"Hadashi no Gen" ("Barefoot Gen"), a manga series by the late Keiji Nakazawa, marks the 40th anniversary of its publication this year, reminding both child and adult readers alike of the horrors of nuclear warfare.
The series started in the June 4, 1973, edition of Shueisha Inc.'s Weekly Shonen Jump after Tadasu Nagano, editor-in-chief of the magazine, persuaded Nakazawa to depict his experiences as a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945.
"Hadashi no Gen" describes the life of a 6-year-old boy named Gen before and after the city's obliteration. Shueisha received a large number of letters from readers, including children, who said they had been able to understand the suffering of A-bomb victims for the first time or that they wanted to learn more about the event, even though they could barely look at some of the scenes depicted.
The gut-wrenching theme of the series failed to win widespread popularity, however, forcing Shueisha to discontinue it after one year and four months. Nevertheless, Nakazawa was able to "accurately get across his message to the public," Yamaji said.
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