Thursday, August 6, 2015

Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

One of the most powerful accounts of that terrible event was told by a cartoonist--Keiji Nakazawa.

Nakazawa was a child living with his family in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on that city on August 6, 1945.   Nakazawa's father, sister and brother died that day and his infant sister died weeks later from radiation sickness. Unbelievably, Keiji, who was less than a mile away from ground zero, was protected from the blast by a collapsed wall.

Nakagawa survived to become a cartoonist creating a series of semi-autobiographical manga Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen) as well as Ore wa Mita (I Saw It).

Published by Project Gen
In 1978, Project Gen was formed to publish Nakazawa’s manga in English language trade paperback editions.

Published by Educomics
Around the same time, my old friend, cartoonist and visionary publisher, Leonard Rifas, published the first English language comic book version of Nakazawa’s work in the  United States ---Gen of Hiroshima and I Saw It.

I’ve always regarded Barefoot Gen as such an important work it never occurred to me that it might be out of print. But apparentlythat's currently the case.

Ron Turner of Last Gasp Publishing is planning to remedy that with a new hardcover edition. To join Last Gasp’s Kickstarter campaign go to:

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