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Hadashi no Gen  
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Barefoot Gen recounts the bombing of Hiroshima from the perspective of a young boy, Gen, and his family. But the book's themes (the physical and psychological damage ordinary people suffer from war's realities) ring chillingly true today. Gen and his family have long been struggling without much food, money or medicine, but despite hardships, they try to maintain a semblance of normal life. The adults are exhausted and near despair; the children take air raids and starvation more or less in stride. Nakazawa, a Hiroshima survivor, effectively portrays the strain of living in this environment and shows how efforts to stay upbeat in dire circumstances sometimes manifest as manic, irrational humor. The story offers some optimism: characters perform acts of self-sacrifice for the sake of neighbors and loved ones (e.g., when Gen's pregnant mother becomes ill from malnutrition, he and his brother pose as orphans and perform in the streets, throwing the money over the walls of their home so they won't get caught). Underneath this can-do attitude are the parents' deep guilt and sense of helplessness. When the children clamor ecstatically over a scrap of food, the parents dissolve in shame and grief. The art is sharply drawn and expressive, and the narrative has such a natural rhythm, it's easy to get pulled into the family's life, making the cataclysm readers know awaits them all the more real, intimate and difficult to take. Despite its harrowing nature, this work is invaluable for the lessons it offers in history, humanity and compassion.


Related Series
Ore wa Mita (Alternate Story)

Associated Names
Босоногий Гэн
Barefoot Gen
Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
Barfuß durch Hiroshima
Gen pés descalços
Hiroshiman poika

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)

Status in Country of Origin
10 Volumes (Complete) (Shueisha 1973)
5 Volumes (Complete) (Shueisha 1977)
10 Volumes (Complete) (Choubunsha 1984, 1988, 1993)
7 Volumes (Complete) (Chuokoron-Shinsha 1998)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews


User Rating
Average: 8.6 / 10.0 (33 votes)
Bayesian Average: 7.67 / 10.0
 39% (13 votes)
 15% (5 votes)
 27% (9 votes)
 6% (2 votes)
 6% (2 votes)
 6% (2 votes)
 0% (0 votes)
 0% (0 votes)
 0% (0 votes)
 0% (0 votes)

Last Updated
April 13th 2015, 1:19pm PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher
Chuokoron-Shinsha (2nd Print)
Shueisha (1st Print)

Serialized In (magazine)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Last Gasp (10 Volumes - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #854 increased(+378)
Monthly Pos #2297 decreased(-34)
3 Month Pos #3203 increased(+135)
6 Month Pos #3380 increased(+406)

List Stats
On 39 reading lists
On 140 wish lists
On 26 completed lists
On 3 unfinished lists
On 48 custom lists

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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An important historical masterpiece that overstretched   
Rating: 8.5 / 10.0
by residentgrigo
March 2nd, 2015, 9:21am
The first Madhouse movie is pretty famous worldwide but it represents only the opening act so this source maturial is thus a must. The manga itself preach heavily i will admit and it isn´t entirely unproblematic but the author survived Hiroshima after all and fascistic japan itself takes a big beating it the story too so i can overlook that aspect mostly. I was frankly surprised how bad a picture Nakazawa Keiji painted of his homeland at times so prepare yourself for a somewhat darker tale then the first film at times. The story does light up considerably after time is a lowed to progress a bit and the narrative become about rebuilding and having a positive attitude despite constant setbacks.
I believed that i was reading about children and not author inserts but don´t get me wrong though. The story stays a tragedy to the end as death is a constant companion. A clearer end point would have been nice but life itself has no ending so i will deal with that i guess. Classic art isn´t for everyone in general but i never had a problem with it and the art on display here is well done without a doubt despite the somewhat simplistic look. The gore and suffering comes of very well but the perspectives and landscapes are also professionally chosen. This masterpiece is somewhat flawed as i pointed out but i think that pretty much anyone needs to read it even if the dark content will be to much for some. Historical accounts form survivors need to be treasured and examined to not fall back into mistakes of past generations and Keiji Nakazawa made himself immortal with his magnum opus.
I saw it (a 9/10 pilot btw.) and you should too! Read the related and award-winning Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (8,5/10) as a companion piece. His Struck by Black Rain is a fictitious and heavy handed 6/10 mess but it has some nice angry power so read it too.

★★★ - highly educational
The review already says all but the problems are the mentioned preaching, some historical opinions that some could find controversial and a focus on the fictional narrative later on that murk up the water and distracts from the setting as bit. Consider this a 3,5/4 star rating though if you want as better portraits of war and post-war barely exist in the comic form and this is first hand knowledge. Some versions off the series also have interesting interviews attached. My opinion on the comparable Grave of the Fireflies is similar with a 9/10 as it does not overstay and it has amazing direction but the message is a also a bit off and Bennett The Sage´s review explains it well. It also gets the same educational rating from me.

... Last updated on May 4th, 2015, 8:44am
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Not fiction   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Chira00
August 20th, 2009, 7:01am
I just wanted to comment on this story. It is based on the author's real life experiences at Gen's age, living in Hiroshima! This is a must read. We must not forget the tragedy of war. The human suffering and the innocent lives that paid for world peace.
I am so thankful to the author for his courage to write this story. All who read it can benefit from its lessons.
Please take the time to read this.
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Beyond Words.   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by yblees
April 25th, 2009, 2:04am
A brutally honest look into the lives of ordinary people at the end of WW2, in possibly the most damaged Japanese city of the war (together with Nagasaki). Brilliantly plotted and fast paced. I feel everyone should read this book at least once in their lives.
Unfortunately, volume 1 seems to be out of print - but secondhand copies are available for sale.
Note: The anime adaptation left out maybe 80% of the most "politically incorrect" scenes.

... Last updated on April 25th, 2009, 2:04am
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