by Chris MaGee
There 's no doubt that Keiji Nakazawa's manga "Barefoot Gen" is a historic work of fiction. The 70-year-old manga-ka is a native of Hiroshima and was in the city on August 6th, 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped. Nakazawa lost his family in the attack and witnessed first hand the horrors of nuclear warfare. In 1973 he began pouring these experiences into "Barefoot Gen", the story of an orphaned boy who survives the bombing and grows up in its aftermath. The manga ended up growing to 12-volumes and has subsequently been translated into every language from French to Norwegian to Finnish and of course English, in fact "Barefoot Gen" was one of the very first Japanese manga to receive an English-language translation.
While English translations of "Gen" have been available since 1976 they have been edited down and incomplete. Now San Francisco-based comic publisher and Nakazawa are nearing completion on a full English translation of all 12-volumes of the story, and at a press conference held in Hiroshima last Thursday Nakazawa expressed his wish to present a copy of the full translation to none other than President Barack Obama not only as a good will gesture, but also as a reminder to never let the atomic genie out of its bottle again. I see no reason why Nakazawa's dream couldn't become a reality, but as of now there's been no official meeting announced between himself and the President.
Thanks to Anime News Network for this story.
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