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Barefoot Gen, Volume One: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima

(はだしのゲン / Hadashi no Gen - 10 volumes #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  6,731 ratings  ·  602 reviews
This harrowing story of Hiroshima was one of the original Japanese manga series. New and unabridged, this is an all-new translation of the author's first-person experiences of Hiroshima and its aftermath, is a reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people. Its emotions and experiences speak to children and adults everywhere. Volume one of this ten-part series det ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Last Gasp (first published 1973)
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Chris Blocker It is a slightly-fictionalized semi-autobiographical account of the author's experiences leading up to and following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. …moreIt is a slightly-fictionalized semi-autobiographical account of the author's experiences leading up to and following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Many parallels are drawn between the author's actual account and those of the character Gen, but there are some variances.(less)

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Start your review of Barefoot Gen, Volume One: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: a must-read for everyone
(detail from a panel of volume two, this is from p. 6 of 'Barefoot Gen - The Day After')
(Detail from a panel of volume two, this is from p. 6 of Barefoot Gen - The Day After)

It’s taken me a while since I finished the tenth and final volume of the Barefoot Gen series to write up a thorough review. It’s hard to say why, exactly, (the cause could simply be laziness) though I suspect the power of the subject matter has as much to do with it as anything else. Keiji Nakazawa, Gen’s author, was a 7 year old child living in Hiroshima when the first atomic weapon obliterated the city and ne
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone/everyone. They're hard to find though.
My 6th grade teacher, Ms. Greenwood, had the Barefoot Gen series on a shelf in our classroom. I read all of these there. I now realize what a profoundly anti-war statement it was, leaving these books within the grasp of 12-year-olds--these are graphic novels about the bombing of Hiroshima, from the perspective of a young civilian boy who loses almost his entire family.

The books juxtapose cartoons and the trivialities of youth with the singularly gruesome, nightmarish truths of using nuclear weap
Tatsuhiro Sato
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tears .
After finishing the manga that's all I have.
Real life story of the Atomic Bomb survivor. My words can't describe the pain amd the horror that this manga carries and the bravery young Keiji showed at the time of absolute death , his family members dying infront of his eyes and complete decimation of Hiroshima. Both the book and the movie are true saga of human cruelty and at the same time incredible bravery.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am seriously becoming a fierce fan of Graphic Novels lately. This one was recommended by a generous GoodReads friend Pooja, and I will be ever so grateful to her for this. This is my introduction to the world of Japanese Manga and boy, am I blown away!

Keiji Nakazawa is a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in Aug'45. Barefoot Gen is his alter ego. He says he imagined his alter ego standing atop a roof, barefoot, raising his voice loud and clear, over and against the destruction his dea
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Life in Hiroshima in the weeks leading up to the atomic bomb is depicted by cartoonist, Keiji Nakazawa. He created the 6 year old Gen as his alter ego to show the experience. The book climaxes with the bomb where Gen’s family experience follows that of the Nakazawa family as the author writes in his forwarding note.

The portrait shows a hard life in cruel situation. Hunger is the dominant theme. There is great conformity as people parrot their support for the emperor and the honor of dying for hi
Pretty brutal at times, yet also very funny and touching at other times, this is the story of a Japanese family of seven, the Nakaokas, struggling to survive during the war in the months leading to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima excellently told in Manga format.

It doesn't shy away from Japan's own guilt: there's allusions to their war crimes in Korea and China, there's showing the brainwashing and manipulation of the population, how uselessly the military high command wasted young lives in kam
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This graphic novel has been around a long time, but for some reason I only picked it up a couple of weeks ago. It is a chronicle of a child's life just before the bombing of Hiroshima. Soon after I picked up Barefoot Gen, the 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami hit Japan, and one of the nuclear power plants was damaged and began to vent radioactivity. Japan relies on nuclear power for a major chunk of its electric power. Nuclear power plays a major role partly because fossil energy sources are sc ...more
Will Lanham
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Barefoot Gen is a graphic novel that tells the events of the bombing of Hiroshima. The story is very, very graphic and tells the events in a very emotional story. I'm surprised how deep this story goes on explain the tragedy of the aftermath of Little Boy. ...more
Veronika KaoruSaionji
Sep 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great manga!
Not very good art. And this is shonen - and very shonen-like, for young boys, not for adults. But... This is so strong anti-war manga!
This is story one family in Hiroshima during war. Father is animilitarist, he is sent briefly into prison and all family suffer because it. They are marked as "traitors". The children are bullied and the oldest, 17-years old Koji, is volunteer into army because it (for sake his family). Father hates him because it. And he then suffers in army. The oth
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, comics
Let's be clear: WWII was awful, and the things that Japanese citizens went through were awful, and then having an atomic bomb dropped on them was also awful. Keiji Nakazawa has crafted a wonderful comic from a horrible series of events, making a dark part of history very accessible for people. This is a very important story and book.

