Publishing company Last Gasp has an excellent Kickstarter project running right now: it’s raising $36,000 to print 4,000 copies of Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen in the original Japanese) into schools and libraries. Barefoot Gen is a manga first printed in the 1970s, and author Keiji Nakazawa drew on his own life to tell a story about the bombing of Hiroshima.
Last Gasp’s goal is to get make the manga as widely available as possible, with the Kickstarter page explaining the importance of the story:
Hadashi no Gen was first serialized in 1972-3 in Shukan Shonen Jump, the largest weekly comic magazine in Japan, with a circulation of over two million. It is a graphic and moving account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath, and it drew wide acclaim not only from young readers, but also from parents, teachers and critics. Barefoot Gen has been made into three live-action feature films, as well as a full-length animated film available in English.
Gen’s story is of people dealing with inhuman situations, both in the last days of World War II and after a nuclear attack. We hope Barefoot Gen will serve as one more reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people, and as a unique documentation of an especially horrible source of suffering, the atomic bomb.
Fully funding the project means that Barefoot press will be able to produce a new hardcover edition — with a new cover — of Barefoot Gen which will be distributed to schools, libraries and individuals. Here’s the video, featuring the actual words of Nakazawa as he remembers being a six-year-old survivor of the bombing:
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