Barefoot Gen vol.1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima (Barefoot Gen) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/9/1
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In this graphic depiction of nuclear devastation, three survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima--Gen, his mother, and his baby sister--face rejection, hunger, and humiliation in their search for a place to live.
Keiji Nakazawa was six when the atomic bomb dropped on his city. His first published cartoon work appeared in 1963 and he has since has had over fifty book-length serials published. Now retired from cartooning, Nakazawa lives in Tokyo.
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Nakazawa says that each and every event introduced in these comics is true. You'll see, for example, that two young brothers fight against each other for a little grain of rice. The bombs were dropped onto civilians, both in the city centre, and, in Hiroshima alone, 100,000 people, including children, elderly people and western prisoners of war, were killed instantly, and the pain they suffered from afterwords was tremendous. The way some of Gen's family members, including a new born baby sister, were slowly dying is simply too sad to look at. But the reality is that it actually took place and was caused by human hands.
I sincerely hope that many people will find an opportunity to read these graphic novels at least once in their life-time, and I strongly believe that this series will enlighten the whole world with its message: 'what really happens when a nuclear bomb is dropped onto humanity', which hasn't really been talked about in history books for some reason. But I think it's time to face reality.
First published in serial form in 1972 and 1973 “Barefoot Gen”, which opens in April 1945, tells the story of what life was like in Hiroshima before the atomic bomb was dropped, and ends in its aftermath. Almost more than any other book, Keiji Nakazawa’s manga (cartoon) masterpiece is a novel of resourcefulness at a time when Japan was literally on the ropes. It was a time of appalling deprivation for the civilian population, and appalling losses by the Japanese military. “Barefoot Gen” is the story of Keiji Nakazawa’s experience of life in Hiroshima at that time, when the world was falling apart around him and, on that fateful day on August 6th, 1945 when the Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy” on Hiroshima and life as its citizens had known it came to a horrifically disastrous end. The story is graphically told in way that is mesmerizing and unforgettable.
More than an autobiographical account, “Barefoot Gen” is an antiwar masterpiece, focusing as it does on the horrendous consequences of modern war on armies and, more importantly, on civilians. “Human beings are foolish,” he writes in an introductory note. “Thanks to bigotry, religious fanaticism, and the greed of those who traffic in war, the Earth is never at peace, and the spectre of nuclear war is never far away. I hope that Gen’s story conveys to its readers the preciousness of peace and the courage we need to live strongly, yet peacefully.” It’s a message that we need to take to heart today.
The series should be translated into multiple languages and read by people now fighting somewhere in the world in the name of the common good.
The bombs were dropped onto civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in Hiroshima alone 100,000 people, including children, elderly people and western prisoners of war, were killed instantly or suffered slow death in the next few months. The way some of Gen's family members, including a new born baby sister, were slowly dying is simply too sad to look at. But the reality is that it actually took place and was caused by human hands.
I sincerely hope that many people will find the opportunity to read this book at least once in their life-time, and I strongly believe that this book will enlighten the whole world with the message: 'What really happens when a nuclear bomb is dropped onto humanity', which hasn't really been talked about in history books for some reason. But I think it's time to face reality.