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Download the Score for the Hiroshima Ballad Based on Barefoot Gen Author's Poem

posted on by Bamboo Dong

Shortly after Barefoot Gen author Keiji Nakazawa's death in 2012, his wife Misayo discovered a poem that he had written entitled "Hiroshima, Ai no Kawa" (The love rivers of Hiroshima). Asked later, Misayo recalled a time when Nakazawa may have started writing the poem. When she noticed that the word genbaku (atomic bomb) was not in it, Nakazawa replied, "You don't have to say genbaku. The river symbolizes it."

Years later, the poem inspired Katsuhiko Yamamoto to assemble a team to create a song, using the poem as the lyrics. Yamamoto, who's composed music for AKB48 and the singer JUJU, said that he was struck by how Nakazawa expressed his desire for peace throughout the poem. Like many, Yamamoto read Barefoot Gen during his childhood, recalling that he "felt scared in the beginning when [he] read Gen."

The song was recorded by Tokiko Kato and released in June 2014. Yamamoto also made a chorus version of the song, and sent the score to over 140 elementary schools in Hiroshima last fall. The score, which is arranged for both two or three vocal parts and piano accompaniment, is now available to download online from the Hiroshima Ai no Kawa Project. The website also includes an Ai no Kawa concert schedule, a scan of the original poem, and information about the project.

Source: Asahi Shimbum

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