Tonikaku...Shibutoku Iko" (When I Came To, I Had Aphasia--Anyway...I'll Never Give Up), Kojima, of Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, says he felt as if "his head had been struck by a hammer," and recalls his struggle with rehabilitation over a seven-year period.
Kojima, 66, was unconscious when he arrived at hospital by ambulance. But despite overcoming his brush with death, he was left unable to utter a single word, and was unable to tell doctors his name and address or pronounce numbers.
After being diagnosed with aphasia, his wife bought him books written for 4- and 5-year-old children who are just starting to read hiragana. He took a long time to recognize the characters, and he could not remember how to write them at all.