Cartoonist Keiji Nakazawa was seven years old and living in Hiroshima in the early days of August 1945 when the city was destroyed by an atomic bomb dropped by the United States. Starting a few months before that event, his ten-volume saga Barefoot Gen shows life in Japan after years of war and privations, as seen through the eyes of seven-year-old Gen Nakaoka. As Volume Ten begins, the year is 1953. Now an apprentice sign painter, Gen has become a skilled artist, while his friends run a thriving dressmaking business. Gen falls in love for the first time, but fails to notice that a good friend has been caught in the clutches of drug addiction. Heartbreak and loss await Gen as the atomic bomb continues to wreak havoc on the lives of people in Hiroshima years after the fact. Yet these tragedies also inspire Gen to make the big move to Tokyo to pursue his career as an artist.
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Keiji Nakazawa was six years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on his hometown of Hiroshima. Only a mile from ground zero, the boy miraculously survived but lost his father, brother and sister in the ensuing holocaust. Growing up in postwar Hiroshima, he loved reading comics and showed a flair for drawing at an early age. He eventually moved to Tokyo to pursue a full-time career as a cartoonist. Now retired from cartooning, Nakazawa lives with his wife in the suburbs of Tokyo, but still spends much of the year in Hiroshima.
Project Gen was formed in 1976 by a group of young people in Tokyo, both Japanese and non-Japanese, who shared a desire to translate Keiji Nakazawa's work into other languages so that people outside Japan might hear Gen's message. With the help of friends and readers, we hope to continue the work of conveying Gen's message to the world -- a message of human triumph in the face of unprecedented destruction and an urgent warning for our times. Project Gen is located in Kanazawa, Japan.
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