My only issue was with the artwork, and it is on my end, not Nakazawa's. The drawings were clear and the pacing was great. I just had trouble getting into the art st
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
This was an assigned read for my Readings in the Graphic Novel class. It is a seminal manga about the author's experiences during WWII in Hiroshima. Just one of a volume that spans many years. It features the young version of the author, Nakaoka as his family endures the depredations of the war that are inflicted not merely by the war itself, but their own government's corruption and denialism of the cost that the war has had on its citizenry. His family is subsisting and suffering because they ...more
Raoufa Ibrahim
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gen's family are having a harder time in Hiroshima. The constant air raid and the starvation are not enough, their neighbours are also turning against them because Gen's father is considered a traitor. He thinks that the war is a mistake, and it will only serve few people, the one who started it. these people, unlike the citizen of Japan, they never skipped a meal, they never lost one of their kids for war.

The story ends with the ending of Gen's City; Hiroshima

May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow...what an allusive ending *cough cough Lion king much*. So this short tale of Gen and his life as a young boy in pre radioactive Japan. Seeing all the little trails he has to go through all because his dad openly talks down the war. His emotions are well portrayed because the reader can seen that his emotions change to fit the needs of the situations. It's interesting to see how fast Gen can go from the tyrannical older brother for his little brother Shinji to defensive younger brother for h ...more
The Laughing Man
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was as good as it was told, this is one of the manga masterpieces everyone knows, it deserves reckoning. Eerily realistic and frank, one of the best comics I've ever read. ...more
A masterpiece. Simple as that.
This review is for the complete series (10 books). No major spoilers ahead, but rather an overview of the major themes and message of the series, what I found good and what bothered me.

After completing my reading, I can safely say that I liked the first four volumes the best. They are far more coherent than the rest and show a clear sense of direction, with a tighter cast than the following books. What I find most interesting is the slow whitling of political messages the longer the series goes
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

This graphic novel is far from perfect because of the "overacting" (is this the right word? idk) which in my opinion is very old style but it discussed a very dark and heavy yet important topic; the bombing of Hiroshima.

I'd say it was courageous of Mr Nakazawa to recalled & retold the story of his own experience in this masterpiece. To see the bombing and aftermath of the fateful event. While reading, I noticed that the author and I have similar opinion about the war. The one that tru

Mateen Mahboubi
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The struggles of an anti-war father in Japan at the end of WW2 (although the fact that the end is near is unknown to them). The nationalist fervor around them results in lots of conflicts with the whole family but everything is turned upside down at the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima destroying the lives of everyone we've met to that point. The first volume of a story that will be filled with heartbreak and loss. ...more
Sep 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
From Amazon: 'This harrowing story of Hiroshima was one of the original Japanese manga series. New and unabridged, this is an all-new translation of the author's first-person experiences of Hiroshima and its aftermath, is a reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people. Its emotions and experiences speak to children and adults everywhere. Volume one of this ten-part series details the events leading up to and immediately following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.'

I read this book for a
Elizabeth A
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Coursera
Shelves: 2014, graphix
From the book blurb: Barefoot Gen is the powerful, tragic, autobiographical story of the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath, seen through the eyes of the artist as a young boy growing up in Japan.

This is book one of a ten part series, and I am delighted that Project Gen has made English translations available.

