Despite the despair of the subject matter, Gen characteristically finds a way to survive it all and to convince others that life is worth living no matter what.
Barefoot Gen Volume Four Out Of The Ashes Resumes Nine Days After The Bomb, As Gen And His Mother Continue To Struggle For Food, Shelter And Water Amid Chaos And Vast Human Suffering Though Confronted With The Most Despicable Aspects Of Humankind, Gen Acts With Love And Compassion Barefoot Gen, Out of the Ashes is the 4th volume of Keiji Nakazawa s autobiographical graphic novel series on living through the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima The atom bomb has been dropped on Hiroshima, destroying most of the city, killing many people, and causing others to become sick with radiation sickness Gen s hair has fallen out from radiation exposure He, his mother, and his newborn sister, no longer able to live in Hiroshima, are refugees in the town of Eba.
As this volume opens, the Emperor has just announced the surrender of Japan Gen s two brothers return to live with them in Eba, one from the Navy and one from an evacuation camp US soldiers are landing to study the results of the bomb The distrust and hatred of the local community eventually becomes too much and the family moves back to what is left of Hiroshima We see the U.
S occupation and the rebuilding of the city through the eyes of seven year old Gen.
Gen s compassion, humanity, and determination make this an inspiring book about the strength of the human spirit The close loving values of his family are in sharp contrast to the amoral self interest of the black marketeers and the criminals who thrive in the disorder and poverty.
The work has been wonderfully translated from the Japanese original Hadashi no Gen It was originally published in serial form in 1972 and 1973 in Shukan Shonen Jampu, the largest weekly comic magazine in Japan, with a circulation of over two million The drawings are all in black and white This US edition was published as part of a movement to translate the book into other languages and spread its message It is a powerful testimony to the strength of the human spirit and the horrors of nuclear war There are a few introductory essays at the front of the book that help to put this book into perspective It is a tragic but uplifting story that I highly recommend for anyone interested in the topic This and the other volumes in the series are important books for their message on the dangers of nuclear war.
The war is over, and K Nakazawa bravely explains that Americans tried to hide the extend of the crime they committed by dropping the A bomb on Hiroshima and in Nagasaki too but Barefoot Gen is about Hiroshima Malnutrition is threatening everyone, and Gen along with Ryuta get pulled into a trick to steal food from an American base, just to be cheated by soulless adults who are just trying to make money and re establish themselves as a gang I think I would also have shot that gun It s just too disgusting Then there is the episode of the big sister selling herself to American soldiers so that she can keep her younger sister alive How often do this still happens She makes the leap because she is raped by American soldiers, and retributed with food and some money The I read Barefoot Gen, the I see how nothing has changed except for the dropping of A bombs I keep seeing the faces of refugees instead of the JapaneseIn the 4th book, we meet up with Mr Pak and his reality check comment about Japan He has become rich by playing the black market game because Money s the only thing we Koreans can depend on here in Japan The Japanese won t lift a finger to help us Reminder doctors refused to treat his father hurt by the A bomb because he was Korean Before that, they had been forced to come to Japan to work and fight It gave me a whole new perspective on Koreans, especially towards Pachinkos I had read about these books, and asked my oldest son if he had read them He had read them, and he lent me four of the books to read I was born in 1940, and so we were hit with the propaganda from our side of the war We thought the Japanese people were terrible and evil These books show how the Japanese people felt about the evil Americans Why did they have to drop those bombs, and cause so much harm to innocent people The Japanese people had been fed a lot of propaganda, that fighting for the Emperor and Japan was the right thing to do There were people in power, who were in the war to make a profit, and they weren t thinking of their people, and how they were struggling to find enough food to eat to survive After the war, people were still struggling to find work, shelter, and food to survive There were street gangs of children, who were doing anything to survive There was a lot of bullying going on between children Schools finally started up again, without the buildings and equipment that was needed, but they were getting some education anyway I remember the joy people in my city felt, when the end of the war came Japan had refused to surrender even after the first bomb was dropped As I grew older, I felt the bomb was justified, in order to stop the fighting and killing on both sides Little did I know that the bomb had carried dangerous radiation around the world, that would cause cancer, and kill many of the worlds people The author s hope was that people would learn, and we wouldn t have other wars, and bombings, and killing of innocent people It seems we are having lessor countries developing atomic bombs, and threatening the whole world Wouldn t it be wonderful if people would learn the lessons from our past.
Kenji Nakazawa s Barefoot Gen series pulled me in as it combined the 2 genres I love, history and manga and this pulled me in from the concept, an autobiography of a survivor of WW2 Learning about WW2 and especially the Japanese side, since I m from Japan and that part of history always intrigued me Nakazawa showed the horrors of the post A bomb in a realistic way, showing the struggles of Gen and his remaining family In this book, he goes through multiple conflicts with the outside, where society is wary of their status as poor A bomb survivors It is a must read for history fans and also just anyone in general who wants to learn about Japan s past.
Even though I had to skip volume 3 Apparently the library hasn t got it back , volume 4 is still easy to follow along Gen continues trying to survive with what is left of his family and some of his new friends The stories are humorous but still heartbreaking I agree that the physical violence shtick gets old quickly, but looking past that a remnant of old timey cartoon humor, I believe the characters are full of heart and spirit And as usual, the message of pacifism and the unequivocal rejection of war and war mongers is what really makes this books Along with a intimate and honest look at post war Japanese every day life.
Easy to read and fun get on it, people
I probably won t read all ten volumes of this series, but the first four were pretty good This last volume was interesting because the war is over now, and along with the lasting horror of the radiation sickness in Hiroshima the author introduces issues like the black market, the American Occupation, and the organized crime gangs known as Yakuza It s now the end of August, 1945, and the Americans have arrived to occupy defeated Japan As the occupiers, the Americans aren t looked on very favorably, especially after the enormous destruction wrought by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Rumors fly about what the Americans will do to the Japanese men and women that are left, but once the Americans start dispensing candy and gum to the Japanese children, those rumors start to fade Unfortunately, many Japanese are still starving and suffering from radiation poisoning, while the Americans soldiers are well fed This causes Gen and his friends to attempt to steal some food from the American soldiers with mixed results As if Gen and his family didn t have enough to contend with, having lost three family members in the fires after the blast, now he and his siblings and mother are suffering from malnutrition They re still living with Gen s mother s friend Kiyo, whose children resent the presence of Gen s family Daily Kiyo s children and mother torment Gen s family, until things come to a head and they re finally thrown out with nowhere to go They manage to construct a shelter for themselves, but it s in no way a true home And they re still suffering from malnutrition.
The worst part of this segment of the story is the death of Tomoko Born on the day of the blast, she finally succumbs two years later, probably as a result of cancer brought on by the radiation Her death hits Gen especially hard, as he s the one who helped deliver her on the day of her birth, and he had spent the last two years even as a young child himself trying to keep her healthy and alive Another moving installment in this anti nuclear graphic memoir.