In order not to repeat tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Gen tells his terrible experiences to young people in the world with Barefoot Gen. Most of the causes of wars come from misunderstanding and discrimination.
Fortunately we live in the era of computers. Technology has developed rapidly. Using contemporary technology, mankind knows how to make dreadful weapons which commit mass murder. On the other hand, we can use contemporary technology for peace. Misunderstanding and discrimination come from ignorance.
Using the internet, we can get a lot of information held in common. Nowadays it is very easy to go abroad, so we can know the life of everyday people in each country. There are many races on the earth and they have their own religion, too. Mankind speaks various languages but grief is the same. We really need mutual understanding and cultural exchange in order to have a good relationship with many countries.
We hope the young generation in the world make the Earth a place without wars or nuclear weapons. We hope the young generation in the world make the planet without the tears of children caused by wars.
This is the wish of Gen, the author, the Hibakusha and all the Japanese people. Gen has been translated into many languages and they will increase in the near future.
Please listen to messages from Gen. Thank you.
–Project Gen, February 2011
About Project Gen
In the pages of Barefoot Gen, Keiji Nakazawa brings to life a tragedy unlike any that has ever befallen the human race before. He does not simply depict the destructive horror of nuclear weapons, but tells of the cruel fate they visited upon victims and survivors in the years to come. Yet Gen, the young hero of this story, somehow manages to overcome one hardship after another, always with courage and humor. Barefoot Gen’s tale of hope and human triumph in the face of nuclear holocaust has inspired volunteer translators around the world, as well as people working in a variety of other media. Over the years Gen has been made into a three-part live-action film, a feature-length animation film, an opera, and a musical.
The first effort to translate Barefoot Gen from the original Japanese into other languages began in 1976, when Japanese peace activists Masahiro Oshima and Yukio Aki walked across the United States as part of that year’s Transcontinental Walk for Peace and Social Justice. Their fellow walkers frequently asked them about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and one of them happened to have a copy of Hadashi no Gen in his backpack. The Americans on the walk, astonished that an atomic bomb survivor had written about it in cartoon form, urged their Japanese friends to translate it into English. Upon returning to Japan, Oshima and Aki founded Project Gen, a non-profit, all-volunteer group of young Japanese and Americans living in Tokyo, to do just that.
Project Gen went on to translate the first four volumes of Barefoot Gen into English. One or more of these volumes have also been published in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Indonesian, Tagalog, and Esperanto.
By the 1990s Project Gen was no longer active. In the meantime, author Keiji Nakazawa had gone on to complete ten volumes of Gen, and expressed his wish to see the entire story made available to non-Japanese readers. Parts of the first four volumes had also been abridged in translation. A new generation of volunteers responded by reviving Project Gen and producing a new, complete and unabridged translation of the entire Gen series.
The second incarnation of Project Gen got its start in Moscow in 1994, when a Japanese student, Minako Tanabe, launched “Project Gen in Russia” to translate Gen into Russian. After publishing the first three volumes in Moscow, the project relocated to Kanazawa, Japan, where volunteers Yulia Tachino and Namie Asazuma had become acquainted with Gen while translating a story about Hiroshima into Russian. The Kanazawa volunteers, together with Takako Kanekura in Russia, completed Russian volumes 4 through 10 between 1999 and 2001.
In the spring of 2000, the Kanazawa group formally established a new Project Gen in Japan. Nine volunteers spent the next three years translating all ten volumes of Gen into English. The translators are Kazuko Futakuchi, Michael Gordon, Kyoko Honda, Yukari Kimura, Nobutoshi Kohara, Kiyoko Nishita, George Stenson, Michiko Tanaka, and Kazuko Yamada.
In 2002, author Keiji Nakazawa put the Kanazawa team in contact with Alan Gleason, a member of the first Project Gen, who introduced them to Last Gasp of San Francisco, publisher of the original English translation of Gen. Last Gasp agreed to publish the new, unabridged translation of all ten volumes, of which this book is one.
In the hope that humanity will never repeat the terrible tragedy of the atomic bombing, the volunteers of Project Gen want children and adults all over the world to hear Gen’s story. Through translations like this one, we want to help Gen speak to people in different countries in their own languages. Our prayer is that Barefoot Gen will contribute in some small way to the abolition of nuclear weapons before this new century is over.
– Namie Asazuma
Coordinator, Project Gen
Write to Project Gen
Nagasaka 3-10-20, Kanazawa
Keiji Nakazawa lives with his wife in the suburbs of Tokyo, and remains actively involved in the work of the Project Gen
volunteers. Now retired from cartooning, his most recent project was a live action film he wrote and directed about
young people growing up in postwar Hiroshima. He is currently working on another film scenario.
The statement above was prepared in conjunction with the “Manga Movable Feast.” Since February 2010, once a month, the manga blogging community holds a week-long event called the Manga Moveable Feast, in which they discuss a particular series or one shot title. Each day, the host shares links to new blog entries focusing on that work, while building an archive for the entire week’s discussion. At the end of the event, the group then selects a new host and a new “menu” for the following month.
In the words of Sam Kusek, one of the organizers:
The primary goal of this feast is to promote intelligent, in-depth analysis of manga that we as community hold strong feelings towards, while fostering a sense of community among avid manga readers by inviting everyone to take part in the event, regardless of whether they’ve participated before.
This February 2011 Manga Movable Feast centralizes around Barefoot Gen, published in North America by Last Gasp.