"Hadashi no Gen" - Barefoot Gen - by Keiji Nakazaw

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Sweet_Baboo
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"Hadashi no Gen" - Barefoot Gen - by Keiji Nakazaw

Post by Sweet_Baboo » Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:49 am

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autobiography by Keiji Nakazawa. He was seven when the Atom Bomb was dropped on his home city, Hiroshima. There are four books, telling the struggles of a Japanese family before (#1), on the day of (#2), and in the aftermath of the blast (#3,4)

As most A-bomb survivors wanted to forget about the blast and what they experienced, many were reluctant to tell their story. The Japanese government also discouraged the publication of these stories in the years following the war, desiring for the country to move forward, modernize, and have good relations with the U.S. All the while, the survivors were dying from radiation poisoning.

Seeing that the horrors of the Atomic Bomb were quickly being forgotten, Keiji Nakazawa wrote Barefoot Gen, truthfully telling what happened, what he saw, what he experienced. The images are extremely graphic and haunting.

(Keiji Nakazawa was not a cartoonist - I believe this was his first and only manga)

I think this book changes your life.

It seems like a lot of American movies easily bust out Atomic Bombs, with out dealing with what that MEANS. (T2 is the only example I can think of that actually show what happens) or even joke about it in cartoons and make mutant heroes out of those who are exposed to radiation.

I mean, in reality that's all the deformed babies and people with cancer in Iraq, where we dropped tons of Depleted Uranium shells in the first Gulf War, and dropped twice as much this time around - maybe all a "kill two birds with one stone" thing, killing the enemy and cleaning out our nuclear waste.

When I lived in Japan, we learned about the horrors of war and the Atomic Bomb from first grade - I came across this book in second grade, I think, I used to read it in the library during lunch time (made me feel really nauseous) - where as in American education (as far as my high school goes) the Atomic Bomb was a sub-chapter to a chapter in my history book.

I mean, everybody in the WORLD needs to learn about this.

Barefoot Gen is a anti-war story. Keiji Nakazawa named the main character "gen" (which uses the character for "root"/"origin") in hopes that his story will be the beginning of understanding that war cannot happen and to realize a peaceful future.

Barefoot Gen doesn't just criticize the American use of the bomb, but also the Japanese government for pushing the exhausted and impoverished citizenry to keep fighting (Gen's father was a pacifist, and was repeatedly harassed/tortured for defying the will of the government), the Japanese's racism toward non-Japanese Asians (Koreans, Chinese, who were brought to Japan as cheap labor), and the coldness of many Japanese people toward the disfigured/ill survivors.

Like I said - This book will change your life. You will have nightmares.

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Post by Stick » Sun Dec 28, 2003 8:32 am

this is real hard to find..

most of the books are out of print... amazon has only a scattered selection of a few of em.. not all of the volumes for a single purchase. :(


EDIT: here

are these all the volumes in one book? cause i think it is.............

i also notice it's REAL expensive.... especially since it's a first print..

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Post by Kazu » Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:41 pm

I have heard from many people that this is an incredible book, and I know Derek Kirk and John Pham gave it the highest possible recommendation. I'll definitely have to pick up a copy.

And Miwa, I believe Nakazawa was a full-time manga artist when he undertook this controversial project. They have a nice interview with him in a recent issue of The Comics Journal. You can find an excerpt from it here.

Another recommendation on this subject would be the Isao Takahata-directed animated film, Grave of the Fireflies, which was on a double-bill with My Neighbor Totoro(!) when it was released.

Thanks for posting this, Miwa. I'll be sure to pick up a copy next time I'm at the store.
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Post by neil » Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:36 pm

Kazu wrote:Another recommendation on this subject would be the Isao Takahata-directed animated film, Grave of the Fireflies, which was on a double-bill with My Neighbor Totoro(!) when it was released.
That's a really heartbreaking film, all the more so because it's completely unsentimental. The direction is also very advanced for animation--Takahata uses a jump-cut for a memory (sort of like Alan Resnais), and I teared up immediately when I saw it.

I know "Barefoot Gen" is also an anime, but I haven't seen it.

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Post by Sweet_Baboo » Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:21 pm

And Miwa, I believe Nakazawa was a full-time manga artist when he undertook this controversial project. They have a nice interview with him in a recent issue of The Comics Journal. You can find an excerpt from it here.
oops.

I wrote a little article about this two years ago... so maybe my memory's kinda jumbled.
this is real hard to find..

most of the books are out of print... amazon has only a scattered selection of a few of em.. not all of the volumes for a single purchase.
EDIT: here
are these all the volumes in one book? cause i think it is.............
i also notice it's REAL expensive.... especially since it's a first print..
hmm... well, I got these books two years ago through Amazon - i got them used.

I'm looking at Amazon right now, and they seem to be about $11-15, and under $10 for used.

I don't think there's a box set.

It's confusing because sometimes they don't label them as #1, #2...etc

I think it's
"Cartoon History of Hiroshima"
"The Day After"
"Life After the Bomb"
"Out of the Ashes"

I remember I ended up buying two copies of the same book, because I got confused between the volumes. Or maybe the fourth one's hard to find for a cheap price? I can't remember, but I still don't have the fourth one... (I guess that's kinda weak to say after my hot-blooded endorsement)

I guess I figured I'll get the whole series in japanese later.

I haven't seen the Anime.

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