Barefoot Gen


Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen) is a manga novel written and illustrated by Keiji Nakazawa. It begins in 1945 in and around Hiroshima, Japan, where the six-year-old boy Gen lives with his family. After Hiroshima is destroyed by atomic bombing, Gen and other survivors are left to deal with the aftermath. The story is loosely based on Nakazawa's own experiences as a Hiroshima survivor.

Hadashi no Gen was originally serialized beginning in 1973 in the mass-market manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump (Shūkan Shōnen Jampu), which had earlier published Nakazawa's autobiographical Hiroshima story "Ore wa Mita" ("I Saw It"). It was cancelled after a year and a half, and moved to three other less widely distributed magazines: Shimin (Citizen), Bunka Hyōron (Cultural Criticism), and Kyōiku Hyōron (Educational Criticism). It was published in book collections in Japan beginning in 1975. A volunteer organization, Project Gen, formed in 1976 to produce English translations, which were released in four volumes.

The first volume was published in Norwegian in 1986 by GEVION norsk forlag A/S. The Norwegian title is "Gen, Gutten fra Hiroshima" (Gen, the Boy from Hiroshima).

The first volume was published in Finnish in 1985 by Jalava, but publishing was likewise abandoned. The Finnish title is "Hiroshiman poika" (The Son of Hiroshima), and Finnish translation was done by Kaija-Leena Ogihara. In 2006 Jalava republished the first volume (with its original translation) and has continued with publication of later volumes.

A new English translation has been released with an introduction by Art Spiegelman, who has compared the work to his own work, Maus. Last Gasp Publishers will eventually release ten volumes.

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