Manga Monday #7: “Barefoot Gen” by Keiji Nakazawa

Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa (Amazon) (Goodreads)

Don’t let the playful cover fool you! Barefoot Gen will turn you into an emotional wreck.

The manga follows Gen Nakoaka’s painful journey shortly before and after the Hiroshima bombing. He witnesses half of his family dying in a house fire, struggles to support the rest of his surviving family, and fears he will die from radiation exposure after his hair falls out. Along the way to a better life after Hiroshima, Gen meets fellow survivors and tries to help them recover from their troubles. He takes in Ryuta, an orphan who reminds him of his dead little brother. Together, they try to create a better life for themselves and their surviving loved ones.

This roller coaster of a manga made me angry, sad, and laugh at the lighthearted moments. And to think, this is loosely based on the author’s real life! Keiji Nakazawa was only six years old when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima and his life wasn’t the same since.

Barefoot Gen will make you despise war. This story reveals war only brings more pain than victory.

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