Barefoot Gen's Nakazawa, To Terra's Takemiya Interviewed
posted on by Egan Loo
Japan Focus, "an Asia Pacific e-journal," has translated a Japanese interview with Barefoot Gen creator Keiji Nakazawa. Nakazawa describes his childhood in wartime Hiroshima and how his left-wing artist father and the Hiroshima atomic bombing led to his anti-Establishment philosophies. In particularly, he describes how his family persevered during the war and the bombing; their struggles are mirrored in the semi-autobiographical Barefoot Gen manga. He then discusses the discrimination that the bombing survivors experienced in postwar Japan and his own concerns that his children would inherit the effects of the bombing. He also expresses pride that Barefoot Gen helped paved the way for Japanese libraries to include manga in their collections, despite the anti-war, anti-emperor tone of the work. Finally, he talks about returning to Hiroshima despite his terrible memories, and how Japan and Hiroshima can move forward. Last Gasp Publishing picked up the license to release the Barefoot Gen manga in English.
Separately, About.com's Manga section has posted an interview with Keiko Takemiya, a pioneering artist in the fields of shōjo and boys-love manga. Takemiya discusses the boundaries that her works challenged in science fiction and gender roles. In particularly, she discussed her To Terra space opera and its recent anime adaptation, her Andromeda Stories collaboration with science-fiction author Ryu Mitsuse, the groundbreaking Kaze to Ki no Uta manga with its elements of boys' love, and her favorite work (Fly Me to the Moon!). She also discusses her teaching position in Kyoto Seika University and her thoughts on the current state of manga. Vertical has published her To Terra and Andromeda Stories manga in North America.