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When he shows up drunk to a mandatory combat drill and talks back to his instructor, the Nakaokas are branded as traitors and become subject to harassment and discrimination by their neighbors. To restore his family's honor, Gen's older brother Koji joins the Navy against Daikichi's wishes, where he is subjected to a brutal training regimen by his commanding officer and lost one friend who killed himself because of this.

Hiroshima : The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen (Asian Voices) (Reprint) [Paperback]

On August 6, the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Gen's father and siblings perish in the fires, but he and his mother escape. The shock causes her to give premature birth; Gen's new sister is named Tomoko. In the days following the attack, Gen and his mother witness the horrors wrought by the bomb.


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Hiroshima lies in ruins, and the city is full of people dead and dying from severe burns and radiation sickness. Gen meets a girl named Natsue, whose face has been severely burned. She attempts to commit suicide, but Gen convinces her to continue living. Gen and his mother adopt an orphan named Ryuta, who by sheer coincidence looks identical to Gen's deceased younger brother Shinji.

After Gen returns to their burnt-out home and retrieves the remains of his father and siblings, he and his family go to live with Kime's friend Kiyo. However, Kiyo's crotchety mother-in-law conspires with her grandchildren to drive the Nakaokas out. Gen looks for work to pay the family's rent. A man hires him to look after his brother Seiji, who has been burnt from head to toe and lives in squalor.

Though Seiji is reluctant at first, he warms up to Gen over time: The boy learns Seiji is an artist who has lost the will to live because his burns have left him unable to hold a brush.


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With Gen's help, Seiji learns to paint with his teeth but, eventually, he dies of his wounds. On August 14, Emperor Hirohito announces Japan's surrender over the radio, ending the war. Following Japan's unconditional surrender, American occupation forces arrive to help the nation rebuild. Gen and Ryuta, fearing rumours they've heard about the Americans, arm themselves with a pistol they find in an abandoned weapons cache. They learn the Americans aren't as bad as they'd thought when they're given free candy, but they also witness a group of American soldiers harvesting organs from corpses for medical research.

Kiyo's mother-in-law evicts the Nakaokas after Gen gets into a fight with her grandchildren, and they move into an abandoned bomb shelter. Gen and Ryuta attempt to earn money to feed Tomoko, getting involved with the local Yakuza. After the Yakuza betray them, Ryuta kills one of them with the pistol they found and becomes a fugitive.

Later, Gen learns that Tomoko has been kidnapped. He finds her with the help of a classmate, only to learn that she's become ill.

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Tomoko dies soon after. In December , Gen is reunited with Ryuta, who has become a juvenile delinquent, doing odd jobs for the Yakuza. He meets Katsuko, a girl scarred by burns from the bomb. As an orphan and a hibakusha , she is subject to discrimination and cannot go to school; Gen lends her his books and teaches her himself. Major themes throughout the work are power, hegemony , resistance and loyalty.

Gen's family suffers as all families do in war. They must conduct themselves as proper members of society, as all Japanese are instructed in paying tribute to the Emperor. But because of a belief that their involvement in the war is due to the greed of the rich ruling class, Gen's father rejects the military propaganda and the family comes to be treated as traitors. Gen's family struggles with their bond of loyalty to each other and to a government that is willing to send teenagers on suicide missions in battle. This push and pull relationship is seen many times as Gen is ridiculed in school, mimicking his father's views on Japan's role in the war, and then is subsequently punished by his father for spouting things he learned through rote brainwashing in school.

Many of these themes are put into a much harsher perspective when portrayed alongside themes of the struggle between war and peace. A volunteer pacifist organization, Project Gen, formed in Tokyo in to produce English translations. Cartoonists - Japan - Biography. Comic books, strips, etc - Japan - History. Atomic bomb victims - Japan - Hiroshima-shi - Biography.

Hadashi no Gen. Nakazawa, Keiji - Childhood and youth. Nakazawa, Keiji - Family.

Hiroshima The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen Asian Voices

Nakazawa, keiji Hiroshima-shi Japan - History - Bombardment, - Personal narratives. Hiroshima-shi Japan - Biography. Japan - Biography. Japan - Hiroshima-shi. Personal narratives. Add Spaces will separate tags. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Contributor Minear, Richard H. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.

Born in Hiroshima in , Nakazawa was six years old when on August 6, , the United States dropped the atomic bomb.

His gritty and stunning account of the horrific aftermath is powerfully told through the eyes of a child who lost most of his family and neighbors. The narrative continues through the brutally difficult years immediately after the war, his art apprenticeship in Tokyo, his pioneering "atomic-bomb" manga, and the creation of Barefoot Gen, the classic graphic novel based on his own experiences before, during, and after the bomb.

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Despite the grimness of his early life, Nakazawa never succumbs to pessimism or defeatism. His trademark optimism and activism shine through in this inspirational work.


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Subject Nakazawa, Keiji. Nakazawa, Keiji. Hadashi no Gen. Comic books, strips, etc.