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of manga style comics, so have steered away from that whole section of graphic novels. Reading this book has changed my mind, and I plan to
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As expected, this was incredibly hard to read and had me in tears at multiple points. Not only does it deal with the tragedy of the nuclear bomb, it also shows the life of an ordinary Japanese family in times of war. The struggles they faced are unimaginable from a modern perspective. This would have been harrowing to read about had it been fiction, but this being the author's own life story made it all the more powerful. Certainly would recommend this one, it's absolutely heartbreaking but also ...more
I am a huge fan of graphic novels, especially those based on real events. Barefoot Gen definitely fits the bill, as it's Nakazawa's fictionalized re-telling of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima, though it's based upon Nakazawa's own experiences.

This first volume deals with the events leading up to the bomb drop and what life was like for the average Japanese during World War II. There was very little food, and citizens were starving. Yet they were being brain-washed into blind obedience to
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Keiji Nakazawa's retelling of his life before, during, and after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is something that blew me away. As someone who isn't very interested in bombing situations in history, I was surprised that this pulled me in and how I sat down for so long to read it. Barefoot Gen can easily be considered a very good read and very interesting, and I would definitely recommend to be given a shot. The art isn't something I'm used to, and I didn't like it, but it well done ...more
“In the end, this is a difficult story to sum up. The making of the atomic bomb is one of history's most amazing examples of teamwork and genius and poise under pressure. But it's also the story of how humans created a weapon capable of wiping our species off the planet. It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it.” (Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin)

Perang memang selalu menyesakkan. Perang mengorbankan begitu banyak ha
3.5. I wanted to love this graphic novel, and the parts about the war and Japanese army/kamikaze pilots, and of course the dropping of the A-bomb were very well done. But, the juvenile way in which nearly every man/boy acts and reacts by "bonking" people or fighting - just the amount of violence was astounding and unnecessary to include. I'm all about seeing the daily lives of those who lived in Hiroshima in the months leading up to the atomic bomb being dropped, but every page including someone ...more
This edition has a preface by Art Spiegelman which is both reverential and kind of lowkey critical - Spiegleman notes that the Barefoot Gen series is seminal and visceral and important but that in his view it is over-long and that the art just kinda gets the job done. He also cautions the Western reader to take into account that there will be narrative and illustrative conventions that are totally normal in Japanese comics but might seem jarring to someone not acquainted with them.

I haven't rea
Madison Lourette
Barefoot Gen is a mostly true story about a boy who was around 7 years old when the Hiroshima bombings happened. Its the authors own story of how it was for him during the bombings, how he felt and what he saw. The main character's name is Gen and is a personification of the author. The art style is more like old old manga style. I liked the book and definitely wanna read the rest of the series as well. It has its goofy parts, but later on it does get into the more serious bits. It is interestin ...more
Barefoot Gen reels you in to the story of a family during war time. Stories of kids getting in trouble, rationing, air raids, questions of duty, and family episodes based on the author’s life get you to care about Gen’s family. Then, in a split second, by no fault of their own, their world is ripped apart— the atomic bomb bringing annihilation and true hell on Earth. Barefoot Gen’s message of the evils of war hit me harder than other survivor accounts and even trips to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I ...more
George Fowles
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Harrowing juxtaposition of comedic banter between the brothers in the cartoon images with the actual traumatising real life horror of wartime Japan and the A-Bomb. This is a powerful perspective made even more distressing when you find out it is based on the authors own experiences of surviving the Hiroshima when he was 6. All the anti war evidence you need is in the pages of this manga right down to the brutal truth of, the city’s starvation, classroom suicide pacts, and skin being melted off t ...more
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Play Book Tag: barefoot gen (vol 1) | Keiji Nakazawa | 3.5-4 stars 2 17 Aug 02, 2018 10:45PM  

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He was born in Hiroshima and was in the city when it was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945. All of his family members who had not evacuated died as a result of the explosion after they became trapped under the debris of their house, except for his mother, as well as an infant sister who died several weeks afterward. In 1961, Nakazawa moved to Tokyo to become a full-time cartoonist, and produced ...more

Other books in the series

はだしのゲン / Hadashi no Gen - 10 volumes (10 books)
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Two: The Day After
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Three: Life After the Bomb
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Four: Out of the Ashes
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Five: The Never-Ending War
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Six: Writing the Truth
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Seven: Bones into Dust
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Eight: Merchants of Death
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Nine: Breaking Down Borders
  • Barefoot Gen, Volume Ten: Never Give Up

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